Barcelona City Council has been participating in the Smart City Expo World Congress for five years, with the aim of heightening the visibility of all the city's smart and sustainable projects.
Now is one of those times for raising the City Council’s profile at both local and international levels. This congress is a major event where cities and professionals can meet up and share their visions of the future and proposals for developing today’s cities and making them more sustainable and efficient.
The City Council’s stand provides a meeting point for the various cities and professionals visiting the Fair. The stand showcases the city’s projects implemented at a technological level by the Municipal Institute of Information Technology (IMI), together with the technology business network that devises technological solutions required in order to be able to provide services for Barcelona residents.
Linking Talent for Barcelona
October 2016 saw the presentation of the “2017 - 2020 Barcelona Digital City Plan: Transition towards Technological Sovereignty”, created with the goal of moving beyond the Smart City model and making Barcelona an open, fair, circular, and democratic city. The Plan rests is structured around three ‘pillars’: digital transformation, digital innovation, and digital empowerment.
Barcelona aims to create a new and powerful vision within which technology is a tool for empowering people, and for transforming the city. The residents of a truly democratic city need freedom of access to a common bank of knowledge and open data and information infrastructures if improved and more accessible public services are to be achieved, and a better quality of life.
Barcelona aspires to lead the transition towards a technological sovereignty that will enable both the government and city residents to decide and coordinate their priorities in the use of technological innovations for the benefit of all.
The technological-sovereignty agenda, helped by the adoption of open-code software, open architecture, open standards, and data ethics, should be at the service of the common good. We hope all this will create new productive economic models that are fair, and that facilitate the exchange of knowledge between cities.
We have evolved from a top-down process to a bottom-up one by promoting collective intelligence and getting all the key players in the city’s innovation ecosystem involved.
Our mission is to resolve the challenges facing the city and its citizens through a more democratic use of technology, and by promoting technological and digital innovation for a more open government, and as a tool for developing a plural economy that fosters social and environmental transformation and encourages citizen empowerment.
There are several initiatives and projects underway in each of the following areas:
- Social Innovation
- Nev Mobilitat – Tree Management App
- IoT and big data in flow analyses at Sagrada Família
- Energy calculator
- Programme for promoting and monitoring solar-energy generation
The right to the (smart) city
Barcelona is working to become a city with more public housing, fewer private vehicles, and more green areas; a more sustainable and democratic city with more opportunities for earning a living as well as more forums where citizens can get involved, express themselves, and feel empowered.
The goal is to guarantee the right to a digital city, and the aim of this SCEWC 2018 was to turn technology into an ally for achieving fundamental social rights and meeting the main challenges currently facing the city, such as gentrification.
The digital revolution is also a data revolution. The city has become a real-time big-data production space: 90% of the data we generate today, as a city, did not exist three years ago, and new technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things are fuelling this trend.
The Barcelona Digital City plan promotes the resolution of city and citizen challenges through a more democratic use of technology, promoting technological and digital innovation for more open government, as a tool for the development of a plural economy that fosters social and environmental transformation, always taking citizen empowerment into account.
A technology is needed which puts people at the centre, and promotes the democratisation of the four key areas that provide the framework for people’s everyday lives: each morning, leaving the place we live in (housing) to travel (mobility) to a place for earning or spending a salary (the market), and afterwards, dedicating time to leisure, culture, education, and participation (agora).
There are several initiatives and projects underway in each of these domains:
Humanising tech form Barcelona
Empowering citizens and analysing the data generated are determining factors, as they reveal new challenges and help us to understand them, as well as making it possible to assess and measure the impact of public policies. A responsible and ethical use of this data is essential, and it is the job of the Municipal Data Office to promote this, together with efficient management within the City Council.
At SCEWC 2019, Barcelona demonstrated the city’s commitment to the goals set out in the 2030 Agenda in order to tackle the big challenges of our time, such as the fight for equality and the preservation of the environment through sustainable development goals (SDGs).
City Council ICT Architecture
The City Council’s information and communication technologies are designed and built following a model of cross-cutting layers that have specific functions and allow decoupling of the solutions from the technologies employed. In addition, there are municipal information systems (ISs) and services for citizens.
The municipal data is structured according to the management information base model (MIB), which unifies all IS transversally and guarantees the uniqueness of the data. The MIB includes organisations, individuals, and regions, and the administrative relationship that they maintain with the City Council.
The ISs are decoupled from resources, whether technological or functional, via cross-cutting technological platforms, which offer and manage services through unified functional policies and also enable cooperation between ISs such as CityOS and Sentilo.
Barcelona has a model of how technology can be used to benefit the city. Of how technology can be placed at the service of the people, to preserve their fundamental social rights and meet the principal challenges facing the city today as it continues to drive the digital economy forward, helping to make Barcelona a stimulating, dynamic and demanding place for the new economy, while positioning itself as an international benchmark in supporting and promoting technological humanism. This model can be explained by looking at the three major concepts underpinning it: participation, which encompasses local governance and citizen participation; interaction, both social and economic, and urban planning, which also includes housing and mobility within the city.
In each of the these areas different initiatives and projects are underway:
- Practical guides on the use of digital platforms
- Economic education programme (EdEc)
- Barcelona International Welcome
- Maker Faire
- Declaration of principles and commitments for collaborative cities
- Impulsem el que fas (We promote what you do)
- Social digital innovation
- Ateneus de Fabricació (Fab Labs)
- Urban Planning
In addition, this year a space has been dedicated to EIT Urban Mobility, an initiative that Barcelona has played a leading role in launching. The city will also be the site of the EIT Urban Mobility headquarters in the future.
EIT Urban Mobility is a European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) initiative that aims to speed up positive changes in mobility, and make urban spaces more liveable.