Barcelona´s Northeast Coastal Park, designed by Abalos & Herreros, successfully combines two unlikely elements –a municipal waste-management complex and a waterfront park and beach- innovatively integrating necessary infrastructure and public space. The park served as part of the site for the First International Forum of Cultures, organized by UNESCO to promote cultural diversity and sustainable development and staged in Barcelona in 2004.
Originally cut off from the city by a ring road, the site had served as the city´s major services area, where a now defunct sewage treatment plant and electrical generator were also located. To showcase sustainable urban design, the existing incinerator now powers a new waste-to-energy generator. The steam heat produced by the incinerator is used to make electricity for hot and cold water as well as heating and air-conditioning for the Forum grounds and the new Diagonal Mar mixed-used district. At the base of the incinerator is a new recycling center.