At the request of Barcelona, the cities of New York, Paris and Ghent took part in a session on cities at the annual conference by the ICANN, the regulating body for internet domains. The .barcelona domain, launched in 2016, looks to strengthen the city’s digital identity through the entities, businesses and platforms which use it and help reduce the digital divide in the city’s neighbourhoods.
The weight carried by cities at the ICANN annual conference is a logical translation of the weight cities have at a global level. It is estimated that over half the world’s population lives in cities and that as a result cities are where cultural realities and identities happen, are transformed and developed. Domains thus become amplifiers which give cities a voice and position them strategically.
The .barcelona domain forms part of the municipal strategy to position the city in key areas such as citizen participation, mobility, housing and the fight against inequalities. The first municipal domain to use it was the digital participation platform Decidim Barcelona, which received over 9,000 proposals from citizens when it first started, with a total of 22,600 registered users participating.
Other notable examples include the habitatge.barcelona portal, which brings together all the information, municipal services and latest news on housing policies; the notincpor.barcelona portal, set up a few days after the terrorist attack on 17 August 2017 and which includes a digital book of condolence with the responses from the people of Barcelona and from all around the world, and the fairtourism.barcelona portal, with content on the international campaign to combat illegal tourist lets and allow users to check if a flat has a licence before renting it.