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Badalona Innovation District Masterplan

Growing job opportunities and strategic industry investment

Badalona Innovation District Masterplan


Aretian worked with the City of Badalona to create an urban and economic development master plan to transform the city into a leading Innovation District. This initiative aimed to revitalize Badalona’s industrial areas by establishing specialized knowledge ecosystems, enhancing infrastructure, and promoting innovation-driven economic growth. The strategic vision encompassed urban design, economic policies, and the establishment of new research and development centers, incubators, and technology transfer hubs.

The Challenge

  • Lack of Critical Mass: Badalona has a significant imbalance between its population (223,000) and available jobs (36,000), with a target of 75,000 jobs for future economic and population sustainability

  • Scattered Industrial and Knowledge Sectors: The city’s industrial and knowledge sectors were spread across four geographic areas. This scattering made creating strong innovation ecosystems and efficient value chains difficult, as the separation hindered collaboration and synergy among businesses and research institutions.

  • Overly Diverse Industry Base: The city’s industrial base is currently too diverse, with 190 different types of business services, 90 categories of export products, and 275 knowledge and innovation fields. This has led to technological stagnation and weakened value chains because resources and expertise are too thinly spread to develop strong, specialized industries.

  • Weak Value Chains: Many industries, especially the media and pharmaceutical sectors, focus on medium-level technology products with low innovation levels.

  • Insufficient Research and Innovation Infrastructure: Limited research centers and a lack of technology transfer hubs and incubators hinder innovation.

Aretian - Badalona Exports

Aretian’s Solution

Aretian provided Badalona with a detailed urban design and economic development strategy, using specific data analyses to guide their recommendations. We employed spatial analysis to map industrial and knowledge sectors, fractal analysis to improve urban density and compactness, and network analysis to enhance city connectivity. Additionally, we used economic complexity and cluster analyses to identify promising sectors and strengthen value chains, encouraging collaboration among businesses and research institutions.

Infrastructure development plans were informed by predictive modeling to forecast economic growth, job creation, and impact assessments to evaluate the benefits of new facilities like research centers and incubators. Aretian also analyzed labor market data to identify skill gaps and ensure a ready workforce. They developed metrics to track progress in innovation and economic impact. These practical, data-driven approaches equipped Badalona with a clear plan to become a leading innovation hub, fostering sustainable urban and economic growth.


  • With the help of Aretian’s plans and analysis, the project has the potential increase Badalona’s innovation intensity to over 35%, significantly enhancing its status as an innovation district.

  • Aretian’s and Badalona’s shared vision will target the creation of approximately 37,500 jobs, with about half being innovation-intensive, potentially doubling the municipal GDP from €4.25 billion to €8.75 billion.

Aretian Badalona Urban Development Strategy

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