On June 8, Mayor Ada Colau offered the online conference “The Response of Major Cities to the Challenges of the 21st Century”. The event was organized by the London School of Economics as part of its “Shaping the Post-Covid World” initiative, a series of debates about the direction the world could and should be taking after the crisis, and was led by Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies and Director of LSE Cities and Urban Age at LSE.
Ada Colau stressed the importance of creativity and cooperation between cities as ways of dealing with the lack of resources of local governments, despite being the administrations closest to citizens and therefore those that have to directly solve the needs and urgencies derived from the current crisis. In this sense, she highlighted the work of Barcelona within large networks of cities such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) -of which she is a special envoy to the United Nations-, Metropolis or C40. She also recalled that Barcelona collaborates closely with various cities around the world such as London, Paris or Amsterdam, with which it works together and exchanges solutions and experiences on issues such as mobility or housing.
On the other hand, the mayor of Barcelona stressed the need to build cities of human proportions and that this means that the reference measure of the city should be its most vulnerable members: children, the elderly, women and people with functional diversity. She pointed out that, as a mother and as mayor, she believes that a good indicator of the quality of the city is the presence and protagonism of children in the urban space, inviting the public of the act to look at the city with the eyes of a boy or girl: a city to play in, a city to grow up in and a city to dream.
A a city to play is a pacified and safe city, and for this it is necessary to recover public space for the people through initiatives such as superblocks or the “Let’s protect schools” program to pacify school environments. It is a city where people are not in a hurry, and in this way local commerce is promoted as well as social relations, which at the same time makes neighborhoods safer.
A city to grow up and fully develop: for this you need to have a future, so it is essential to bet on the green economy, sustainable mobility, access to knowledge and culture and create. For example, when the 22@ district is relauched, the innovative, entrepreneurial, productive and design tradition of Barcelona is being recovered; but work and well-being must also be combined: technology companies and housing, green space and public services, so that there is always a community making a city.
A city to dream: that dreams do not depend on wealth, skin color, origin, gender… in short, a city of equality, inclusion and social justice: guaranteeing the right to housing, building public housing; protect citizens from speculation; democratize access to common goods, for example with the municipal electricity company, a public renewable energy operator.