Bat boxes, ‘greened’ streets and bug hotels: Barcelona embraces its wild side

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The spring lockdown brought butterflies and biodiversity to the Spanish city, and inspired a reimagining of its relationship with nature

When Barcelona’s inhabitants emerged from a six-week lockdown at the end of April last year, they found that while the city had lain dormant, nature had been busy transforming the streets and parks into a bucolic wilderness.

“The parks were shut, so there was no pressure on them from humans or dogs and no gardening was carried out,” says Margarita Parés, who heads the city’s biodiversity programme.

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