In June 2016, Barcelona City Council created the new Commissioner's Office for Technology and Digital Innovation, fully aware of the importance of technology and data for transforming the City, delivering better and more affordable public services and making the municipal government more transparent and effective for the people.
Hence our creation of the Digital Innovation Office, which is responsible for defining Barcelona's technology and innovation policies, and for rethinking the smart city, not just in its technological aspects but also for putting citizens' needs and the city’s challenges at the core.
We drafted the Barcelona Digital Plan to see how open source technology and data could help to solve urban challenges, such as access to affordable housing, energy transition and participatory urban planning for a sustainable, green city. It was prepared through participation from citizens, tech communities, makers, tech companies and academic researchers, in other words, the main players in our new digital ecosystem.
Barcelona aims to undergo a transition to technological sovereignty that allows its municipal government and citizens to decide their own priorities, direction and ethical use of technological innovations with a clear social impact and public return. This also means rethinking our economy and the future jobs, to support more sustainable, fair and collaborative economic models.
We have therefore evolved from a top-down process to a bottom-up one, promoting collective intelligence and involving all citizens through our participatory democracy platform decidim.barcelona.
Citizens participation in the shaping and co-creation of public policies is central to the new democratic practices we are developing, and we recognise that transparency and open access are key to achieving civic undertakings and safeguarding citizens’ digital rights.
I invite you to discover the Barcelona Digital Plan and all the city's innovation projects. It’s an open and dynamic space for learning, rethinking and innovating… Come and join us!
Francesca Bria is Senior Researcher and Advisor on information and technology policy. She has a PhD in Innovation Economics for Imperial College, London and MSc on Digital Economy from University of London, Birbeck. As Senior Programme Lead at Nesta, the UK Innovation Agency, she has led the EU D-CENT project, the biggest European Project on direct democracy and digital currencies. She also led the DSI project on Digital Social Innovation in Europe, advising the EU on digital social innovation policies. She has been teaching in several universities in the UK and Italy and she has advised Governments, public and private organizations and movements on Technology and information policy, and its socio-economic impact.
Francesca Bria is an adviser for the European Commission on Future Internet and Innovation Policy. She is currently the new Commissioner of Digital Technology and Innovation for the city of Barcelona in Spain