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Poblenou Maker District

Promoting the creation of DSI activities and projects in Barcelona

Initiative promoting the creation of DSI activities and projects in Barcelona. It started in 2016 and it is an on-going project

This case study is part of a report we published in April 2018, exploring how “super nodes” support DSI initiatives to grow and scale. You can read the full report here.

Super node: Barcelona Activa

Issue to be resolved

Cities are facing increasingly complex challenges due to social changes, technological innovation and lack of resources. Already responsible for 75 per cent of the world’s CO2 emissions, urban populations are predicted to continue rising and make up 70 per cent of the global population by 2050. Therefore cities are obliged to do more with less, and because of this, the role of governments must necessarily change.

Implemented solutions

The initiative helps to promote the creation of activities and projects that foster interaction within the local community and the strengthening of reindustrialisation processes in the urban fabric with added-value features, such as the use of cutting-edge technologies for local production, training workers to face new challenges in the workplace in the immediate future and fostering ‘Industry 4.0’.

Poblenou’s Maker District is based on an international perspective of the ‘fab city’, the construction of a new model for cities that makes it possible to reduce their environmental and social footprint through the local production of food, energy and products, and the worldwide exchange of knowledge using the power of the Maker Movement and the global fab-lab network. Barcelona is the world leader in this project.

Role of the super node

The project started with the hosting of a DSI event to launch the local chapter of the network DSI4BCN, with the support of the City Hall. The purpose of this event was to bring together DSI stakeholders and practitioners in Barcelona and beyond, to present the DSI4BCN challenges.

We also created a public policy co-creation event with the community. The conclusions of this co-creation event are being included in the participatory process Repensem [email protected] (we re-think [email protected] district) in order to transform them in real public policies. We faced issues on how to transform the needs detected in the event into realistic policy measures. These issues will be addressed by experts in participatory processes.

We created regular meet-up events to foster the engagement of a community around the project. We faced some issues when trying to engage the community as they are atomized, at least in Barcelona. These issues were solved by involving the community itself in the organization of the meet-ups and by clarifying what are the advantages of taking part of this community (mainly direct communication channel with the City Hall and attendance to aligned major events as a community).


  • The creation of a community of DSI stakeholders and practitioners in the Poblenou district.
  • The capture of the sensitivities of the community regarding the municipal policy making and include them into the participatory processes currently undergoing.
  • The creation of a direct communication channel between the City Hall and the DSI community.

Next steps

  • To make the community lead itself (bottom–up vs. top-down approaches).
  • To monitor the activities and initiatives in which the community is participating and/ or leading.


Creating a community is a complex task. In this case it should be added that the potential members of this community are much more atomized than usual. In general, these members are not clear about the benefits of belonging to the community and therefore do not want to invest the little time they have in it.


Image: Cristina Ruiz



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