How can we design an inclusive visit to Barcelona Zoo?

Publication of invitation to tender

Finalist businesses

Award of contract to successful tenderer

Successful tenderer signs the contract


Barcelona aims to become a more accessible and inclusive city. For years Barcelona has been working to remove architectural barriers and make public spaces accessible to people with various mobility needs. Advancing towards universal accessibility, the city is opting to make use of data and technology to enable individuals with sensory and cognitive diversity to enjoy its public spaces, specifically Barcelona Zoo, and thereby guarantee everyone the right to education, leisure and culture.

Universal accessibility means everyone can understand, enjoy and use public spaces independently, in comfort and safety. Environments that are physically, sensorially and cognitively accessible enable individuals with various mobility, visual, hearing or learning needs to use them.

Barcelona Zoo, a space managed by Barcelona de Serveis Municipals (BSM), has undergone adaptations and has suggested visiting routes available for people with reduced mobility. Even so, there are opportunities for improvements to include individuals with sensory and cognitive diversity.

Barcelona is calling on disruptive entrepreneurs, organisations and enterprises to put forward innovative solutions based on data and technology to help with achieving accessibility for people with sensory and cognitive diversity at this emblematic city location. The solutions may be intended for one or other space, bearing in mind the specific features and public purpose of each one. The solutions will have to be adaptable and reproducible in other public spaces.

Through this challenge Barcelona is encouraging people and organisations to put data and technology at the service of social needs and thereby help achieve the Agenda 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs), specifically:

  • 3) Health and well-being
  • 10) Reducing inequalities
  • 11) Sustainable cities and communities
  • 15) Life in terrestrial ecosystems
  • Legislation over the last few decades has enabled public spaces to be designed or adapted to ensure access for people with reduced mobility. Taking another step towards universal accessibility and making the most of technological advances will require innovation to ensure people with sensory or cognitive diversity can access and enjoy public spaces.

    Barcelona is a city with 1.6 million residents (data from 2019), roughly 151,814 of whom have some type of disability. That means the prevalence of disability is 9.2% and people in this situation may have difficulties accessing public spaces. We also need to consider visitors to these public spaces who are not Barcelona residents.

  • The challenge aims to ensure all visitors to Barcelona Zoo enjoy the space independently, comfortably and safely, irrespective of their physical, sensory or cognitive diversity.

    We are looking for innovative solutions based on data and technology that make it possible to:

    • Ensure people with sensory or cognitive disabilities can interact with the site, for example, through inclusive online tours or tools that enable interaction through touch, smell, conception of the site, perception of shapes and colours, hearing etc.
    • Digitise content for its incorporation into visits, taking into account the adaptation of the existing or yet-to-be-developed physical media needed, as well as all the necessary information signposting.
    • Explain the history and purpose of the spaces, to make the visit a comprehensive experience.
  • Features of the space

    Barcelona Zoo

    Barcelona Zoo’s transformation is in full swing. Its new spaces are integrated into biomes where the various species live together. New spaces such as the Savannah of the Sahel recreate their natural habitats. Innovative interventions in these spaces that prove successful will become benchmarks for the other spaces as well as an exemplary model for the world’s other zoos.

    The Sahel Interpretation Centre focuses, above all, on the Savannah-Sahel facility footbridge, which is divided up into 26 information or awareness-raising points. There are typical signposting features, some that are both “decorative” and informative, and others that are interactive, more complex and specific. The signposting contains information different from that of other Zoo signs, including curiosities in the posters of the Zoo’s typical species, as well as other curiosities regarding the animals, habitats and local populations, with the aim of raising visitor awareness of this bio-region, the wealth of its biodiversity and the present threats to it.*

    As these spaces are at the planning and development stage, there is an opportunity to plan innovative interventions and thereby guarantee universal and inclusive accessibility through their design.

    Adaptations have been made at Barcelona Zoo to guarantee access to most of the spaces for people with reduced mobility. Specific activities have been developed for people with sensory (visual and hearing) and cognitive diversity, for example:

    • The Aprenem Foundation has worked on a few initial suggestions for inclusive visits.
    • The educational content has been digitalised and an initial version will soon be presented.

    There is room for improvement in the existing signposting and adapting it to people’s specific needs, as well as in the information users are given. As this is interactive, it could be developed by explaining the changes introduced at the Zoo.

    * Watch the video to see its main lines of action: