22@Barcelona Project

Urban Design: Art, City, Society.

2009 Nicholas Socrates

22@Barcelona Project

Barcelona, located in the north-east of Spain and on the shores of the Mediterranean, is one of the main European metropolises, and the centre of an extensive metropolitan region made up of more than 217 towns, with a total population of 4.6 million inhabitants. It is the economic, cultural and administrative capital of Catalonia and a leader of an emerging business area in the south of Europe which is made up of more than 800,000 companies and 17 million inhabitants. Within this Euro-Mediterranean region, which includes the Balearic Islands, Valencia, Aragon and the south- east of France, Barcelona is focusing on new strategic, competitive and international sectors, and it is consolidating its position as one of Europe’s principal metropolises.

Catalonia, and its capital Barcelona, has always been a welcoming place for those visiting it. Throughout its history, many different peoples have passed through this land and almost all of them have settled here. This has made Catalonia a welcoming place, which is tolerant, dynamic and open to anything that is new.

Catalonia and Barcelona have now become one of the main economic hubs of Europe.

A driver of the Spanish economy, 21st century Catalonia is an innovative country with a highly-qualified labour force, an enviable geographical position (at the heart of Europe and connected to the rest of the world thanks to its Mediterranean ports and its international airports) and top-notch infrastructure and facilities that draw important investments year after year.

Because of the shortage of available land at least half of the new office space will have been concentrated in the 22@ district.

The 22@ district occupies 115 city blocks, with a surface of 200 hectares and with a potential to build 4 million m² of floor space. Of this, 3.2 million m² would be allocated to offices and commerce.  According to Council estimates, the transformation of the district will require an investment 12,020 million euros over a period of 15 or 20 years.

22@ Barcelona is a project that aims to fully integrate Barcelona in the new technological revolution of the knowledge economy. The Poblenou district, the main hub of Spanish industrialization during the 19th century, is today setting itself up as the leading economic and technological platform in Barcelona and Catalonia.

The plan aims to transform the entire neighborhood of el Poblenou—previously a cluster of manufacturing industries—into a hub of office and university buildings for activities and companies involved in the fields of new technologies, information, knowledge, communication, and R&D.

Facilitating its role as an incubator of new ideas, companies and products.

As a new city model the 22@ Barcelona project reinterprets the function of the old industrial fabric of Poblenou in a contemporary way, applying a new town planning model based on the knowledge culture and sustainability.

The object of the  22@ Barcelona project is to transform 200 hectares of industrial land in Poblenou into an innovative economic district, with leading edge infrastructure. It is to offer over three million square metres of modern, flexible, technological business space in the very centre of Barcelona, and is to achieve the strategic concentration of knowledge intensive activities.

The  22@ Barcelona project provides for a greater density than has traditionally characterised industrial sectors, and opts for a dense, complex urban environment which permits more efficient use of the land while, at the same time contributing to the interaction and exchange of information between the different urban agents and generating the critical mass required to achieve economies of agglomeration.

Thus the  22@ Barcelona project opts for a high quality, compact, mixed, sustainable urban model which results in a better balanced, more hybrid, ecologically more efficient city of greater economic weight and cohesion. Thus it forms part of the overall strategy “Barcelona, the City of Knowledge”.

At the same time higher levels of buildability enable urban refurbishment projects to contribute to the re-urbanisation of all the streets of the sector, generating new green spaces, facilities and housing. In short, a decisive improvement to the quality of life enjoyed in Poblenou.

Barcelona production expertise is changing rapidly: more than two-thirds of its exports now are high or medium-high technological goods. The future development of Barcelona depends on its ability to integrate new information and communications technologies and, of course, to intensify its knowledge-driven industrial activities and profit from them.

Both for its innovative conceptualisation, and for the nature of its productive activities, the 22@ Barcelona district of activities is changing the economic geography of town, and stands out as one of the areas of Metropolitan Barcelona with greatest potential.

22@ Is one of Catalonia’s and Barcelona’s main business sectors both in terms of weight in the overall economy, its importance in comparison with other European regions, and in terms of the importance given to it by companies, universities and centres of research working in this area: the Information and Communications Technologies sector (ICT)

Qualified professionals and working practices are determining factors for many companies when setting up in an area. Barcelona and its metropolitan region have highly-qualified staff and they have been chosen by more than 250 innovative companies as the location for their headquarters. Moreover, the capital of Catalonia has been considered the best European city in terms of quality of life by professionals -for six consecutive years -, and the fourth best European city to do business, according to the “European Cities Monitor 2006” carried out by Cushman & Wakefield.

Barcelona offers a variety of things that make it really attractive to live, work and to do businesses. The city is currently well positioned for new economy activities.

Good reasons to invest are clear;

01 Strategic geographical location

By road, just 2 hours from France. The gateway to the South of Europe, it boasts a port, and international airports, Free Trade Zone, logistics park, international trade fair and a city centre radius of only 5 kilometres.

02 Extensive transport infrastructure

Network of highways connected with Europe; the fastest-growing European airport; Spain’s top port and the biggest port in the Mediterranean in terms of container transport; dense network in terms of the underground, railway and buses; arrival of the High-Speed Train in 2007 and connections with the European network in 2009.

03 Centre of a large economic, dynamic and diverse area

The area of Barcelona is made up of 4.7 million inhabitants. It is the capital of Catalonia -7 million inhabitants – and the centre of the Mediterranean Rim, a large economic area with 18 million inhabitants. It represents 70% of the GDP of Catalonia, it had a GDP growth rate of 3.1% in 2004 – above the European average -, it is the sixth biggest urban agglomeration in Europe and it is fifth in terms of its concentration of industrial activity.

04 Successful foreign investment

Fifth-best city in Europe for business, it represents some 20% of the annual foreign investment

in Spain. There are 2, 700 foreign companies set up here and 97% are satisfied with their investments. Barcelona has also consolidated its position as a centre for the European divisions of multinationals.

05 Acknowledged international positioning

Barcelona fares well in different international rankings, which show its highly favorable urban position, its capacity to attract foreign capital, its entrepreneurial character and the quality of life.

06 Human resources prepared for the future

Highly educated; highly productive, one of the most qualified in Europe according to the OECD; 5 public universities, 2 private universities, prestigious business schools: IESE, ESADE, EADA; 27 international schools;

extensive penetration of new technologies; good character for innovation and creativity.

07 Excellent quality of life

Top city in Europe in terms of quality of life. Mild climate, sunny, beaches, close to top quality ski resorts; splendid cultural and leisure offer; network of 4,500 education institutions; modern and accessible health system. Easy to get around on public transport. A system of nature parks surrounds the city.

08 Large urban projects for the future

Transformation of 1,000 Has. and 7 million m2 of build surface area. Llobregat area: a bet on the logistics sector and internationalisation, with enlargements to the port and the airport; Besòs area: urban renewal, sustainability and research centres; La Sagrera-Sant Andreu: arrival of the high-speed train; 22@Barcelona:

the new technology and innovation district.

09 A competitive real estate offer

Extensive stock of offices, commercial premises and industrial plants with an excellent price-quality relation. The construction of housing is also in an expansive phase.

10 Unique public-private co-operation

Barcelona City Council and the Catalan government are very much in favour of companies; success in traditional public-private collaboration has been a key in the transformation of Barcelona.

Xavier Cama, director of Barcelona consultants Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker, believes that the majority attitude is to wait for the 22@ developments to be consolidate

Investors in the past have preferred a more central location along the Diaganal and Passeig de Gracia.

‘If the buildings in progress are rented, the international investors will come,’ say Cama.

For Cama 22@ will be converted ‘into a tertiary zone of offices and commerce, important to the city.

It will not, however, to be able to focus on new technologies, since many of the companies are in crisis.

Also, he says that, Barcelona has arrived a little late, in the sector of new technologies.

Barcelona must aspire to attract multinational headquarters to the 22@.

On a smaller scale, Barcelona should develop specialist clusters, such as design centres.

Despite the investment caution, all new buildings in the 22@ district have been rented or sold before construction has been completed.

The price of the rent, has stayed around 15 Euros m2/ month, with higher values in the buildings near Glories, where the office market has consolidated.

The 22@Barcelona project is the “engine” of economic development.

The 22@Barcelona project, approved by the Barcelona City Council in 2000, involves the transformation of 200 hectares of industrial land in the center of Barcelona into an innovative productive district, aimed at concentrating and developing knowledge intensive activities. As a project of urban refurbishment, it responds to the need of restoring the economic and social dynamism of the Poblenou Quarter, creating a diverse and balanced environment with production centers, social housing, facilities and green space aimed at improving both the quality of life and of the workplace.

The 35 kilometres of streets in the 22@ Barcelona district of activities are being comprehensively re-urbanised under an Integrated  Infrastructure Plan which, with a total investment of 162 million Euros, provides for the complete refurbishment of the public space and the construction of a highly competitive utility network, structured to meet the technological, town planning and environmental requirements of today.

The new services of the 22@ Barcelona district of activities include modern power supply grids, telecoms networks, centralised climate control, and pneumatic refuse collection systems and prioritise energy efficiency, noise pollution control and reduction and responsible natural resource management.

The new infrastructure networks have been designed with a mind to permitting the operators of urban services to compete freely, and to such ends are provided with fully accessible galleries, channels and conduits to facilitate the laying of new cable, so minimizing the need for any future operations.

As a project of economic revitalization, it offers a unique opportunity to turn the Poblenou District into an important scientific, technological and cultural platform, making Barcelona one of the most dynamic and innovative cities in the world.

As a project of social revitalization, it favors the networking of the different professionals working in the district and encourages and supports innovative projects that foster collaboration among companies, institutions and residents as well as social, educational and cultural organizations.

The fundamental vision and mission of the 22@ Barcelona project is to convert the old industrial areas of Poblenou into a new pole for business, scientific and technological activity, right in the very heart of the city, and thus help consolidate the position of Barcelona as one of the principal international platforms for innovation and the knowledge based economy.

Essential to this mission is to foster initiatives aimed at drawing in activity and creating new sectarian concentrations (clusters) which, with the involvement of the most significant public and private players, will permit transformation of the productive fabric of the 22@ Barcelona district to be structured and areas of excellence to be established.

To accelerate the process of transformation, and establish its personality and coherence, the 22@ Barcelona  corporation is promoting what have come to be called the 7 engines of the 22@ Barcelona district. Said activity magnet projects will permit the creation of a model of dynamic innovation, based on the “triple helix” concept, to potentiate the confluence of science, technology and enterprise so that the synergies

created between these three strategic players will hone the competitive edge of the productive system and enable Barcelona to adopt a leading position in certain areas of knowledge:

22@ Media                      Audiovisual sector

22@ ICT                          Information and Communications Technologies

22@ Biocorporation          Bioscience sector

22@ Campus                   New model for knowledge spaces

22@ Entrepreneurs          Magnet to international talent

22@ Technology              Creation and transfer of knowledge

22@ Social                      Social cohesion

The transformation led by the 22@Barcelona project enables the creation of up to 3.200.000m2 of new business GFS to stimulate production activities in the city centre, 4.000 social housing units and 114.000m2 of new green spaces, transforming the old industrial land into an area of the highest urban and environmental quality.

At the time of the approval of the 22@Barcelona plan in 2000, infrastructures of the industrial areas of Poblenou were found to be clearly poor. To amend this situation the project establishes a new Special Infrastructure Plan (PEI) to re-urbanize the 37km of streets in the 22@Barcelona and provide them with leading edge services and utilities.

The approval of the 22@ Barcelona plan, Poblenou has seen significant qualitative growth in its production structure, clearly evolving towards more knowledge intensive urban activities. The execution of the  22@ Barcelona project will generate between 100,000 and 130,000 new jobs, and the percentage of the city’s economic activity concentrated in Poblenou will increase from 4% to over 15%.

The 22@Barcelona district favors the competitive edge of its productive fabric through a series of projects, considered as the “engines” of the economic development of the territory, with the support and involvement of the main private and public agents and players.

–       On the one hand, it permits the creation of clusters around the fields of knowledge, in which Barcelona can aspire to become a world leader, through the concentration in the territory of firms, public organizations and reference science and technology centers in those sectors considered strategic: amongst others, the media, information and communication technologies, medical technologies (MedTech), design and energy.

–       On the other, it enhances the capacity for innovation of firms and the entrepreneurial culture of the productive fabric through initiatives that promote the concentration of R&D and technology transfer centers and attract the most innovative international projects.

–       It also fosters the establishment of new formal and informal networks to encourage the creation of joint corporate projects on both a local and international level, and to improve both social and entrepreneurial cohesion.

Barcelona’s 22@ district is both an urban regeneration project and a new model of city that seeks to respond to the challenges posed by the knowledge society by creating 4 fundamental clusters: MEDIA, ICT, ENERGY, BIOTECH.

In order to ensure the best possible fit for the diverse functional programmes within the urban environment, and to avoid any possible traumatic effects on the existing uses and functions, the 22@ Barcelona project does not, from the outset, specify detailed precise planning for each part of the territory, but rather allows for the final image of the transformation to be progressively defined, depending on the specific features of the individual project and its surroundings.

Since the project was approved, more than 1.100 firms, institutions, universities and research and innovation centers have taken the decision to locate in 22@Barcelona district. As an example, in September 2008, TCI Network opened the new headquarters in Imagina Building, which is located in 22@Barcelona Innovation Distric. These new incorporations have had a significant impact on the District’s production structure, turning it into one of the most dynamic poles for the generation and application of knowledge in Europe.

The international economic activity of the area of Barcelona gets a special boost from Fira trade fair, the Port , the Airport , the Free Trade Consortium, the Consortium of Barcelona Tourism Board and the new innovation technology districts. In this last aspect , and given the fact that innovation is the key to developing competitiveness, productivity and the internationalisation of companies, then we can see that the Information and Communications

Technologies sector (ICT) is one of the key sectors for Barcelona and Catalonia.

Barcelona and its metropolitan area play host to manufacturers of electronic equipment and the headquarters of large businesses that are one of the pillars of the development and exploitation of ICT in Spain. The city has become one of Spain’s benchmarks, with real examples that run from the 22@Barcelona district, the technology and innovation district from excellence, to extensive business networks of leading service companies, with deep-rooted entrepreneurial spirit and a long tradition in the teaching of telecommunications and its business practice.

Regarding the availability of human resources, in the last few years Barcelona has increased resources in education in new technologies as well as in infrastructure for research.

The city has prestigious universities, centres of research that are highly prepared, laboratories for R&D, as well as intermediary institutions that facilitate the development of technology based projects that are motors of new initiatives in the digital industry through the transfer of knowledge.

More than 1,700 companies and 155 research stakeholders make this one of the top regions in terms of innovation in Europe in this sector. From the social, business, institutional and university point of view, Barcelona is positioning itself as southern Europe’s benchmark with respect to the Information and Communications Technologies sector. The distribution of ICT sub-sectors is similar to the situation in the rest of Spain, with the main weight falling on services for telecommunications, computer sciences and the manufacture of electronic and telecommunications equipment.

Barcelona in the electronics consumption sector; in Spain, represents 63% of the total production and it is the main European manufacturer. In the computer business, companies in Catalonia represent 29% of the total in Spain, and in terms of telecommunications, licenses issued in Catalonia represent a fourth of those issued in the whole of Spain.

Barcelona and its metropolitan area go to make up a compact area in the ICT sector, with special significance in activities related to the industry of digital content (cinema, video and graphic design) and software (development, consulting firms and other integration services), which between 1997 and 2002 managed to achieve a rate of growth above 80%. The importance of these two sectors in the overall ICT sector is also related to Barcelona’s progressive specialisation in the service industry. On the other hand, the city represents a very significant part of the employment in high technology sectors in Catalonia. It is worth noting that in 2002 Catalonia stood in the fifth position for the third consecutive year in the ranking of European regions with the highest percentages of population in high technology sectors, beating regions like Rhône-Alps, Dublin, Madrid or Berlin, and standing at a level similar to that of the Lombard region or West Midlands.

Barcelona is the ICT metropolis of the Mediterranean.

01 Barcelona, a digital city

02 Leader in ICT penetration

03 Concentration of ICT companies

04 Availability of innovation infrastructure and services

05 Centres of knowledge generation

06 Innovation and enterprise Culture

07 Support of public institutions in the promotion of ICT

08 Important ICT projects

09 Future potential

10 Culture of working in networks and adaptation to change

The Catalan rate of ICT penetration is one of Spain’s highest in terms of companies, internet users, and home ICT equipment, and the development of electronic administration.

It is becoming a digital city, which is more than ever concentrated with activities that are highly intense in knowledge, technology and research.

The economic sector based on creativity, innovation and knowledge, brings together activities in research, development, new technologies, media and audiovisuals, design, culture, biotechnology, the publishing world, etc.

These activities have more and more significance in Barcelona’s economy, they offer better paid jobs, and the most important thing, they represent the required condition for manufacturing companies of high technology to set up.

The most widespread use of internet by companies is for searching for information (90.4%) and electronic banking (79.3%) and half of connected companies use it to look for new suppliers.

If we consider the use of e-administration, Barcelona is one of the cities that has most moved forward in its implementation and at the moment it is working on services for mobiles. The city’s website is one of the most used compared to other cities in the world and this year forecasts show that for the first time the volume of procedures carried out via www.bcn.cat will over take those carried out in person. A fact that puts the city on a par with the best in the world.

Barcelona, together with 20 other cities, passed the European Charter of Citizen Rights in the Information and Knowledge Society, a pioneering move that demonstrates the will of the city to be a leader in the use of ICT.

The  22@ Barcelona project has been warmly received by the business community:

over eighty of the most outstanding companies in their respective sectors have either established, or are in the process of building, head offices in the 22@ district of activities and, in terms of new establishment alone, the productive activity of the district has increased by over 255,000 m2.

Among the users, there are some important Spanish companies such as:

Agbar, Gas Natural, Amper, and Retevision, and multinationals including T-Systems (Deutsche Telekom), General Electric, Liberty or la Citada Axa.

As examples of some of the most innovative and representative companies in Barcelona, we can draw attention to:

Abertis Telecom: leader in telecommunications infrastructures and services, it boasts the first network of sites for the broadcast and distribution of radio and TV signals, it offers mobile radio communications services for public networks for the security and

emergencies services.

EDS España: has set up its centre of Excellence Agility Alliance, a pioneering centre i n Europe for the development of innovative services for the finance sector in Sant Cugat.

Hewlett-Packard: its plant in Sant Cugat handles everything from marketing, engineering, to monitoring and the distance management of systems. Its R&D area has become the company’s most important outside the US.

Fujitsu: a company integrating solutions; everything from consulting, integration, implementation and outsourcing of infrastructures and computer applications, to a full range of products like servers, bank systems, mobility, storage and peripherals.

Getronics: this is the leading supplier in the world of ICT solutions and services, independent of all manufacturers.

IBM: the R&D developed in its Barcelona offices focuses mainly on software and solutions for innovation and transformation in the finance sector and boasts a competence centre specialised in health issues.

Indra: has established different centres of excellence like those dealing with security systems, communications systems and navigation by satellite or consulting from its headquarters in the 22@Barcelona district.

Microsoft: has set up in Catalonia its IFR Software Factory Microsoft Dynamics in its central offices in the innovation district.

Sony: the central offices of the production centres and the design of new Sony España products are in Barcelona.

Telefónica: it will set up its headquarters and Telefonica R&D division in the same place as its other group R&D activities in 22@Barcelona, with a close relationship between its different business lines.

T-Systems: is part of the Deutsche Telecom group, this was one of the pioneering companies to set up headquarters for the Iberian peninsula in 22@Barcelona, it has created an important cluster of ICT companies called “Clusters for Innovation”, with 32 members from the business, university and institutional world.

Yahoo! Research: it has selected Barcelona and 22@Barcelona as its European centre for the development of R&D activities into Internet search engines and other technological areas.

Knowledge is the motor of innovation, and Mediterranean cities with their compact historical centres where information exchanges proliferate, are particularly suited and attractive environments for the generation of knowledge and innovation. Both Barcelona and its metropolitan region can be qualified, a priori, as adequate infrastructures to channel co-operation between productive and educational systems.


Alstom Centre for Technology Research Development and Innovation in Urban, Interurban and Rail Transport.

Barcelona Media Innovation Centre.

ICT Technology Centre.

Innovation Centre for Energy Technologies.

Innovation Centre for Graphic Art Technologies.


The Catalan collaborative tradition has been promoted even more due to the use of technology in the organisation and the development of work.

There are many companies that work from their offices in Barcelona in collaboration with others all over the world in order to give the best services to their customers and at the same time count on linguistic and cultural proximity with respect to clients.

Creative people, with talent , multilingual and coming from diverse origins form the nucleus of knowledge and the experience of technology companies with offices in Barcelona.

Professional interest, the enthusiasm for technological advances, the ethics of responsibility, efficiency, high rates of productivity and the capacity of workers to adapt to a world in continuous evolution contribute to making these companies’ business grow.

22@Barcelona District, is an international reference point for the creation and development of new businesses;

Barcelona Activa

Specialized Incubators;



Landing Program

Accel Program

Access to financing.

Residential and Working Centre.


The  22@ Barcelona project has decisively opted for a mix of space dedicated to production and residential use, allowing people to live close to their work and favouring the development of local shops and trade, so guaranteeing the vitality of the area throughout the course of the day.

Poblenou has some 23,000 traditional homes. Over 4,600 of these homes were built in the industrial areas and encumbered under the 1953 County Plan which established the exclusive industrial use of productive land.

For the first time in the last 50 years the  22@ Barcelona project recognises the existence of these homes and incentivates their refurbishment. Moreover it facilitates the construction of between 3,500 and 4,000 new social homes, equivalent to 10% of the new potential roof space, of which at least 25% must be for rent.

To favour the typological and social diversity of Poblenou, the  22@ Barcelona project encourages the development of hotels and short-term rental apartments for corporate use, and permits the refurbishment of certain industrial buildings to create loft apartments, if their buildability is less than that established for productive use and if their preservation is seen to be of architectural, historical or artistic interest. Thus the 22@ Barcelona plan incentivates the preservation of the district’s industrial architectural heritage by allowing for the creation of non-conventional housing, so helping to broaden the range of housing available in the 22@ Barcelona district of activities.

Through the different projects for urban renewal it is anticipated that the total number of homes in Poblenou increases to 40,000. With such a proportion of residential use, close to 50% of the total built-up area, Poblenou will become a model of social and environmental balance.

Future Campus

The academic and university community in the area of Barcelona is one of the most numerous in Europe with more than 200,000 students and with prestigious international business schools (IESE, ESADE, EADA, etc); something which means there is a seedbed to cover the qualified job market and added value in the area. Specifically in the areas of ICT knowledge.

A new concept and model for knowledge space;

4 knowledge vectors based in the local economic and academic potential;

Energy Technologies,

Mobility Technologies,

Water Technologies,

Architecture, Urbanism and Construction.

Each vector will develop products and services in;




Business Activity.


Participation in programs for the creation of Bioscience-based companies.

Support infrastructure and services for the new busineses based in biotechnology.

Attraction of national and international companies related to biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.


Concentration of public and private technological centres from the ICT sector.

ICT Product exhibition and information dissemination centre directed to companies and citizens.

Local and International business sector;

Large companies (T-Systems, Auna, Indra, GTD).

Small and midsize companies (Interface Building)

Public Sector: Local Government (IMI), Regional Government (DURSI), Central Government (CMT).

Media Park

Communication Campus (24,000 m2);

Communication Campus,

Technological Transfer Centre.

Audiovisual Production Centre (36,000 m2);

Advanced studios and technical rooms, Offices.

Barcelona Media,

Innovation Centre,

Enterprise Incubator,

Temporary Residence.

Space allocated for expansion;

115,000m2 for enterprise 60,000 m2 for services.

22@ Barcelona’s stunning Architecture


2 Responses to “22@Barcelona Project”

  1. Pine Wardrobe Says:

    it is always easy to find good ski resorts online, but most of them are expensive but they are great anyway :~:

  2. Telekom Says:

    thanks friend

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