Jordi Carnes, President of the 22@Barcelona
Mr. Carnes, as President of 22@Barcelona could explain the key point of the project?
In 2001 the Barcelona City Council approved a new order to transform the old industrial area of district Poblenou, which at that time was full of closed factories and those with limited productive results.
The project was created in response to the need to restore social and economic dynamism to the old industrial area of Poblenou and create a compact and diverse environment in which production, together with research and training facilities, transfer technology, affordable housing, equipment and green areas could combine to improve the quality of life and work.
The 22@ model provides an urban model of high quality. It is diverse and ecologically efficient with an economic strength and productivity carefully balanced with the needs of the neighbourhood.
It should also be noted that in the context of a highly competitive, global economy, the future of cities and businesses depends on their ability to attract and retain professionals that are trained and qualified to address new challenges.
This is one of the main objectives of 22@ and therefore the project is crucial for the future vision of the city.
What are the areas that empower Barcelona’s economy and how do they contribute? What role does 22@ play in the expansion of these sectors?
Undoubtedly, 22@Barcelona promotes the creation of numerous projects which in turn, promote competitiveness and the international projection of companies and institutions present in the area.
These initiatives allow the creation of clusters or areas of excellence in various fields of knowledge in which Barcelona can pursue an international leadership by housing in a same space, a range of businesses, public agencies , centres of scientific and technological reference, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), Medical Technology, Design and Energy.
To encourage the consolidation of these clusters, 22@ strives for: the presence of reference companies in the sector, the support and the presence of the most relevant institutions, the existence of spaces for small and medium enterprises, the installation of universities and centers of professional and vocational training, the operation of technology centers, the creation of business incubators, specific construction of : residences for professionals, spaces for the exhibition and dissemination of innovations and work in the sector, services and spaces for entrepreneurs of the above mentioned areas and the presentation of a set of specific spaces.
What role has ICT played in the socio-economic development of Barcelona?
Economic and social development through a knowledge-based economy is the natural process following the industrial age. Undoubtedly, knowledge becomes the key factor for economic and social development of the world.
It is generally accepted that new technology can extend the benefits of knowledge to all segments of society and helps to reduce the gap in living standards of its citizens. Those countries that are able to make a transformation to a knowledge-based economy by taking advantage of the steadily growing avalanche of technological innovations will get more, and better opportunities to become more competitive in global markets.
Many Catalan and foreign companies are investing in 22@Barcelona, what is being done to attract investment and at the same time to ensure that the infrastructure is ready for such an ambitious project?
The new Infrastructure Plan involves an investment of more than 180 million euros and can give the area modern energy networks, telecommunications, central air conditioning and waste pneumatic collection. The design of these networks prioritizes energy efficiency and sustainable management of natural resources, and allows important improvements in urban services. These measures have given to 22@ the latest and most efficient infrastructure to support the success of the project.
Apart from promoting the above areas, 22@ focuses on education. In what ways do educational institutions contribute to the project?
22@ promotes talent development in the schools of the area through an initiative aimed at students, families and teachers called “creatalento” that helps to develop creativity and innovation in science and technology.
Moreover it develops through the project “22@ Staying in Company” a range of initiatives to link foraign University students and vocational training students with Barcelona´s businesses therefore attracting and retaining international talent in the city. Finally I should mention that the 22@Barcelona´s district is also set as one of the new university campuses of the city with a population of around 30,000 students.