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Cities and urban development

Find out more about our cities and urban development cluster, led by Barcelona Activa.

European cities face a  number of shared challenges, from transport to healthcare and from pollution to education provision. DSI initiatives have a great potential to tackle these problems. Barcelona Activa is the Economic Development Agency of the city of Barcelona leading the DSI initiatives in the city with the goal to promote economic and local development for a better quality of life for the citizens.


Why this cluster?


There is an almost limitless list of challenges where DSI can have a strong potential by using open technology and open platforms: Democratic engagement, affordability and quality, of housing, loneliness, education for all, diversity and social cohesion, resilient cities, noise pollution, integration of migrants and refugees, inequality , unemployment, and so on. Building an environment which supports DSI is essential, and this is our main goal as a cluster: to spread knowledge about how that environment can be built, and to scale local projects and success stories into an international ecosystem. In a motto: Local solutions, global knowledge.


What is happening in the cluster?


So far, governments have been reactive, largely playing a service provider role in front of a need. Nowadays, in some quarters, this paradigm is changing: local governments are taking a very active role, leveraging conversations with a wide range of stakeholders and citizens. This is a very good chance to boost local networks through DSI. DSI offers disruptive solutions to deep-seated problems and strongly impacting society at the same time. One of the key fields of action is the current digital gap on the society, both in local and global levels. It is important to extend digital inclusion to the majority of citizens.

What we're doing:


Barcelona is widely considered one of the leading cities in Europe, if not the world, for supporting DSI and integrating it into its own city strategies. But we want others to learn from us, and we want to learn from others. By attending events like Pioneers Festival, WeMakeThe.City, the DSI Fair, the Smart City Expo and Maker Faire, we can begin our journey of this cross-city learning. However, we also want to build an informal network of city policymakers to share knowledge and experiences. This is still a work in progress and we want your help in shaping it.


Alongside this, we’re undertaking  research to understand what cities across Europe are doing, which will lead to a map of priorities, projects, applications, tools and learning.

To find out more and to get involved, email [email protected].



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