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Water in Barcelona Metropolitan Area

We talk about water to talk about the environment

When we talk about the environment, we are basically referring to three areas, the water cycle, waste and the environment, in which the Barcelona Metropolitan Area currently has competence both in management and in its legislative capacity.

Water is a non-infinite common good that must be preserved to guarantee the continuity of the life cycle, the water cycle being a vital process for the maintenance and stability of the planet.

Water cycle in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area

The AMB has competence regarding the Water Cycle in:

  • Domiciliary supply of drinking water or downstream supply.
  • Sanitation of the water collected for use.
  • Sewage Treatment.
  • Regeneration of purified water for other uses.
  • Coordination of municipal sanitation and sewerage systems.
  • Rate regulation.

Regarding waste management and everything, and that the Society is increasingly aware of the importance of recycling for the conservation and maintenance of the Environment and biodiversity, we are still far from the objectives set by the European Union.

According to EU guidelines for 2020, a municipal selective collection rate of 50% should have been achieved. This index has only been achieved by 9 municipalities in the Metropolitan Area (3% of the total population), with the average of the AMB at 38%. It is worth noting the importance of continuing to work in this area if we want to achieve the 70% limit set by the EU by 2030.

In the area of ​​Waste, the AMB intervenes in a competent way in:

  • Treatment of municipal waste and works as well as their recovery and disposal of non-recyclable waste.
  • Coordination of municipal collection systems.
  • Choice and selection of packaging.

At the Environmental level, the role of the AMB is of vital importance as the Metropolitan Area is a space of high population and industrial density, with the policies applied having a direct impact on the environment. In the same way, these policies must also take into account the private company so that the legislation is feasible with the productive and economic fabric of the Sector.

Thus, environmental policies must be innovated and applied in such a way that they comply with the European Commission’s roadmap “A low carbon economy by 2050” applying the package of measures on climate and energy by 2030 and doing so collaboratively and gradually taking into account the Private Sector.


Environmental Competencies at the AMB

Competences of the AMB in Environment:

  • Metropolitan action plan for the protection of the environment, health and biodiversity and the fight against climate change.
  • Noise pollution and emission of environmental reports.
  • Municipal collaboration in environmental management policies.
  • Promotion and management of renewable energy installation.

Taking a first photo of the situation of the Metropolitan Area and the current competencies of the AMB, from BDF we believe it is necessary to promote the Barcelona Metropolitan Area as a superior entity with legislative and management capacity to efficiently serve an area made up of 36 municipalities and 636 km2 with a population of more than 3 million inhabitants.

This management will only be possible to give it efficiently through the formula of the mixed management of public-private collaboration, understanding it as “the different forms of cooperation between public authorities and the business world, whose objective is to guarantee financing, construction, renovation, management or the maintenance of an infrastructure or the provision of a service ”(according to the Green Book of the European Commission); In this way, it is possible to unite the capacities and virtues of the two sectors for the common good, which is none other than having a quality service, self-sufficient, sustainable and respectful with the environment.

What do you know about the real Barcelona?

1.- We all know that Barcelona is a great City, but very few of us can pinpoint its population or its limits. We can speak of Barcelona as a municipality or as a metropolis. They are both true. The two are different.
2.- As a municipality, Barcelona has little more than 100 km2 and a little more than 1,600,000 inhabitants and is governed by a municipal corporation that is chosen by the closed-list election system and according to the Honduran rule.
3.- The municipal government’s election system does not seem to arouse much interest among Barcelona residents since only 66% voted in the last elections (2019). This allows the current mayor to govern with only 20.7% of the votes and the support of the PSC, which added 18.4%
4.- Thus conceived, Barcelona would be one of the 500 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, but it would lack the entity to compete with the network of macrocities that make up the global world. Is that the real Barcelona?
5.- The truth is that in addition to the Barcelona municipality, there is another Barcelona, ​​the Metropolitan Barcelona with an extension of 600 km2 and a population of 3.2 million inhabitants. When we talk about Barcelona, ​​we almost always refer to that Barcelona, ​​which of course does not deny the first, but rather magnifies it.
6.- This Metropolitan Barcelona is made up of 36 municipalities and has its own administration which was initially called the Barcelona Metropolitan Corporation until its dissolution in 1987 and which, after its restoration in 2010, has been renamed the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.
7.- Very few inhabitants of that Metropolitan Barcelona are capable of drawing its territorial limit or indicating what the powers of the metropolitan administration are. In 1986, shortly before its dissolution, only 6% of the population knew about the CMB.
8.- The situation has not changed after the reestablishment of the AMB according to a study by the UB carried out between 2013 and 2016. The AMB continues to be the “unknown administration”.
9.- However, the same study shows that, when the functions to be carried out by the AMB and the services it provides in the area of ​​water, waste or transport are explained, the evaluation that the citizen gives it is very high, reaching a 7, 4 out of 10.

10.- Curiously, the least known administration turns out to be, when explaining what it does, the best valued. Is there a reason for this paradox?
11.- Without a doubt the answer is yes. There is a double reason. The system of election of its governing bodies explains its ignorance. Its high technical level explains its high valuation.
12.- The maximum governing body of the AMB is the Metropolitan Council currently made up of a total of 80 members, of whom 36 are the mayors of the municipalities that constitute its territory, and the rest are indirectly elected by the municipal corporations. The Metropolitan Council elected by this indirect route designates its President who, until now, has always been the Mayor of Barcelona.
13.- The indirect election makes it impossible for the inhabitants of Metropolis Barcelona to know their metropolitan councilors and that few know who presides over the AMB. Other systems are, however, possible and are used in European metropolitan cities. They could also take effect between us.
14.- Reconfiguring our metropolitan administration could be done by recovering the Consell de Cent as a management body at the metropolitan level. In this way, an organ that was rector of Barcelona at the time when it opened up to the Mediterranean and began a period of economic and social growth would once again have a presence.
15.- Maintaining the mayors of the 36 municipalities that make up the territory of the AMB as ex officio members of the Consell de Cent, another 64 councilors would still have to be elected.
They could be chosen by a direct election system. One for every 50 thousand inhabitants and, to achieve greater proximity between electors and elected, the election could be made by districts choosing your representative directly.
16.- Naturally, for this, the area of ​​each electoral district should be determined without having to follow the boundaries of the municipal terms, taking as a basis the “metropolitan neighborhoods” wherever possible and grouping municipalities where this is essential to reach 50,000 voters. .
17.- Choosing your representative directly allows you to contact a specific person when you need them and not an anonymous administration or a political party that is, in fact, the one who designates metropolitan councilors with the current system.
18.- This direct election system of the Metropolitan Council, with the electoral system that BDF proposes or with a different one, is notably extended throughout Europe using multiple denominations as appropriate to the political culture of each country.

19.- Los Consejos Metropolitanos de elección directa se encuentran en las tres ciudades estado, “landers” en la terminología alemana, que son Berlín, Hamburgo y Bremen, pero también en Viena, puesto que Austria es asimismo una república federal.

También son entidades federales las ciudades de Moscú, San Petersburgo y Sebastopol.

20.- Sin embargo, estos Consejos de elección directa no están presentes únicamente en países con estructura federal. Las Regiones Metropolitanas están reguladas también en Francia (Lyon y Aix-Marsella), en Italia (Palermo, entre otras) y en Portugal (Lisboa y Oporto).

Son también entidades metropolitanas Londres y Liverpool según la regulación especial inglesa y Bruselas entre Flandes y Valonia.

Relating the great city and territory

Global migration to cities

As of 2007, the urban population outnumbered the rural population for the first time in history, and we know that according to United Nations forecasts, 70-80% of the world population will live in urban areas by 2050.
This abrupt growth of cities is the most important trend of the 21st century, and places cities as key actors in the political, economic and social spheres, and above all, makes their commitment to global governance essential in matters such as climate change, the management of minors at risk of social exclusion or poverty, immigrants or refugees.
In Europe we are taking advantage of this trend, and it seems less strange to us, but even so, we have many great issues to tackle, and we want to make a proposal, to set our sights on the origin of society: municipalism.

Characteristics of the municipalities

The municipality is a natural administrative level that exists throughout the world. In fact, it has always existed veiled by the needs of the weakest in the community. We don’t have to invent anything.
When we speak of municipalities, we speak of administrations that are close to citizens.
And what happened? When did this change?
Well, as the politicians were taking more power, they were specializing and bureaucratizing, and of course, in the boss of a short time there were drawing lines to avoid conflicts, the borders. Kingdoms, regions, nations, states, provinces, regions …
The reality is that the territory and the city continue to be interconnected, and that Barcelona is much more than its 1,620,000 inhabitants, what a disaster if only they had to draw the future of Barcelona.
There are two ways to * interconnect the different municipalities, turning rural municipalities into beneficiaries of subsidies and public contributions of the taxes that have been * collected * mainly in large cities, or linking the rural economy with that of the big city.

At a time when the globalization destabilizes the economy with unforeseeable consequences, it is important to start a deep reflection on how we can link the products that can be obtained in our territory with the demand of the big city, thus guaranteeing the maintenance of rural structures, and very important: the landscape we have today.

A society without borders

Where are the borders?
If you raise borders, you isolate yourself, and at this moment in history, what we need is to be sponges and learn from everywhere to face all the changes that come to us.
The future is networks of interconnected people that • work together to generate value, by  matching technology.
We want cities without physical borders. We do not understand borders, we understand people.

The responsibility of the territory is shared, we are all necessary to draw a 2050 that does not scare us.

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