The Spanish multicultural metropolis has already a reputation for pursuing urban technological innovation. In fact, with its network of 500km of optical fiber, free WiFi, sensors to monitor air quality, parking spaces and even waste bins, Barcelona is at the cutting edge of testing the internet of things (IoT).
Recently, the major Ada Colau and Francesca Bria, Barcelona’s chief technology officer and digital commissioner, are planning to turn it into an internet city for citizens.
Antonio Conde, Cisco’s head of innovation in Spain, says some of the technologies have helped Barcelona’s public services to be more efficient, and less harmful to the environment. As an example, sensors have reduced the amount of water used by city parks saving money but also trimming consumption.
The city authorities are encouraging citizens to participate in planning policies helping them with neighborhood meetings and online consultations. Barcelona is trying to achieve more transparency, inviting the public to flag any signs of corruption the municipal contracts are putting online. It is also developing an online map and register of vacant properties and rentals as part of its drive to improve the supply of affordable housing.
Moreover, its encouraging local small and medium-sized businesses to develop products and services using city networks and data.
Above all, the goal is to put people first. “Today Barcelona’s smart city strategy is based on citizen’s needs and policy goals” says Bria, “We reversed the paradigm completely”.
From Financial Times: