Last week, Barcelona became the first ever European Capital of Innovation. The Spanish city, which competed against 57 other European cities to reach the final, was presented with the first award of this kind by the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium at the closing ceremony of the Innovation Convention 2014. Neither the “knowledge ecosystem” of Grenoble, France nor the “Green Plan” of Groningen, Netherlands could beat Barcelona, who was recognised “for introducing the use of new technologies to bring the city closer to citizens”.
The European Capital of Innovation Award is judged on cities which are making major efforts to promote innovation and improve the quality of their citizens´ lives. Barcelona´s winning project, entitled “Barcelona as a people city”, was launched in September 2011 with the objective of introducing the use of new technologies to foster both economic growth and the welfare of citizens.
As well as the prestigious title, the city was also gifted €500,000 to continue expanding the efforts of the project which includes open data initiatives, sustainable city growth initiatives and social innovation all with an aim of providing “smart services´ in a flexible, continuous and agile way through ICT to launch innovation in different areas of the city.
As stated by the Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, Barcelona really does have it all – transport, urbanism, research, sustainability, mobility, open data – and was therefore a deserving winner of this award.
Barcelona is 4th European city on the Smart City rankings, behind Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Vienna, which no doubt helped the iCapital judges with their decision. The city has a wide public fleet electrically powered, which includes waste collection vehicles, buses, the Guardia Urbana cars and taxis. Furthemore, the city provides residents with the biggest, free public WiFi network in Spain and one of the biggest in Europe, with currently 448 WiFi hotspots in place.
Barcelona had already won another European city battle, the mobile capital of Europe. The Catalan city beat Paris, Munich and Milan to host Mobile World Congress, which this year has a presence of over 201 countries and influential stars such as Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jan Koum (Whatsapp) and Virginia Rometty (IBM), and will continue to do so until at least 2018.
Apps as allies
Barcelona is not just a mobile friendly city during the World Congress. A public-private ecosystem has been created to not only promote young people to take studies in this sector but also to aid the development of mobile businesses in the area – in the city mobile apps are constantly being created. This can be seen through the City Councils creation of “Apps4BCN”, a service which gathers the main applications that aim to make the lives of the city´s citizens easier and promote social inclusion.
The high use of mobile technology has helped to create a transparency in the administration of the local government. Following an Open Government plan, an app and portal have been created which allows people to follow the plans and evaluate the activities of the council, see information about municipal contracting or quarterly budgets to see how well the council is complying with proposed budgets.
It is through all of these points, and many more, that Barcelona is able to call its self the first ever European City of Innovation.
If the mobile sector of Barcelona does interest you, please have a look at the IT & E-commerce positions we currently have available.
We´ve also got this site to help you find out more information about working in Barcelona
Source: elmundo.com – Por qué Barcelona es la mejor