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Download "When we were sustainable. Learning from Barbanza: shaping our future from our roots", the publication of the Barbanza Ecosocial Lab

A tool to improve the sustainability of the territory through action research

The Barbanza region, a reality to be studied

What are the logics in the management of the territory? What is the community? How does society relate to the territory? What knowledge can we extract to work towards an eco-social transition? These and other questions will be unravelled through the research.

Of all the topics with which Galicia is usually explained, individualism is undoubtedly one of the most frequent and strongest. In spite of this, the collective sense still prevails in rural areas, at least more strongly than in other areas of our society.
In the authoritarian context of the Franco dictatorship the door was opened to a productivist model imposed by the State and also linked to the corporate capitalism of the regime. In this new model the territory loses its character of integrated system.
The house and the communal forest are not separate entities, but are part of a system of inter-relationships which was the basis of a self-sufficient economy that supported the Galician and Barbantian population.
The Lab’s online home is a platform for meeting, knowledge-sharing and information. Through engaging graphics, maps, videos and articles, online visitors can access the work, the people and the stories around the project and its research on sustainable development in the Barbanza peninsula in Galicia.
The territorial structure of Galicia, in which parishes and villages are the basic cells of its organization, kept its productive character almost intact until the mid-20th century. Despite changes in lifestyles, a whole series of community values have generally been maintained, which can only be understood from a social perspective.
The village and the parish are the basic units of the territorial organization of Galicia. Knowing their origins, productive logic and community relations could provide keys to their role today and in the future.
Baroña Forest Community (Porto do Son) covers 846 hectares. Within it there are 186 houses that are registered as communal and in their management make a clear commitment to the multifunctional use of the forest.
Froxán (Lousame) is a village marked by the fact that it was one of three that were occupied at the end of the 19th century by the San Finx mines. These mines exploited tungsten, which led to the common land being occupied and the local population being denied its management.
Located on the bank of the River Ulla, near its mouth into the Arousa estuary , Brañas de Laíño (Dodro) represents one of the largest wetlands in Galicia. Historically its use was communal, although at present they are not officially recognized as a communal space, nor are they managed by the local population.

The voices of the main characters


The Barbanza, besides being a space inhabited by a community, with their knowledge and logic of management, is also a geographical space. Through the Interactive Map we can understand the multiple layers in the interaction between society and territory and the changes that have taken place over the last few decades.


In this section you can check the progress of the Barbanza Ecosocial Lab’s research, view events that have taken place and audiovisual content from our dissemination channels.


The aim of Barbanza Ecosocial Lab is to articulate and consolidate eco-agro-innovative proposals that respond to the Barbanza bioregion, located on the northern coast of the Ria de Arousa. The initiative is based on a whole range of knowledge, both historical and current, with which to design more sustainable alternatives for the future.


Barbanza Ecosocial Lab is a project financed by the Banco Santander Foundation which has been promoted by the Fundación Rede de Innovación Arousa (RIA) in collaboration with the University of Santiago de Compostela through the Histagra group and with the support of the Cátedra Juana de Vega.