A project for the Barcelona Metropolitan Area



I.- The era of the Global City

  1. Reality
  2. What is a global city?
  3. Problems and hopes
  4. The Path to Success

II.- Barcelona Global City

  1. Objective conditions
  2. Alarm signals and deficiencies
  3. The ideal space for the provision of services. 


III.- A little history

  1. The theoretical framework
  2. The metropolitan events in Spain
  3. The specificity of Barcelona
  4. Institutional rethinking
  5. The current situation and the future


IV.- The Global City within the framework of the territorial organization of the State

  1. Different legislative levels
  2. Territorial administration in our system
  3. Present and future of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area


V.- The social dimension of the Global City

  1. Conditions for sustainable growth
  2. Magnitude of the problem
  3. A social policy at the metropolitan level
  4. Specific housing reference
  5. Rejuvenate the population
  6. Specific management of public spaces 


VI.- Public transport, water and waste

  1. Permanently metropolitan services
  2. Rethinking Public Transport based on technological advances
  3. Towards a Metropolitan Public Transport Authority
  4. Water and Waste
  5. Environmental protection and sustainability. 


VII.- Metropolitan Infrastructures: A space for cooperation

  1. Important capabilities and major challenges. 
  2. Barcelona's Airport Hub
  3. The Port of Barcelona
  4. The Mediterranean corridor.


VIII.- Rethink the Global Barcelona

  1. The future is not written.
  2. What future do we want to build?
  3. The talent economy, the path to success
  4. A hopeful conclusion 



  1. Reality


According to UN data in 1950, 30% of the world's population lived in cities, in 2016 the total percentage is 55%, but in Europe it has reached 75%. The process we are attending is not, however, simply a displacement of the population from the countryside to the city, it is also a parallel process of growth in the size of the cities. 


More than 500 cities now exceed one million inhabitants and more than 50 of them exceed 5 million inhabitants. 3% of the world's population lives in the 15 most populous cities and only one of them Istanbul is in Europe.


The process of concentration of the population in large cities seems, to this day, unstoppable and parallel to an even faster process of greater entity: the speed and intensity of concentration of wealth is even greater. 


If we take as a reference the US we find that 7 metropolitan regions account for 25% of total GDP. These are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, Dallas, Houston and Philadelphia. It cannot be surprising, therefore, that in a study that takes into account, simultaneously both factors, the result is the finding that in cities that make up 20% of the world's population, 50% of the world's economic output is concentrated.


Globalization has produced a new reality and a new concept: the global city.


  1. What is a Global City?


Ciudad Global is a term first coined in 1991 by sociologist Saskia Sassen and later widely developed from a central thesis: "the transformations produced by globalization and digitization require a new conceptual architecture for its study and interpretation. The global city represents such a conceptual architecture." 


We have seen how the globalization of the economy has caused an intense process of concentration of economic power in a few metropolitan areas from which control and direction of the world economy is exercised. In these "global cities" the nodes of the main telecommunications networks converge, in them are the headquarters of the main financial institutions; and they are home to the main centres of world power, places where inside information is generated that is vital for decision-making. 


Although globalization is characterized by a powerful decentralizing trend, it appears in line with sharp trends that point in the opposite direction. It is necessary to take into account two factors: 1) that the decentralization of economic activity has not been accompanied by a parallel deconcentration in capital ownership, and that (2) the territorial dispersion that characterizes the "global assembly chain" (the production of goods in factories scattered around the world) has created a need for highly centralized control and direction. 


From a functional point of view, the global city is a post-industrial city. Its raison d'etre is services and the third high-level sector. With three basic pillars:


  1. Activities that allow the control of the global economic organization and that are executed from the headquarters of transnational corporations and banks. 


  1. Advanced production services: legal and financial advice, innovation, development, design, administration, personnel, production technology, maintenance, transport, communications, security, advertising, marketing, market research, mergers, management tasks etc. 


  1. Establishments that satisfy the new consumption habits of contemporary society, which place special emphasis on fashion and style, as well as cultural, sports and artistic activities.


3.- Global city challenges


The global city is the space where the challenges of the future will be answered, crystallized with special intensity in five areas:


  • Challenges of demographic change: 1) adaptation to population ageing in developed nations, 2) rapid population growth in developing nations, which will not necessarily correspond to economic development, 3) the gap between these two types of countries, and the demographic gap will be accompanied by exponential growth in migration. 


  • Challenges of technological change: 1) change in the perception of our role in work: flexible and more productive work, by projects, short-term and relocated, 2) new opportunities arise for advances in health and life expectancy, 3) advances in the globalization of communications, 4) advances in collaborative learning, through virtual and real-time discussion , 5) increased participation in civil society and change in the way we interact with the administration, 6) growing threat of cybercrime and "fake news", 7) lifelong learning is likely to become the norm.


  • Climate change challenges: 1) destructive climate events, such as exposure of coastal cities to flood risks from rising sea levels, 2) desertification and biodiversity reduction will also affect agricultural production and fisheries: lack of resources, shortages and hydraulic stress can lead to humanitarian conflicts and crises in large parts of the world. 


  • Identity change challenges: This combination of trends will almost certainly affect our perception of identity: people may feel less connected to their home country, becoming more strongly identified with the communities of their online interest. This is what is called "digital identity" linked to "digital nationality". Businesses and NGOs could grow in power, providing services that used to be the responsibility of the state.


4.- Problems and hopes 


We also face significant challenges arising from the change in governance: communities with new ties replace or overlap with religion and political ideology by forging intense ties, while the population demands greater proximity and transparency to their governing bodies. 


A Global City is a phenomena of great dimension in the social and cultural sphere in which it is generated. This dimension may be different in Asia and America than in Europe; but in any case the increase in size poses new problems and forces new solutions to the usual problems.


These problems are concentrated in the following areas: 


  1. Institutional and political: The Global City is not usually a homogeneous nucleus or an urban continuum.  It is a polycentric reality, which in most cases comprises various municipalities. Ensuring democratic representation of citizens in this context, how to improve democratic quality and how to create institutional areas of coordination that have the capacity to plan and implement future projects, are problems that must be adequately addressed and resolved from respect to local powers, but also in search of the greatest functional effectiveness.


  1. Territorial: To the extent that it is a polycentric reality, the Global City must address and solve the problems of expansion and mobility in the territory, taking into account technological advances already in the phase of global development and implementation. 


It must also be able to cope with increasingly sophisticated and demanding waste management that is compatible with environmental quality and to manage water supply and sanitation in situations often close to hydraulic stress.   


  1. Social: The Global City as a phenomenon linked to the process of economic globalization must ensure access to social services for all citizens and correct "social exclusion", a situation that cannot be reduced to the migration phenomenon but is analyzed and resolved with an overview. 


  1. Economic: In a globalized world, the fundamental problem is competitiveness. Global cities compete to attract technological innovation, talent and science. Entrepreneur-friendly management and social environment and innovation are the first condition of economic growth and quality job creation.


Difficulties are many and important, but so are hopes. The urban mega-regions, the metropolitan areas that make up global cities concentrate, as we have seen, at least 50% of the world's economic output, but represent a much higher percentage in the area of scientific and technological innovation thus ensuring greater social balance and better quality of employment where the challenges and problems described have found a valid solution.


5.- The Path of Success


There is no one-time path to success or an infallible path to the top, but the certainty that the world of globalization does not wait for the laggards and does no favours for those who have failed to find their own way.


There is much to learn from those who have been able to reach significant levels of success and perhaps the first thing is the need to perceive and enhance their own always specific and always different strengths.


This is the case in Singapore, a global city that is also a state. Its success is based on a balanced combination of geography and governance. Geography places it on one of the sea routes with the highest volume of traffic. Governance has made it the world's first port for the volume of goods. 


The creation of a "business friendly" administration with legal certainty, low taxes (7% VAT, maximum of 20% for IRPF and 18% corporation tax –IS-) and important stimulus for the installation of new companies have placed Singapore in the world of Global Cities and this has been added the specialization in the chemical industry and finances that make Singapore the 4th global financial center after New York , London and Tokyo. 


All this has been compatible with an important activity deployed in the field of urban design, which in turn has become a focus of high-level tourist attraction. 


Something similar, saving the differences in the socio-economic environment, has happened with London. It is true that the starting assumption was much better than Singapore's, although not necessarily in all areas; but also here it is easy to observe the process of transforming a city that ceased to be the capital of a World Empire to become the capital of culture, art, services and finance.


The key element in this transformation process has also been Governance here. If today London is the second financial plaza in the world and the first city in the world of choice for going to work is because it has been and is an institutionally well-structured city with an effective administration that has managed to meet and solve its challenges.


London has banished the smog and healed the Thames and done so to gain positions in all areas of the economy, thus proving that a conservationist optician is not a cost, but also an advantage for the economy.




1.- Objective conditions


There is a broad consensus on the momentum for Barcelona to celebrate the 1992 JJOO. Not only did it mean placing Barcelona on the world map, opening the city to the sea or a major urban redesign; that event laid the foundation for Barcelona to enter the nodal network of Global Cities.


However, the Barcelona Global City is not the municipality of 100 km2 and 1.6 million inhabitants, it is the urban continuum that makes up the current METROPOLITAN AREA OF BARCELONA, its 36 municipalities that gather 3.2 million inhabitants in its 600 km2.


This territory generates 13% of Spanish GDP, 65% of Catalonia's GDP and an even greater proportion of its scientific and technological production, which takes it to receive 56% of Spanish investment in "start-ups". It is undoubtedly one of the most important economic "regions" of the E.U. and on its own merits it is the seat of the UNION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN that brings together all the countries of the E.U. mediterranean seabanks with the tragic exception of Syria. 


With 10 million visitors a year, an airport that moves almost 50 million passengers annually and one of the main ports in Europe, there is no doubt that Metropolis Barcelona meets the objective conditions to be considered Global City.


That's why Barcelona is the third city in the world of choice for holding conferences and the fourth world's favourite destination to work with, behind only London, New York and Berlin. (Boston Consulting Group Study). 


Home to the Mobile World Congress (MWC) and hundreds of events associated with technology and biomedical research, Barcelona has been set up as the innovation hub in Southern Europe and has been fourth in Europe's "Smart cities" ranking. (WBA Publications).


2.- Alarm signals and deficiencies


In recent years Barcelona suffered the incidence of increasing insecurity in the street. The number of crimes is growing significantly while increasing the number of "manteros" occupying important spaces on the public road. The perception of growing insecurity has been reflected in local and international media.


It is not a problem of lack of resources or professional disability. There is a lack of political will to make security on the street, in housing and in the broader area of legal security, a priority of government action. 


There is also extensive consensus on Barcelona's pulse loss. Losing the new location of the EUROPEAN MEDICATION AGENCY (EMA) for the benefit of Amsterdam has been interpreted as a very relevant alarm signal. Dozens of reasons suggested that the chosen one would be Barcelona, with the pharmaceutical industry being 7% of Catalan GDP and a sector that employs 42,000 mostly highly skilled workers.


In an extraordinary issue dated March 17, 2018, the Vanguard echoed the loss of "pulse" of the Barcelona brand and drew attention to the loss of consensus as a characteristic note of today's Barcelona. 


Something is failing in the international projection of the Barcelona Global and that something is certainly neither geography nor sociological determinants. Without intending to exclude the incidence of other factors, we understand that the institutional scope is failing. We have a governance problem and that problem takes us away from the path of success.


We are not referring to the greater or lesser capacities of our municipal government, or even to the higher or lower quality of one or the other program or human team of the parties. It is, in our view, a structural problem which seems clearly diagnosed as an inadequacy and weakness of the institutions of metropolitan government.


We have already seen that in the path of success good governance is a key factor. It is also our main problem today.


Few citizens of the 36 municipalities that make up the AMB know the existence of this administrative structure, few know that it shares competences with the municipalities themselves, but also with the counties and the Provincial Council. If the WBA is known for anything, it is for its transport activity. 


It is therefore in the field of Governance that we must focus our efforts, as it is the necessary, but not sufficient, condition to return Barcelona to the path of success.


The direct election of its governing bodies and in particular its Mayor-President, the strengthening and clarification of competence, the equivalent reallocation of economic resources and the assumption of powers involving direct services to the citizen and which find their territorial scope of efficiency at the metropolitan level. All of this would contribute to improving the democratic quality of the WBA. 


3.- The ideal space for the provision of services.


After governance or perhaps as a specific part of this problem, it seems necessary to place the ideal space for the provision of each public service, based on the principle of subsidiarity and collaboration, but also in search of maximum efficiency. 


Traditionally, planning has traditionally been considered to be both urban planning and infrastructure planning and the implementation or management in the field of transport and mobility, water and waste treatment. As we will see in the corresponding section, the conurbation of Barcelona has tended to maintain all the competences mentioned in the metropolitan area, an approach in which all scholars of the metropolitan phenomenon would agree. 


However, the Global City today must respond to many other demands that cannot have an effective response in a smaller or broader and heterogeneous territorial area. 


  1. The first is the fight against social exclusion, including the coordination of all assistance programmes and all actions in social policy, with special emphasis on housing and birth support. 


  1. The second is the struggle for environmental sustainability, an area in which the presence of metropolitan administration has been constant, but which must be intensified and extended to other fields such as clean energy and non-polluting and sustainable transport. 


  1.  The third is the leap from planning to field implementation of strategic infrastructures, giving the AMB the authority to restore priorities and to allocate ever-inadequate resources.


  1.  The fourth is the creation of scenarios favorable to the implementation in the territory of companies and economic initiatives that generate quality occupation, attract talent and guarantee through innovation future growth. 


Our proposal presupposes a Metropolitan Administration with direct democratic legitimacy and with authority and resources to maintain its traditional activities, extending its action where the challenges of the future force to structure public services in a space more extensive than the strict term of a municipality. 


We will have the opportunity to discuss it later. 




1.- The theoretical framework


None of the problems, none of the hopes and none of the needs we have examined are entirely new or specific to Barcelona or any other city. They are the result of a process of population concentration and economic change that has been accelerating after World War II, but which was already manifested before. 


The theoretical framework from which this complex matter is analyzed is different as it departs from the SCHOOL OF THE REFORM, the so-called SCHOOL OF THE RATIONAL CHOICE or the SCHOOL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNANCE.


Each of them proposes solutions that in the first reinforce the institutionalization of metropolitan governing bodies with direct choice of their components, while the second defends the sufficiency of second-degree bodies, with indirect choice of metropolitan rulers and mainly planning powers and the third, more recently developed, emphasizes coordination between all administrative levels , even giving the State Administration a presence in the metropolitan governing bodies, where this is suitable for the proper provision of the services.


2.- The metropolitan events in Spain


In accordance with the population concentration above or close to one million inhabitants can be observed in Spain up to a total of six metropolitan agglomerations: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Malaga and Bilbao.


Of these was Valencia the first to create a metropolitan administration (1946) that has now been eliminated (1999) and replaced by Supramunicipal Entities operating in the fields of transport, water and waste.


On the other hand, both in the Basque Country and in Andalusia the competences that could be developed by the metropolitan administrations have been absorbed by the Provincial Councils in the first case and by the Autonomous Administration in the second.


The case of Madrid is peculiar insofar as after annexing 13 municipalities around it, the municipality of Madrid gathers half of the POPULATION of the CAM.  Being a Uniprovincial Community and for the above reason, there are only two administrative levels, the municipal and the autonomous, both being direct choice.


Only Barcelona has maintained, not without accidents, a metropolitan reality with metropolitan governing bodies being, for that reason, an exceptional case.


3.- The specificity of Barcelona


The first metropolitan management body was created with the group of 26 municipalities under the presidency of Enric Masó in 1974. The BARCELONA METROPOLITAN CORPORATION (CMB) was born as a local administrative body, but assuming not only planning functions but providing services.


Two substantial contributions from the WBC were the development of a General Metropolitan Urban Planning Plan and a Metropolitan Sanitation Plan. 

Despite being a body with poorly defined competences and second-degree choice, the WBC has overcome the democratic transition and remained with a remarkable level of effectiveness and without political or social dissent throughout the first municipal legislature.


It was throughout the second legislature that the conception of a mayor with a strong personality, such as Pascual Maragall, clashed with the no less strong personality of the President of the Generalitat, Jordi Pujol. The clash of personalities was also a clash of political conceptions insofar as PSC-PSOE ruled in most of the WBC City Councils while CiU did so in the Generalitat and, in our opinion, it resulted in a clash of projects for Barcelona. 


By Law 7/1987 most CiU in the Parliament of Catalonia sought to resolve the clash by abolishing the WBC and attributing the planning powers to the Generalitat de Catalunya. The Law was an institutional change, but it did not change reality or therefore eliminated the need for coordination in the field of Barcelona conurbation. 


Already in 1988 the MANCOMUNITY OF MUNICIPIOS OF THE METROPOLITAN AREA OF BARCELONA (MMAMB) was created that initially hosted 23 municipalities, but which by virtue of successive incorporations came to group up to 31 municipalities, almost all of the first crown of Barcelona. 


Law 7/1987 intended to define as metropolitan territory for planning purposes the counties of Barcelonés, Baix Llobregat, maresme, Vallés Occidental and Vallés Oriental (art. 3.a), but simultaneously created the METROPOLITAN ENTITY OF TRANSPORT with 18 municipalities and the METROPOLITAN ENTITY OF HYDRAULIC SERVICES AND TREATMENT OF RESIDUOS that grouped 32 municipalities. 


4.- Institutional rethink


In order to assess the intention and effect of Law 7/1987, it seems essential to reread the second paragraph from its explanatory statement in the light of what subsequently happened. It reads like this:


"To adequately address this issue, a reflection on the metropolitan phenomenon is necessary, which must go beyond a restricted view to a particular organizational formula. As other experiences show, there is no single model of administrative organization to recognize a reality with peculiar characteristics and of the territorial organization of each country we must find the formula that offers greater coherence and rationality, articulated with the current political coordinates". 


It seems that in this case the decisive factor was not the search for greater rationality, but "the current political coordinates" that forced the replacement of a weakly institutionalized model, by no institutionalization at all. 


The path to overcome this situation was born of the municipal corporations themselves affected and thus promoted by the Mayor of Barcelona Joan Clos was approved the First Metropolitan Strategic Plan (2003) while constituting a Consortium between the MMAMB and the two Transport, Water and Waste Management Entities to which we have referred. This consortium comprised 36 municipalities that were also those within the scope of the Strategic Plan and that after the adoption of Law 31/2010 make up the now-restored METROPOLITAN AREA OF BARCELONA. 


5.- The current situation and the future


When restoring the institutions of metropolitan government, the Parliament of Catalonia was able to take as a reference what the Law itself calls REGIO I, and this would have meant grouping up to 164 municipalities belonging to 7 counties and with a population of more than 5 million inhabitants. 


It did not do so and preferred to take as a basis the 36 municipalities that constituted the scope of the Strategic Plan. It is a territory with common needs and characteristics and is suitable as a territorial area for the provision of services and for the management of metropolitan infrastructure.


We cannot regard the currently existing WBA as a true Metropolitan Government because it lacks exclusive powers, because of its insufficient resources, for leaving the municipalities to perform some functions that should be performed at the metropolitan level and, finally, because being an administration with indirect choice of its governing bodies has a weak democratic legitimacy. 


It is, however, preferable to the situation created by the 1987 Act and is a good basis from which to build the future. 



  1. Different legislative levels


The Global City, the metropolis capable of networking with other cities that combine science, technology, culture, art, quality of life and tourist attraction is today, indisputably the center of wealth creation and the impulse of knowledge.


This global city or rather that network of global cities live within the administrative framework forged by the State of which they are part, a framework that should be designed to promote their orderly development, correcting at the same time the new problems that this development is posing. 


However, sometimes the territorial organization of the State becomes a drag on growth and severely affects the future of large cities by failing to adequately respond to their specific challenges and challenges.


In our case, the territorial organization of the State is formed on the basis of a triple organic and normative level constituted respectively by the State, the Autonomous Communities (CCAA) and local entities, thus giving rise to a composite or complex State in which the local regime is the result of a double legality under the guarantee of the Constitution as a supreme rule that obliges all areas of the Administration of the State.


The planning of the territory that the E.C. based on the CCAAs, Provinces and Municipalities (Art. 127 CE). 


This initial configuration must necessarily relate to the powers conferred on the State in the field of "bases of the legal regime of the Public Administrations" (Art. 149.1.18a A.E.) and those attributed to the CCAAs on Local Corporations, to the extent provided for by local legislation (Art. 148.1.2a), a rule to be supplemented by the possibility afforded to the CCAAs to establish their own territorial constituencies with full legal personality through the grouping of neighbouring municipalities. (Art. 152.3 E.C.).


The State has developed the powers conferred by the E.C. Law 7/1985 of April 2, Regulating The Local Regime Bases (LRBRL). 


The Generalitat de Catalunya collected it in the first version of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia (Art. 5 EAC).


Thus, to the territorial authorities initially listed in the C.E., the region was added, the possibility of the CCAAs creating supra-regional demarcations, groupings based on urban and metropolitan events as well as others that could be formed on a functional and specific purpose basis (Art. 3 LRBL and Art. 5 EAC).


To this organizational multiplicity should be added the consideration that is transcribed from the LBRL Explanatory Memorandum:


"… with a few exceptions, the subjects that can be attributed in their entirety to the exclusive interest of local corporations are rare; logically, there are also rare ones in which there is no local interest at stake."


The Global City formed by metropolitan conurbation falls within all overlapping levels of the Territorial or Functional Administration, each of which exercises shared or concurrent competences with those attributed to the remaining ones. 


  1. Territorial Administration in our system


The resulting complexity could be tempered as a result of the principle of autonomy that the Constitution recognizes to all Territorial Administrations and because the principles proclaiming state and regional legislation are common:


In the formulation of State law these principles are: decentralization, proximity, efficiency, efficiency, budgetary stability and financial sustainability (Art. 2 LBRL). In general terms, the autonomous legislation subscribes them in its entirety. 


Common principles do not, however, guarantee equivalent regulations or homogeneous interpretations of those principles. 


State legislation strictly follows the C.E. and therefore defines the Province as a local administration constituted by the grouping of municipalities and, simultaneously, as the territorial demarcation for the fulfillment of the purposes of the State (Art. 141.1 E.C.). Consequently, the alteration of provincial boundaries must be approved by the General Courts by Organic Law. 


Functionally the Diputación is set up as a supporting body for municipalities and especially those with a population of less than 20,000 inhabitants (Art. 26.2 LBRL). 


Following the adoption of the 2006 EAC, the situation in Catalonia is different, at least at the legislative level, but not in the field of administrative reality. 


The EAC begins by defining the basic territorial organization based on the municipality and the Veguería (Art. 83.1 EAC) to immediately add the region. (Art. 83.2 EAC). 


The Veguería is set up as a local cooperation body and as a territorial division adopted for the provision of services of the Generalitat (Art. 90 EAC). The intention of the regional legislator is to replace the Province with the Veguería and expressly declares it:


"The Vegueria Councils replace the Councils." (Art. 91.3)


In its current configuration, the veguerías imply alteration of provincial boundaries and consequently their implementation requires an Organic Law (Art. 91.4 EAC).


Less differentiation exists between state and regional legislation as it refers to counties.


State law merely recognizes the competence of the CCAAs in this area, merely providing that their existence may not result in the loss of municipal powers in the field of compulsory services or the total exclusion of participation in the rest of their legally recognized competences. (Art. 42.1 and 4 LBRL).


For its part, regional legislation merely states that they are bodies of inter-municipal cooperation. (Art. 92 EAC).


 Finally, it is necessary to refer to the METROPOLITAN AREAS defined in state legislation as:


"… Local entities composed of the Municipalities of large urban agglomerations among whose population centres there are economic and social links that make it necessary to joint planning and coordinate certain services and works". (Art. 43.2 LBRL).


Its creation, modification and deletion corresponds to the CCAAs in accordance with their respective Statutes, as well as the determination of competences and resources of the Metropolitan Areas (Art. 43.3. LBRL).


 For its part, the autonomous legislation has fully assumed that competence which is recognised as exclusive not only in the LBRL but by support in the EC itself in accordance with the literal interpretation of Article 152 thereon.


  1. Present and future of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area


From this perspective, It is necessary to analyze Law 31/2010 of 3 August establishing the METROPOLITAN AREA OF BARCELONA (AMB), understood as a local supramunicipal body of a territorial nature composed of the municipalities of the conurbanization of Barcelona among which there are economic and social links that make it necessary the planning of public policies and the implementation of services together (Art. 1.2 LAMB).


 In fact, the AMB was born to assume the competences exercised by the Metropolitan Transport Entity and the Metropolitan Entity of Hydraulic Services and Waste Treatment as well as the Commonwealth of Municipalities.


However, the competences legally conferred on the AMB are broader and extend to the following areas:


            1. Land management, urban planning and housing, including land management for affordable housing. 


            1. Transport that runs entirely in the AMB as well as urban collective transport on the surface and underground, taxi and metropolitan plan of urban mobility.


            1.  Waters including home supply, high sanitation and wastewater purification, as well as cooperation with municipalities for low sanitation. 


            1.  Waste including its treatment and coordination of municipal services. 


            1.  Formulation and implementation of environmental management policies and the management of renewable energy facilities.


            1.  Actions in infrastructures of metropolitan interest, including those necessary for the vertebration of the territory, connectivity, mobility and functionality. 


            1. Promotion of Economic Activity and promotion of business, industry and trade, services and tourism resources.


Specifically, it should promote a Metropolitan Plan for Modernization, Research and Innovation.


            1. Promote social cohesion, improving the living conditions of citizens.


Two observations are necessary in competition matters.


The first relates to the possible extension of these powers by delegation of the municipalities that comprise it (Art. 13.1 LAMB) of the Generalitat de Catalunya or other supramunicipal entes (Art. 13.5 LAMB) and even of the State to the extent that this contributes to administrative rationalization. (Art. 27 LRBL).


The second concerns the orientation that the Act gives to the AMB as a second-degree local administration in which the essential is not so much to meet the needs of citizens but to …"meet the needs and aspirations of the municipalities that make up it…". (Art. 13.2 LAMB).  


 Another aspect that is appropriate to analyze is the territorial extension that the Law gives to the AMB, an extension comprising 36 municipalities that the Law lists (Art. 2.1. LAMB), but which can be extended by law of the Parliament of Catalonia provided that there is territorial continuity. (Art. 2.2. LAMB).


The current territorial area of the AMB does not correspond to the extension of Barcelona understood as a global city. The conurbanization of Barcelona extends in all directions beyond the legally fixed demarcation.


However, before proposing an amendment to Law 31/2010, it seems appropriate to undertake a process of strengthening its administrative bodies, improving its funding and streamlining it. Only at the cost of this task will make sense to accommodate the legal framework to the imperatives of social, civic and economic reality. 


Despite this, it seems inevitable to begin without further delay the analysis of the lines that should be followed by a process of administrative rationalization that would allow the AMB to be attributed the functions and capabilities that global cities have in other environments. In this sense, it is forced to consider that the legal framework in which the Government of Barcelona is developed and its metropolitan environment is uniquely complex being configured by the following laws:


  1. The Special Law of Barcelona.
  2. The legislation of the Parliament of Catalonia, including the LRL and LAMB.
  3. The State Local Regime Bases Act.
  4. The Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia.
  5. The Spanish Constitution.


A plurality of laws that are often inspired by mismatched principles or maintain different conceptions of common assumptions, as is the case with the principle of autonomy of local corporations, a principle formulated in all the laws set out, but not always respected by them.


The need and even urgency of this process of administrative rationalization should be evident with the simple examination of the entities that share government functions on the city of Barcelona and its metropolitan area.


  1. The City Council of Barcelona and the Town Halls of each of the municipalities that make up the metropolitan conglomerate.


  1. The region of Barcelonés composed of the municipalities of Barcelona, Hospitalet de Llobregat, Badalona, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, San Adriá del Besós. 


  1. The Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.


  1. Veguería I contemplated in the EAC as an alternative territorial entity to provincial councils.


  1. The Provincial Council of Barcelona.


  1. The Generalitat de Catalunya. 


  1. The State in its multiple function of Central, Territorial and Decentralized Administration. 


In the framework of this analysis we must highlight the attendance of up to three second-degree local administrations, operating over the metropolitan territory: the counties, the AMB and the Provincial Council of Barcelona.


 The survival of three second-degree local administrations would not, in our view, make sense, in any case, but much less when operating over a metropolitan complex that requires a unit of criteria for planning and organisation of metropolitan services and infrastructure management.


 The current situation is particularly dysfunctional as far as the counties are concerned. On the territory of the AMB the region of Barcelonés exercises competences, but also of the Baix Llobregat, the Vallés Occidental and the Maresme. We understand that the counties whose territory falls entirely within the metropolitan field should be dissolved, at least as administrative bodies, by passing their powers to be exercised by the AMB.


In cases where only part of the regional demarcation falls within the territory of the WBA (and as long as that circumstance is maintained) the powers over the municipalities concerned could be delegated to the WBA under art. 13.5 LAMB.


 On the other hand, any project to make the Administration of Metropolitan Barcelona more effective, more rational and closer to its citizens requires the improvement of democratic quality in the procedures of choosing its governing bodies, managing its services and transparency and citizen participation. 


We do not intend to analyse the reasons for the low level of public confidence in public administrations, but to focus on the problems presented by metropolitan governance begun by stating that the current Metropolitan Administration is the great unknown to the citizens of Barcelona's conurbanization.


Good governance in a metropolitan area must have as a centre of gravity the citizen and propose to meet their needs with maximum efficiency and transparency, but also by seeking proximity. All this requires the direct election of the governing bodies and in particular of their President and the Metropolitan Council regulated today in the Arts. 5 and 6 of LAMB through indirect choice procedures: Art. 7 LAMB. 


 The maintenance of the Mayors of the municipalities of the AMB as natural members of the Metropolitan Council and the strengthening of coordination and citizen participation mechanisms should ensure respect for the principle of autonomy and subsidiarity while ensuring greater identification of the citizen with administration, greater transparency and improvement of democratic quality. 


Only in this way can the metropolitan administration be required to define and lead a multicultural and inclusive Global City project, understood as a country project, at the service of its citizens and open to collaboration in the European framework and beyond the E.U., in its capacity as capital of the UNION FOR THE MEDITERRANEAN and its vocation as a Global City. 




1.- Conditions for sustainable growth


No growth is sustainable if it is unable to correct the imbalances it causes. Economic globalization causes imbalances that seem relevant at least in the political, social and environmental realm, as well as specifically economic ones. 


Several warning signs have appeared in the political arena such as the unstoppable growth of populism, the rise of nationalisms or indiscriminate movements against immigration. They all seem relevant as threats to growth, individual freedom and democracy, but they overwhelm the scope of this work. 


Something similar happens with environmental imbalances, a terrain in which climate change deniers are increasingly struggling to explain the growing number of extreme weather events. 


This undoubtedly affects the future of the Global City insofar as they impact the entire "Earth ship".


The imbalances to which we have referred, as well as economic imbalances, can make a just, inclusive and cohesive society unworkable, but they clearly exceed its cause, development and remedies to the metropolitan area. 


The same is not true of social imbalances. The tendency of the world's population to move towards megacities makes them more evident the risk of social exclusion and therefore requires solutions in the metropolitan area.


2.- The magnitude of the problem 


When we try to measure the impact of the economic crisis triggered in 2008, it becomes mandatory to record that, even now, when we are overcoming its negative effects, 25% of the population of Catalonia is at risk of social exclusion according to Eurostat criteria. That percentage reached almost 30% in 2011 deep in the crisis, but even now the percentage is very high and is a reflection of changes in the labour market, changes in the family structure and the inadequacy of the welfare state to meet new and growing needs. 


According to the results of the implementation of the European Strategy 2020, our society bears, in addition to the high unemployment rate, a new phenomenon, which is the risk of poverty for occupied workers, a risk that reached in 12.7% of jobs in 2011. 


In Catalonia, before the crisis, 25,000 people lived in households without fixed income, now the figure is 225,000 according to data from the Bureau of the Third Sector.


Up to 30,000 people receive the Minimum Insertion Income whose benefits extend to another 45,000 additional people dependent on the former. The amount of the MRI ranges from a minimum of 423 euros to a maximum of 648 euros per month for family units of 4 members or more.


The implementation of the Guaranteed Citizenship Income is still in the early stages that we owe to a Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) and that encrypts the Adequacy Income at 569.12 .


It is in this context that we must structure social assistance policy, forgetting the old criticism that it does not solve the problem and is only a poor remedy to injustice. Such criticism always comes from those who are not in situations of social exclusion or extreme poverty. It is the latter, however, that must concern us. 


3.- A social policy at the metropolitan level


Faced with the risk of social exclusion that is so intensely manifested among us, the Public Administrations respond with insufficient resources, with uncoordination of their efforts and with programmes full of administrative complexities that detract from their effectiveness. 


The Deputy Mayor of Barcelona City Council, Laia Ortiz, declared 15-5-2018 that despite the increase in the number of places to accommodate homeless people (a total of 1343 in Barcelona) these were insufficient because "more than half of the people served in them are not from Barcelona" and that in the rest of the metropolitan area those resources are "almost non-existent". Laia Ortíz itself, on 10-08-2018 required the Generalitat to become more effective and transparent in its role of assessing the degree of dependence of applicants, when the care later is municipal competence.


It does not seem reasonable to maintain this dysfunctional duality and not to concentrate welfare policies in the Metropolitan Administration. If we want an inclusive and inclusive Global City, we must place all the resources under one Administration.


4.- Specific housing reference


Even clearer is the situation when it comes to social housing. The newspaper El País published on 25-06-2018 that the volume of social housing built in Spain has returned to levels of the 50s, which places us in the last place of the E.U.


To this shortfall it must be added that the price of housing in Barcelona rose by 20% in 2017 and continues to rise unstoppably. Faced with this situation, the Municipal Government of Barcelona promised 4,000 affordable rental housing in this legislature, but has actually built 557 to which 325 will be added in progress and 243 already tendered. A long way from a target that wasn't even enough.


It is of little use to draft a "Plan for the Right to Housing of Barcelona 2016-2025" that goes to continue the First Plan 2004-2008 and the second 2008-2016 that was set around the "Housing Consortium" participated by the Generalitat and the City Council.


The new Plan does not seem any better or more likely to comply than the previous ones and this is because it has an impact on the same error.


A polycentric metropolitan Barcelona requires a design of social housing policy comprising the 36 municipalities that make up it. Only in this way will resources be applied effectively, maximizing the number of social housing built. We have town halls with availability of land and without resources and others with resources but with insufficient soil. Providing resources to the latter makes costing more expensive, the number of units built, and is contrary to the policy of polycentrality. 


5.- Rejuvenate the population


We have seen in recent years how the average age of the metropolitan population increases and there is general consensus on the threat to the maintenance of the welfare state and social policies.


It is already essential to articulate policies of rejuvenation of the population and this from a double aspect: creating a socio-economic environment that attracts young people by creating employment opportunities and promoting maternity support policies. This is a responsibility shared by all levels of the Public Administration, but that also has, or should have, a metropolitan component focused on assisted childcare.


It is an action that should be aimed at making a younger motherhood possible and does not involve a cost or simply the exclusion of the labour market for women, so it must be framed among gender policies.


In this case too, the municipal conception of the service detracts from the effectiveness of the resources used both human and economic, and must be returned to the metropolitan area.


6.- Effective management of public spaces


The smaller the surface and quality of the private space available to a citizen, the greater its need for access and enjoyment of public space.


However, the public space management model does not prioritize free, direct and convenient access for citizens.


Half of the metropolitan territory are protected areas (300 km2) and public administrations have thousands of square meters intended for equipment as a result of compulsory assignments under urban planning regulations.


The first principle in the management of a public service is that it effectively serves its purpose. It does not seem reasonable to increase the municipal heritage of the land with the link to the use as "equipment", it should be possible to use flexible use that meets the real needs of the population and allows the citizen to use these spaces.


We live in a metropolis with an enviable climate, but in which installing a terrace on the sidewalk is little less than impossible, in which walking in certain areas involves circumventing centens of "blankets" and avoiding mobile gadgets of increasing sophistication and in equal numbers. 


To return the city to the citizen is to make it safer, more accessible, more comfortable; we do not need more public administration, we need it to be more effective and for the management of each service to be done at the territorial level that gives maximum efficiency to the resources used.



1.- Permanently metropolitan services


Public transport, water sanitation and waste management are services that have always been provided at the metropolitan level. Another territorial approach would not make sense and therefore when the Law on Territorial Planning dissolved in 1987 the WBC simultaneously created the Metropolitan Transport Entity and the Metropolitan Environmental Entity.


For this reason, when the Metropolitan Administration was restored in 2010 in its current form, it encountered highly qualified and experienced technical teams in all those fields. Deficits may exist due to the growth of needs or the deep crisis that has shaken us to the ground, there may be errors in the design of the most convenient or efficient solutions at all times, but when that happens it is more the consequence of the governance deficits already pointed out than of the actions of the metropolitan technical teams.


Thinking in metropolitan terms is something our technicians already do by virtue of their training, responsibility and experience. It is only necessary to equip them with the institutions with the capacity to decide and lead and with the competence, means and legitimacy to do so. Today is the deficit that conditions the future of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona.


2.- Rethinking Public Transport based on technological advances 


Every two years the International Public Transport Union (UITP) holds an international conference. Its last meeting took place in Montreal, Canada, in May 2017 and it was now clear that we are in a period of rapid and profound technological transition, not only in terms of public transport but in the broader field of intercity and urban mobility. 


Clean technologies without polluting emissions and without noise pollution are already an economically cost-effective reality and essential in terms of sustainability. The basis of these technologies at the present time is electric motors, but even that cannot be seen as anything that is not subject to change in the immediate future.


This requires rethinking urban design based on technological advances, avoiding rigid infrastructures, installation and maintenance faces that can be a very short-term drag, but also requires attention to the new individual means of transport that are invading the spaces reserved for pedestrians.


When we think of returning the street, public space, to the citizen, we must bear in mind that we are facing a citizen who is moving, increasingly and with ever longer displacements, as the metropolis becomes more polycentric and also moving in different directions as a result of the dispersal of places of residence and workplaces and the disconnection between each other.


A good part of this journey is already done by public transport, reaching 682 million journeys during 2017. It is certainly an impressive figure, but it represents only 30% of the movements in the city of Barcelona and 20% in the WBA, percentages that must necessarily grow in an orderly and sustainable way. 

On the other hand, the emergence of self-driving vehicles will profoundly affect mobility in the context of digital disruption. New models will be needed to enable the sustainability of the global transport and mobility system in a context of energy efficiency. 


3.- Towards a genuine Metropolitan Transport Authority 


The Metropolitan Transport Authority is a consorcial administration created in 1997 and in which the Generalitat de Catalunya represents 51% and the whole of local administrations conorcaosed 49%. Among these Local Authorities is the AMB and a group of municipalities of Alt Penedés, Baix Llobregat, Barcelonés, Garraf, Maresme, Vallés Occidental and Vallés Oriental. A territory that even exceeds the territorial scope of REGIÓ I. 


Meetings of THE GOVERNing Bodies of the ATM are attended as observant representatives of the General Administration of the State (AGE), although their presence has declined significantly in recent years. 


It is absolutely essential to increase the decision-making capacity of the ATM and to improve the channels of participation of all the administrations concerned and the resources available to them. Only in this way will the commuter railways be able to coordinate effectively with the Generalitat and Metro network, overcoming the inadequacies we suffer today and the saturation of the tunnel system. 


Technical reports prepared by all administrations agree to the growing mismatch between demand and supply, the exchanger deficit and inconsistent investment decisions. In short, there is a lack of an integrated model of mobility that can be included in all economic, environmental, social and urban policies that are developed in the territory of Metropolitan Barcelona. 


The functional inadequacy of the current management system results in numerous problems affecting growing sectors of the population on a daily basis. Without the intention of being exhaustive, we will highlight the following:


  1. Law 9/2003 of 13 June of the Parliament of Catalonia defined objectives and instruments to rationalize access to the POLYGONS of Economic Activity (PAEs). Fifteen years after the adoption of the Act, these accesses remain particularly conflicting points on mobility, a problem no less in a territory that is defined as the main logistical "hub" of the Western Mediterranean. 


  1. The management of public transport in the urban environment of the regulation of mobility in its streets must be compatible with the use of private means of transport of increasing sophistication and must ensure the safety and comfort of the pedestrian under the basic principle that no mobile with wheels, used as a means of individual transport, can share with the pedestrian the sidewalk space. 


  1.  Efficient management involves rigorous investment control. A system that allows Metro Line 9 to have reached, far from completion, an expenditure volume of EUR 17 billion when its budget was less than EUR 2.6 billion cannot be considered satisfactory. 


Good metropolitan governance calls for a Transport Authority with the capacity to decide: to set priorities, but also to control the execution of the projects it develops. 

4.- Water and Waste 


Analyzing the management of the Water and Waste Cycle reinforces the idea that a Single Authority for the management of these services located at the Metropolitan level is a condition for the efficient provision of them. 


In both cases, water and waste, the WBA's action is decisive and the level of coordination with other concurrent administrations seems sufficient, perhaps because they are services that directly affect the life of the citizen and whose lack produces a high level of unluckyness. 


This explains why more than 124 million m3 of drinking water could be supplied to the nearly 1.5 million subscribers in the territory of the AMB in 2017. This huge amount of water has been treated in the 12 Drinking Water treatment stations of which, however, the two most important (Abrera and Cardedeu) are outside the territory of the WBA and transported to the consumption sites under the technical control of the AMB in collaboration with various private companies.


The AMB's competence also extends effectively to water sanitation in close cooperation with municipal sewage services. This has allowed more than 265 million m3 of wastewater to be treated during 2017, of which a small part has been reused (5.3 million m3). It is in this area that the three operational water regeneration stations in the territory of the AMB (Gavá, Viladecans, Sant Feliu de Llobregat and the Prat de Llobregat) seem insufficient for the future, considering the growth of demand and the difficulty to increase the catchments.


Also in terms of waste, the level of cooperation between the AMB and the 36 Municipal Corporations that make up it seems adequate and able to guarantee (in general terms) the selective treatment and recovery of usable materials through recycling. The Metropolitan Programme 2017-2015 must ensure the treatment of 100% of the waste generated in the territory and the recycling of at least 50% of that waste.


A Council involving the Local Authorities involved, together with experts and technicians, under the coordination of the AMB has proven their effectiveness in this area and should become the model to be followed in other areas.


5.- Environmental protection and sustainability


Only a part of the inhabitants of the WBA lived in 1968 how much BUCKMINSTER FULLER published its "Manual of Operations for the Spacecraft Earth": but its conception of the planet as a ship traveling in space with some passengers has been the basis of all the conservationist theories developed later. Today we are more aware that the ship we are traveling on is extremely fragile and that we all have a responsibility to take care of it.


The global city network has a threefold challenge in this area:


  1. Minimize the emission of contaminants, eliminating non-biodegradable products. 


  1. Recover the damage already caused to our habitat through special plans to protect natural spaces.


  1. Efficiently execute the energy transition process.


These are areas where macrocities create a good part of the problem, but where they are able to provide an important part of the solution. They are also areas where collaboration between Administrations is fundamental and in which the AMB has legally recognized competences that require greater planning, management and control capacity and also greater economic resources. 




1.- Important capabilities and major challenges 


The metropolis Barcelona is the only city in Europe that concentrates in a short radius, an international airport that has moved 47.2 million passengers in 2017, a major port through which 56.2 million tm of goods have traveled also in 2017 and a high-speed train connected to the European network. All this makes the AMB a leading logistics centre at European level.


These infrastructures are the result of intensive and fruitful cooperation between the Central Administration, the Generalitat and the local authorities concerned, including the AMB. This cooperation has resented, in recent years, as a result of the increase in political conflict in Catalonia, but especially because of the lack of capacity of the Government of the Generalitat to deal with the problems of the real economy and its excessive concentration in the construction of "state structures".  With little or no impact on troubleshooting or sorting the future. This lack of cooperation is especially regrettable in an increasingly competitive world and where every missed opportunity is a train that does not pass a second time. 


As we succinctly raised in this analysis, whether the capabilities of The Metropolitan Barcelona are important, so are the challenges that it must face without delay. 


2.– Barcelona's Airport Hub 


The management of Barcelona – El Prat airport depends on AENA with the collaboration of an airport cooperation council that is not considered a Governing Body. This centralized management model has not been an obstacle to its proper functioning. Correct management placed it second in Spain and the sixth of the entire E.U. 


The Master Plan for Barcelona-El Prat Airport (2017-2026) calls for the construction of a new satellite terminal connected to Girona Airport by high-speed rail. This new infrastructure would place the passenger roof that can use its facilities at 70 million/year, well above the current roof estimated at 55 million passengers/year. 


In our view, however, these initiatives do not eliminate the need for a fourth runway if long-term competitiveness is to be maintained. 


On the other hand, the entire area near the airport is in the process of transformation according to the "Master Real Estate Plan of Barcelona-El Prat Airport", a project that has been highly valued at European level and that will allow to establish a business and logistics complex and an area of economic development linked to airport activity and innovative companies (industry 4.0). 


Although the centralized management system has been successful in this case, we understand the creation of a specific management body with the participation of the AMB.


3.- The port of Barcelona 


Barcelona has one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean because of the volume of container traffic, it is the first port of the Spanish Mediterranean because of the value of the goods that transit it and has become the first cruise port in Europe and the fourth in the world. The connection of the Port with the Free Zone and the Pedrosa Industrial Polygon is one of the most important industrial and logistics parks in Southern Europe. 


The Port Board is a model of cooperation between interested public administrations and business and trade union organizations. 


However, the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce (ASCAME) notes that maritime traffic circulating in the Mediterranean is a flow between South Asia and the Ports of Northern Europe. Only 23% of goods in the Mediterranean are landed at Mediterranean Ports, 77% follow Gibraltar and/or Suez to their destinations. 


Competing for a larger share of this maritime traffic requires improving the Port-Airport-Railway connection, thus creating the conditions of profitability for the land movement of goods, a purpose that presupposes a significant increase in the land movement of goods used by the railway, reducing the use of trucks except for short distances.


Only from a Metropolitan view of these problems can their solution be made possible. 


4.- The Mediterranean Corridor


The implementation of the "Mediterranean Corridor" is essential to maintain competitiveness and increase the social cohesion of the entire Spanish Mediterranean side: Andalusia, Murcia, the Valencian Community and Catalonia account for about 50% of Spanish GDP, 55% of its industrial production and 60% of Spanish exports to the E.U.


It is not only a question of facilitating passenger traffic but of connecting ports, logistics nodes and industrial centres, increasing the volume of goods transported by rail can be a significant competitive advantage in the immediate future and is a complementary objective to the previously mentioned objective of attracting international maritime traffic from Mediterranean Ports. In 2017 only 5% of goods are transported in Spain by rail, the Mediterranean axis could raise that percentage to 15%, approaching the European average and thus significantly decreasing the volume of CO2 emissions. 


It is not a defined target with metropolitan, autonomous, or state optics. It is a defined goal with European optics. The Mediterranean Corridor would allow to connect (via Trans European Network Railways) Algeciras with Stockholm with a route of 3,500 km that would connect 250 million citizens of the E.U., more than 50% of its population and more than 66% of the GDP of the E.E.


There is no doubt, then, that we are also here, facing a project that requires collaboration between all the public administrations concerned, a collaboration that does not seem conceivable from confrontation or mutual disdain. 




1.- The future is not written


This work is not intended to be a complete catalogue of potentialities, capabilities and needs of the "real" city Barcelona which is, in the opinion shared by all experts and declared by all politicians, the Barcelona Metropolitan. 


The Associations, people and entities that have collaborated in multiple sectoral or global meetings and that have contributed to their implementation and drafting have only sought to draw attention to an administrative level, the Metropolitan, which has been the great forgotten in the whole of Spain and, as we have seen, the lesser known and worst treated in Catalonia. This situation powerfully draws attention to a global world that is increasingly configured as a network of megacities that generate innovation, ideas, projects and thus become on their way to the future. 


A future that is certainly not written. It's not for anyone. Not for us, either. 


We have not always been a rich territory or society compared to other territories or societies around us, we have alternated periods of prosperity with others of decline. We cannot consider it obvious and unquestionable that our current relative wealth will be preserved eternally. We know that good governance is a necessary condition for following the path of success, but we also know that a deficit in such governance can lead to economic decline and social disaster.


We lost, against all odds the new headquarters of the EMA, we have gone from 8th to 15th place in the evaluation rate of cities, we read continuously in the local press that hotel overnight stays in Catalonia have gone down or the turnover in the restoration. They are warning signs and most likely all those signals together set a trend; we consider, however, that this trend can be reversed and that Barcelona, the "real" city that is at the same time the global metropolis can once again be a project of the future exciting.


We will not achieve this without improving our governance, without strengthening the WBA Administration, without returning all administrations to the path of cooperation with inevitably shared powers, without further citizen participation. We will not achieve this without a zero tolerance system with corruption, without greater transparency or without greater resources applied to policies of equality and social solidarity. We will not achieve this in improving the quality of our democracy and without further legal certainty.


2.- What future do we want to build?


Precisely because it is not written we have the possibility and responsibility to decide what future we want to build for the "real" Barcelona, for the "real" citizens who inhabit it, who live in the metropolitan space of Barcelona.


And surely, because we live in freedom and in a democratic system, that project of the future will not be unique or shared by all. It is legitimate to think of Metropolis Barcelona as a battering ram against a state, it is legitimate to consider it as a lever to build an alternative state, but in our opinion those projects conceive Barcelona as an instrument. It may be legitimate, but it has a cost at present and a much more important cost in terms of opportunity cost for the future. 


This work has been done for another purpose, with another plan for the future of Metropolis Barcelona, in which the aspiration to live reasonably happy is more than a chimera and in which to make possible such reasonable happiness is the obligatory aspiration of the AMB Rulers, the municipalities that make up it and the Administrations of the Generalitat and the State with which we share competences and capacities.


We live in a time when the possibility of un polluting and sufficient energy has become real, in which health sciences advance day by day, in which new non-polluting collective and individual means of transport are continuously developed and we live also and fundamentally, in a world in which talent and creativity have become the main creators of wealth.


We have seen that we have the conditions to do this, we want to make a small contribution that stimulates the volunjtad of bringing the project to fruite.


3.- The economics of talent, the path to success.


85% of AMB employees work in the services sector; but according to data from the AMB itself, only 11% do so in the creative economy.


During the crisis, new business models based on digital innovation and the use of Information and Communication Techniques (ICTs) have been developed that allow high volumes of business and access to distant markets with small structures. We share with London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam the leadership of digital start-ups. 


The new headquarters of The Barcelona Tech City in the Palau de Mar, the 22nd District and the research centers associated with the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) are a very positive contribution to the development of these activities, as is the Horizon 2020 Programme in the area of biomedicine. 


We know how to do it and yet we often play with provocation and with the unthink questioning whether or not it is interesting to keep the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, blocking the opening of luxury hotels, while claiming to improve the quality of tourism, crippling the installation of a subsidiary of the Museum "Hermitage" while wanting to intensify the cultural life of Barcelona. Attracting talent involves removing administrative barriers and using the resources of public administrations to facilitate wealth-generating activity.


One area where a positive attitude of the Administration is essential is tourism.  Perhaps some of our rulers have forgotten that tourism is a relatively old phenomenon in some areas of Catalonia, but very recent in the city of Barcelona and even more so in the rest of the metropolitan territory. However today the AMB receives more than 10 million tourists a year, 2.7 million of them cruisers. The sector accounts for 120,000 direct workers who serve 30 million overnight stays per year and account for 12% of GDP.


We may consider that these jobs are not, for the most part highly qualified, but eliminating many of them can lose everything, losing what little they have. We can consider that tourism has costs or that it is necessary to improve the quality of our tourism, but administrative obstacles will not solve that problem and are creating a recessionary trend. 


The global city is a multi-sectoral, multisectoral multi-sectoral city in which the new economy coexists with traditional sectors and where administrations cooperate and drive rather than combat and slow growth. One of the sectors that seems necessary to enhance is the world of knowledge. We have world-class state-scale centres, but the frame of reference should be much broader. This is a field in which collaboration between administrations is substantial, although areas where this collaboration is most fruitful are often little known. The Aerotron Alba and the Mare Nostrum Supercomputer are clear examples of this. 


In the same sense, special attention is paid to the celebration in Barcelona of the "IoT's World Congress" (The World Congress of the Internet of Things : IoT) on October 16-18, 2018. It is the new economy in its purest form and it is a train that we cannot escape in which the Blockchain of Artificial Intelligence converges and an immense number of innovations brought by the use of the internet in the industry. The Fira de Barcelona continues to show an important capacity to live with progress and is part of the social capital of Ciudad Global Barcelona. 


4.- A hopeful conclusion


With effort and fatigue we have done and remade on multiple occasions the path that leads to the top. With pain and resignations we have fallen in times of economic depression and social regression. We have the resources we have and the ability to use them efficiently.


There is no point in living in the melancholy of what could and was not, nor living a present "sick of the past" with the result of making it impossible to build the future that we desire and that we believe we deserve. 


We live in an open world and in the midst of the information society. Metropolis Barcelona is an agent in the nodal network of cities, but we go out into that open world asking to be looked at, to understand us and to help us rather than to go out to look, to understand and to help, that is, instead of learning. 


From Barcelona Distrito Federal we will continue to work to improve, through concrete proposals, the quality of our governance and the cohesion of our society, offering our fellow citizens a forum for collective reflection that no one excludes. 

Este sitio web utiliza cookies para que usted tenga la mejor experiencia de usuario. Si continúa navegando está dando su consentimiento para la aceptación de las mencionadas cookies y la aceptación de nuestra política de cookies, pinche el enlace para mayor información.plugin cookies

Aviso de cookies