In the northeast of Spain lies Barcelona, capital city of Catalonia. Barcelona is a major cultural, economic and financial centre. The old city centre has many buildings that date back to medieval times, which shows how long the city has been around.
Barcelona has several sites that have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The famous Sagrada Familia is still under construction, but will be finished by 2026. The imposing cathedral has been the face of the city for many years and attracts millions of visitors each year. Barcelona is a very walkable city which makes it a good living place for its habitants and a pleasant place to stay for its visitors. Barcelona’s typical architecture can be enjoyed by walking around Las Ramblas or Park Güell. La Boqueria is a famous covered market, where tourists and locals mingle together. For football fans a visit to Camp Nou is obligatory, as is to pay a visit to Barcelona’s most famous museum, the FC Barcelona Museum.
Barcelona’s economy is one of the strongest in Spain. The industry sector is a big contributor to the local economy, as is the Port of Barcelona. The Port is one of Europe’s busiest sea and passenger ports. Barcelona is also a popular tourist destination with over 5.5 million tourists annually.
Barcelona has been the leading European city in terms of Smart City. The city first began experimenting with smart city solutions back in 2011 and has not stopped since then. Barcelona has a topnotch sensor network that provides data on transport, energy usage, noise levels, irrigation and much more. All this data is collected and put on the open data portal of the city. The data is then used by the city and companies to offer better services to its inhabitants. The city of Barcelona has developed many apps for its citizens. One of the most popular apps is the Bicing app, this app permits users to rent a bike for a certain amount of time. This has helped the city to reduce the amount of cars in the inner city. The ApparkB app allows users to find a vacant parking spot in the city and pay to park there for a certain amount of time. Barcelona actively listens and interacts with its habitants, this is why they created the Decidim platform. Decidim is a digital participatory platform where citizens can suggest ideas, debate , and vote. Barcelona has many eldery habitants. To counter senior loneliness they created the VinclesBCN. This app can be used on tablet or smartphones. Seniors can use this to reinforce social relationships. Each user has access to two networks: one network consists of friends and family, and the other consists of VinclesBCN users that live around the user.
Barcelona has also put other projects in place. The city replaced its outdated public lighting system with LED technology. The lamp posts are also used as public WiFi transmitters and they usually have some sensors that detect any changes in temperature or pollution. Smart Bins are used all around the city. Sanitation workers plan their collection route based on the data the bins send them. Barcelona has also built a new neighborhood: 22@Barcelona. This was one of the first innovative smart city projects the city put in place. The neighborhood has become a model of innovative urban design and planning. This project created new employment as it attracted a lot of national and international businesses.
Each year Barcelona hosts the Smart City Expo World Congress. This exposition aims to empower cities and collectivize urban innovation across the globe through promoting social innovation, establishing partnerships and identifying business opportunities.
Another big event that Barcelon has been hosting since 2006 is MWC (Mobile World Congress). The MWC is the world’s leading exhibition for the mobile industry. The exposition offers brands and companies the opportunity to showcase their new products and technological innovations. The exhibition brings together 2,400 companies and more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world.