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Housing and

22@Barcelona – successful urban transformation

22@Barcelona is a successful urban model for city transformation.

22@ Barcelona is a successful urban model for city transformation. The former industrial district in central Barcelona has been changed into a district with a well-functioning mixture of reinterprets old industry, knowledge-based societies, residential and leisure.

Combining old and new
The central business district in Barcelona – the 22@ Barcelona - is situated in the former industrial area of Poblenou. Being transformed from a high productive industrial area to an area in crisis, the aim for the 22@ Barcelona projects was to convert the area into a technical and innovation district linking the new and old. Instead of tearing the old industrial area down and build new, the City Council decided to loosen up on the regulations in the area. This led to more freedom for the private building owners that could build higher and invest more freely than before. 


Kick starting the transformation
The transformation of the area began around year 2000, after the interventions in connection with the preparation for the Olympic Games in 1992. The city council managed to use the Games as a strategic tool to get new infrastructure to the 22@ Barcelona area - a ring road was built, connecting the area of Poblenou with the metropolitan area and the airport. Short before this the old wide street the Diagonal Avenue was opened linking the district to the old city center of Barcelona.


An unanimously political decision
The initiatives and investments in the infrastructure started a public debate about the future of the Poblenou district, which lead to a unanimously political decision for the ideas behind the 22@ Barcelona master plan. The 22@ Barcelona district has a society, of the same name formed in 2000 by the Barcelona City Council, with the goal of managing and promoting the transformation of the area. Being a success the 22@ Barcelona model is now being applied into other areas of the city.


Inspiring the world
The strong leadership from the City Council, the master plan for the district and the running of it is seen world-wide as an inspiration for urban planning model for co-existence. As an example the 22@ Barcelona model is used as source of inspiration for cities around the world - from Istanbul to Rio de Janeiro, Boston and Cape Town.


Facts on 22@ Barcelona

  • The 22@ Barcelona is about 494 acres of land
  • When finished the project will have created 4 million m2 of constructed floor space – 3,2 million m2 for productive activities and 800,000 for housing and services
  • The district will have increased 114,000 m2 of green space
  • The district will have been provided with 130,000 new jobs
  • 180 million Euros are going to be invested in the district
  • The project is foreseen to be finished in 2020
  • 4,500 new companies have already moved to the district since 2000, about half of them are new start-ups
  • Since 2001 the population in the district has grown with about 23 % with 16,750 people.

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