Our newest article by Ramon Gras Alomà, published in La Vanguardia and Barcelona Global
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
La Vanguardia and Barcelona Global published an article by Ramon Gras Alomà, Co-founder of Aretian and Harvard Researcher, detailing the opportunities present in Barcelona to align quality urban design with economic activation strategies to unleash the full potential of the worldwide renowned city and its region.
In this article, Ramon Gras Alomà depicts different areas of Barcelona and its region that could host an Innovation District, and where communities have the potential to flourish and thrive by creating innovative environments: the Tres Xemeneies / Badalona, Bon Pastor in Barcelona, Sabadell or Sant Cugat del Vallès. Those areas have been ascertained as having a high potential for innovation and represent golden opportunities to align high-quality urban design and economic activation strategies that would unlock their full latent potential. As a pioneer of the Innovation Districts era, Barcelona has proven to the world that the design and development of Innovation Districts, despite not being a trivial task, is a promise of innovation and economic growth for the entire region.
A note of caution, however, as Barcelona also embodies another very real example of the importance of aligning all objectives with urban planning and economic strategy. Indeed, the first-ever Innovation District (22@) presents some inherent weaknesses linked to issues at its conception, hindering its efficiency and growth even 25 years after its creation: (1) the critical mass of industry sectors aligned with sectors with a comparative advantage in Catalonia is lacking; (2) technology transfer mechanisms are weak and (3) many of the startups that have been established are not knowledge-intensive and contribute to the creation of precarious jobs, rather than giving wings to local talent.
Ramon Gras also compares Barcelona to Boston, where Innovation Districts were planned and developed in the correct manner, thus driving the success of a very innovative environment. Aretian Urban Analytics and Design has the purpose of fostering the conception of Innovation Districts by aligning urban design and economic activation strategies, truly creating sustainable environments for communities and companies altogether.