Seville closes today its second Hay Festival Forum, a reduced version of the British cultural franchise that has been held in Spain since 2006 in Segovia. The idea of ​​the city has been the common thread of this three-day event in the Andalusian capital. The British urban planner Greg Clark, the architect Yvonne Farrell and the Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang participated, among a total of 40 attendees.

Cities and buildings have DNA. The British urban planner Greg Clark and the Irish architect Yvonne Farrell have agreed on this. The first spoke the night before last with the deputy director of La Vanguardia Miquel Molina under the question: The century of cities?

The answer was yes. Clark, who has visited and diagnosed about 400 cities around the world, said he is not “an emergency doctor, but I can see what diseases they have.” Clark is an urban strategy advisor and began by clarifying that cities are defined by their DNA, to which all their inhabitants contribute, and that is what arms them against the major challenges they face in the 21st century. Because – he said – some 10 billion people will live in cities by 2100.

It is here where climate change, housing problems, gentrification and drought are and will be combated. Those that have a long-term strategy, those that see themselves as urban conglomerates – he spoke of units of ten million inhabitants – and those that, contrary to what usually happens, especially in our country, will emerge victorious, he predicted. , they act more with alliances than with quarrels or in competition.

Specifically, he warned against the risk that Spanish cities (and also Portuguese ones) are not seen as a single system, given their physical proximity and the good communications that link them.

“And there is not a single major city in the world that does not have a solid tourism economy,” he added.

Yvonne Farrell, for her part, was interviewed by her colleague Martha Thorne, and also alluded to genetics: “Architecture is a silent language, and as an architect I must give DNA to each building I create.”

And what is the DNA of a building? Its fit in the block, the old wall or the river that was always there; his personality, his service to human beings, his respect for the environment.

The city was also the reason for the talk given yesterday by the best-selling writer María Dueñas. In dialogue with Ana Gavín, director of Editorial Relations of Grupo Planeta, she traveled – hand in hand with her characters and stories – Tetuán, New York, Mexico, Jerez, Palestine, Andalusia and London. “I like that the characters travel around the places, but not like parachutists, but rather that they talk, dress and eat as they do in each place at all times,” said Dueñas. One of the key settings of The Time Between Seams, her great success, is Tetouan, where her mother grew up.

The Korean economist Ha-Joon Chang, author of works such as Economics for the 99% of the population and, more recently, Edible Economics (both in Debate) analyzed the Singapore economy to expose how in this area there are no uniform recipes. There, 90% of the land is public, 85% of the housing and 22% of the GDP comes from public companies. On the contrary, they apply ultra-liberal recipes. It is an economical rocket. “They are proof that in economics you need more pragmatism than dogmatism,” he said. Chang, a professor at Cambridge, is famous for wanting to chew economics a lot, making it digestible. For this reason, and to make the economy understandable, yesterday he talked about jabugo, acorns and spaghetti.

Journalism has also been subjected to a diagnosis in Seville, at a table to which journalists Teodoro León Gross (Canal Sur TV and ABC), Pepa Bueno (director of El País), Rafa Latorre (Onda Cero) and Carlos Franganillo were summoned. (director and presenter of Informativos Telecinco). Bueno was the most optimistic, even recognizing “that bad practice of something that is not journalism and is called that stains us all.”

The great crisis of the profession, he added, begins with the explosion of the Internet, “which takes away the exclusivity of being able to answer three of the five questions of journalism: what, where and when. But there are two other capital questions: how and why. Those answers are exclusive to journalism. The first two are cheaper, the other two are much more expensive, but they are essential for the survival of good journalism.”

Bueno charged against the precariousness of the profession: “A journalist needs to have a decent salary to do good journalism; “Precariousness makes newsrooms miserable and companies begin to make enormous mistakes.”

Franganillo encouraged people to stop idealizing the past, something common in the union: “Something very clear happens in journalism, when we start to think about its golden age, I never find it.”