Carmel is in the municipal district of Horta-Guinardó. The area was developed mainly in the 60s and 70s when immigrant workers, encouraged to move to Barcelona by the government of the dictator Francisco Franco built housing for themselves. The combination of houses, then isolated on the rural hillside of what is now Parc dels Tres Turons ("Three Hills Park"), ad-hoc buildings put up without building permits and more planned urban development has given the area its modern appearance of many buildings piled on the hillside.
Carmel became infamous in 2005 when there was a major tunnel construction accident. It brought to a halt the expansion works on line 5 of the Barcelona Metro and led to the evacuation of dozens of buildings in the area. Local residents protested and most of those evacuated to other areas have finally been rehoused and a new school opened. The Barcelona City Council has pledged more investment in the area to improve transport, accessibility and services.