Panoramic view of Barcelona.

Barcelona presents the Plan for the city’s digital transformation and the transition to technological sovereignty

The city government has today presented the main objectives of the 2017-2020 Barcelona Digital City Plan to promote technological sovereignty for citizens, foster a more plural digital economy and make a new urban innovation model based on collaboration between businesses, public authorities, the academic world and users possible, through clear public and citizen leadership.

The presentation took place in the Barcelona space at the MediaTIC building. The First Deputy Mayor presented the new plan accompanied by the Commissioner for Digital Technology and Innovation, Francesca Bria.

At the start of his presentation, Gerardo Pisarello explained that “we are not renouncing what has been done but we want to go beyond that and surpass the smart city model to make Barcelona an open, fair, circular and democratic city with a more plural and diversified economy”.

He stressed the fact that this plan has to “have a clear impact on the socio-economic ecosystem that operates in our city”. And reflected on the fact that “while Barcelona is already a benchmark city thanks to its innovative community and local talent, this plan should enable us to diversify the digital economy and ensure that more SMEs and entrepreneurs can gain access to public procurement and offer innovative solutions”.

The First Deputy Mayor also emphasised the commitment to “modernise the public administration and carry out digital transformation so it is ready to face the current digital challenges and be more efficient and effective”, adding that “we want to work with open data and open source software, and follow the example of other cities such as New York, with the aim of developing public policies and delivering services to our citizens more efficiently”.

The Plan seeks to meet city and individual challenges by means of a more democratic use of technology, driving digital innovation and fostering a more open government, as a tool for developing a plural economy that encourages social and environmental transformation, and boosts citizen empowerment.

Barcelona’s goal is to have a digital and technological strategy that enables the city to become a point of reference for public policies that are geared towards better covering the real needs of our citizens and, at the same time, develop the skills of our citizens and the potential of the business community and social entities.

 

Technology for digital transformation and public innovation: a more open and efficient government

The Barcelona Digital City Plan seeks to guide digital transformation and innovation at Barcelona City Council by establishing open service standards, open source code and software and agile methodologies. The aim is to improve internal processes to make the City Council more efficient as well as the services it offers to its citizens in essential areas such as housing, health, energy and mobility.

The Plan provides for the use of open source software in the technological solutions developed by Barcelona in order to facilitate inter-city collaboration.

The aim is also to ensure the existence of digital infrastructures and connectivity for everyone. Efforts will also be made to reduce the digital divide by extending the municipal WiFi network to neighbourhoods where a divide has been detected and making the network available on public transport for free.

Another goal is to develop a public open data infrastructure by involving the general public, businesses and communities. This commitment to a policy of public data management must enable us to democratise data access and ownership, and develop more efficient policies as a public authority working with public resources.

The idea is to improve services by means of pilot tests which, thanks to big data technologies, can help us to tackle urban challenges such as housing, energy and mobility or, for example, that study the impact of phenomena such as tourism.

Barcelona City Council will design and promote new legal, economic and governmental frameworks for promoting systems to protect the privacy of people’s digital rights.

The budget allocated for this ambitious transformation of the Government and the services it provides between 2017 and 2019 is €65.6 million.

 

Developing the digital socio-economic community and the local innovation ecosystem

The Barcelona Digital City Plan must foster an economic and business model around new technologies and an advanced internet that is much more plural than it is now, where SMEs, social entrepreneurs and innovative companies play a prominent role in generating solutions, applications and services that meet and attend to the social needs of our citizens.

The digital and innovative ecosystem and community will be promoted and strengthened to ensure a plural economy, its transformation and social gains. This will facilitate access to public procurement by SMEs, freelancers and entrepreneurs, and will foster the creation of quality employment.

The plan is to allocate €10 million to open and innovative public procurement during this term of office and determine the city's challenges to which solutions need to be proposed.

 

Citizen empowerment

Another line of the Plan is to promote, under public leadership, digital education for the general public in order to guarantee their access to the labour market, both now and in the future, something which requires new tools and skills. Consequently, the number of digital training and skills acquisition courses will be increased in line with the groups that need them.

At the same time, the aim is to make the most of technology in order to facilitate the development of an active, participatory democracy that fosters the exchange of knowledge and talent, while promoting digital sovereignty for citizens and contributing to urban democracy by opening up data under public control, and protecting people’s digital rights and freedoms.