Federation for
Housing and

Smart City Expo World Congress, Barcelona

IFHP gives you an overview of the city where tradition and innovation meet.

Barcelona is regarded as a role model for innovative urban planning and is recognized internationally for its successful transformation from an industrial city to one of Europe’s leading smart cities in relation to citizen involvement, environment friendly solutions, business development and innovation.

Capital of Catalonia
Barcelona is located in north-eastern Spain on the Mediterranean. It is the second largest city in Spain and the capital of Catalonia, which is the main economic region of Spain. The GDP for the city of Barcelona is 139.84 Million Euros, being the 4th highest among European cities. Barcelona can be divided into three key areas; the medieval city the Gothic Quarter; the Eixample district; and suburban areas.

The Eixample district
The newer Eixample district has an urban grid of parallel streets. The district was planned in the 19th-century as an extension to Barcelona by the urban planner Ildefons Cerdà. The rigid network of streets and blocks are in stark contrast to the old city centre’s twined streets, but can fit even Gaudi’s smooth corners in its design. Cerdà was a civil engineer but worked as the city architect, urban planner and even health specialist. Like today, Barcelona was designed through holistic planning.

Topography of Barcelona
The city's topography challenges urban planning as sea, river, and mountains surrounds Barcelona. It imposes restrictions on the geographic growth, infrastructure and cohesion between city and suburbs. For policy makers and city planners, the physical conditions have been a constant challenge when targeting population growth.

Barcelona is a young city. 67% are of working age between 15-65 years. 12% are children between 0-14 years and 21% are older than 65. The city is characterized by a cosmopolitan spirit of openness, diversity and diverse cultures. 18% of Barcelona’s residents are of foreign origin; of which most are Americans and Europeans; One fifth is from Asians; and a small percentage is from African. The connection to the Catalan culture is found among Spaniards with a strong sense of identity that politically pops up with a desire for regional autonomy.

The kick off
The transformation of Barcelona took off with the preparations for the Olympic Games in 1992. The city government managed to use the Games as a strategic tool to meet the city’s massive physical, social and economic challenges. Today, a number of remarkable buildings from some of the world's leading architects such as Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid have made their marks on the city.

Barcelona has marked itself as a significant economic and commercial centre dominated by tourism, media, food, energy and design. A comprehensive industry provides employment to the region and provides markets in southern Europe, Asia and Latin America. Contractors are drawn to the city’s creative environment and innovative companies housed in the new district 22@; the Smart City Campus.

Culture and Tourism
Barcelona is known as a city with a strong cultural identity. It is one of the cities in the world receiving most tourists (in 2012, 7.4 million tourists) due to especially three main attractions; arts; culture; and beach life. Particularly the clutch of city life and nature makes Barcelona unique and acts as a magnet for both local initiatives and visits from abroad. The city has been able to market itself on the buildings of Antonio
Gaudi and the football team FC Barcelona.

The infrastructure plan is the most important project of the urban transformation of Barcelona. It is also one very ambitious plan with a high real state potential and a 180 million Euros public investment in infrastructure. With broad boulevards and avenues, Cerdá’s original plan is flexible enough to fit today’s infrastructure. The city has an effective subway and bus system running above and beneath the ground, leaving 50 % of the street space to walking and 50 % to other forms of traffic. Barcelona is also famous for its shared bike system – Bicing. The system consists of more than 400 stations with more than 6.000 bikes available for residents only. With a distance of 300-400 meters the bike stations are situated throughout the city with a distance of 300-400 meters, mostly in connection with public transport systems like a metro station or a bus stop.

• Barcelona city covers an area of 102 km2 (Barcelona region: 803 m2)
• Population: 1.6 mio people (region: 4,8 mio people)
• The mayor of the city is Xavier Trias (since 2011) 
• The official languages are Catalan and Spanish