Barcelona's city model features in the Japanese magazine Architecture and Urbanism

Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 15:24

Issue Nº 612 of the Japanese magazine Architecture and Urbanism (a+u) features an article on the Municipal Institute of Information Technology (IMI), along with the Decidim Barcelona and DECODE projects.

Under the heading “Urban Science and new design tools”, this magazine specialises in new technologies in an urban setting and their applications, in initiatives that range from the design of urban areas to participatory democracy and public health.

In the article dedicated to Barcelona City Council, the magazine traces IMI’s history, from its beginnings in the 1990s to the present day. In fact, it goes back to 1 September 1967, when COM (Municipal Information Technology Centre), IMI’s precursor, was officially founded. The article then follows its development until 1990, when it was established as an independent body within Barcelona City Council.

The publication also highlights the Decidim Barcelona platform, considering it to be “a pioneering democratic exercise” in participatory budgets. In that regard, it explains that participatory budgets are a step towards a model of direct democracy which involves city residents in decision-making processes, while also allowing them to make proposals and debate them.

Another project mentioned in the article is DECODE (Decentralised Citizens Owned Data Ecosystem), a project funded by the European Union with the aim of developing and constructing a decentralised data ecosystem where people can manage their own data in a secure, protected way.

Barcelona is paving the way to a new, more sustainable and inclusive city model

Barcelona is immersed in a process of digital transformation, and IMI is playing a vital role. The aim is to achieve a new paradigm in the relationship between the general public and the local authority, so that any interaction Barcelona residents have to undertake with the City Council can be done in a digital format, from their own homes. This is an immense challenge, and over 400 procedures have been identified, many of which are partially digitalised, but using different technologies. Now it is necessary to put all of these activities in order and expand them technologically and functionally.  Furthermore, the city is working to ensure that no one is excluded because of economic, digital or social inequalities. In that regard, IMI compiles all the data generated by over 200 information systems, to enable it to undertake an overall analysis of the city and thus improve city governance by taking these factors into account.

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