Barcelona forms part of the trend being followed by the most modern cities worldwide to become smart or intelligent cities. What does this entail? Smart cities make use of technology to improve urban living while becoming cleaner and safer -- and saving energy and money in the process.
The idea of turning Barcelona into a smart city took shape through the City Council’s plan
to implement forward-looking ideas. The plan centers on innovative projects that focus on modernising all sectors to streamline services and resources management and bring about sustainable economic growth. 1. Energy and waste management
In recent years Barcelona has placed emphasis on favouring self-sustained building proyects and public spaces, and on intelligent management of the city’s water resources. Its leading-edge waste management model
is designed to generate less waste and recycle as much as possible. Its system of measuring waste materials in containers helps to streamline pick-up routes.2.-The Internet Of Things
Using the Internet of Things (IoT), Cisco, a technological firm
, has established a digital platform that uses a series of sensors to make optimum use of the city’s main services. These include pinpointing unused parking spaces to facilitate traffic flow, and lighting systems with movement sensors that turn lights on as passers-by approach – in fact, most lampposts have been furnished with LED bulbs, thus providing very significant energy savings.3. Urban mobility and recovery of public spaces
Creating superblocks is another means of solving the city’s traffic problems, tackling serious environmental pollution issues and reducing noise levels. These are large building blocks divided into groups of nine and delimited by normal avenues, but traffic flow within them gives preference to pedestrians and bicycles, and cars can only drive at 10 kph. Parking areas are not on the street: car parks are underground. These superblocks are designed to minimise car use and give priority to pedestrians.4. District 22@’s sustainable economic development
Pobleneu or new town was a derelict industrial district with a complicated urban plan that isolated it from the rest of the city. Launched in the year 2000, the Distrito22@ project has focused on renewing industrial zones from a social and community development perspective by creating collective work areas and public housing. According to data published by La Vanguardia
, Distrito 22@ now houses 8,800 businesses, with the creation of 40,737 square metres of green areas, and 14,000 square metres set aside for urban facilities.
To ensure that Barcelona’s smart city project includes and benefits all its inhabitants, another focus is on improving Internet access –which falls short for some groups such as senior citizens—by providing free Wi-Fi and USB port coverage. Modern, innovative buildings such as the World Trade Center Barcelona
have also been built as part of the drive to become a smart city.