Disseny Hub – February 20th
Disseny Hub was the setting where the presentations, dialogues and debates in the Sant Martí district took place. The 20th of February started with the launch of the xAire project, a citizen participation activity in conjunction with two secondary schools from Barcelona spearheaded by Estació Ciutat. This entity was founded after the CCCB exhibition entitled ‘After the End of the World’, which managed to measure the air quality of Barcelona more precisely than the official network thanks to the installation of more than 800 sensors.
After the project launch, the lecture entitled “Big Data & Data Analytics in Cities” got underway. The session featured Francesca Bria, the commissioner for Technology and Digital Innovation; Esteve Almirall, director of the Centre for Innovation in Cities/IIK; Oriol Estela from PEMB; and Guillem Camprodon from IACC. This space presented cities’ options to improve their residents’ quality of life and the processes needed to ensure technological sovereignty in cities.
After these talks, the dialogue entitled “Cities of the Future: Future Scenarios of Everyday Urban Life” got underway. Miquel Molina started the dialogue with a prediction of the future that awaits us: “In 2050, it is forecasted that the planet will be experiencing a context in which 80% of people are ‘urban’”. Based on this premise, we have to consider what challenges cities have to face in terms of overpopulation. The new digital manufacturing models, the circular economy, collaborative consumption and citizen participation are becoming the cornerstones upon which the future of cities must lie.
In his talk, Marc Montlleó, the technical director of Barcelona Regional, focused on the need to nuance the concept of ‘sustainability’ and its recent spotlighting on world urban agendas. Even though the concept has been used for some time and is now fully implemented within urban education, to date the concept has not been transferred to a framework in which it is discussed from the standpoint of health. This paradigm shift which cities and the new urban planning are facing is aligned with the challenges which Industry 4.0 is facing. Data are no longer just statistics, but for some time work has been underway with real data that allow a city’s pollution to be planned thanks to the number of vehicles circulating and using self-learning algorithms.
Judith Carrera, the director of the European Urban Public Space Prize and the head of debates and lectures at CCCB, stressed the role of cities as public spaces and nexuses joining citizens. Cities are physical spaces which harbour immaterial values, political values, values of freedom and movement, or values of access which are associated with the city from its founding. ‘Public space’ is what allows us to synch ‘me’ with ‘us’. In this context, the new technologies have spurred one of the most profound transformations in recent years: they allow cities to be more efficient and to intervene in the city’s architecture. But they have also changed the way we interact. Within this transformation, we are facing three global logics which will end up defining the cities of the future: What rights do we confer on immigrants who want to live in other cities? How do we manage temporary visitors? What limits should be placed on the entry of global capital on urban soil in order to prevent massive purchases, displacing local people and ultimately losing the roots of cities?
Anna Majó took the floor on behalf of the Barcelona City Council, and as the leader of the digital innovation plan. For several years, Barcelona has had a roadmap to follow in which technology plays an important, useful role in the city. The approach revolves around attaining new policies which allow cities and technology to create wealth and jobs that are available to all citizens; for technology not only to be a way to achieve smart cities but also a tool to avoid digital divides. In order for this new policy to work, citizens have to participate and be more active in the city’s development. Technology has to be the channel through which we arrive at a more democratic city, and which helps us resolve problems of mobility, housing, use of the public space and pollution.
Ramón Marrades, the director of strategy at La Marina de Valencia and co-founder of Urbego, discussed one of the most important problems which he is familiar with firsthand: reconnecting large urban structures with citizens. This encompasses spaces and structures like the ones created for major events like Formula 1 or the America’s Cup in Valencia, which are now orphaned, and the residents feel like they are not theirs. This reconnection must entail launching participative dynamics which include different elements to improve decision-making.
After a debate revolving around the future of cities, Josep Perelló closed the gathering by initiating a reflection on the need to establish meeting points. In a society in which technology is moving towards automation, it is essential to work on the concept of humanity. This is why we should focus on a smart city which connects with its residents, so the technology that can change the interactions among people also serves to generate more empathy and listening to those who think differently.
The district also hosted two lectures on different days in the Cibernàrium. “New Tendencies in the Consumption and Production of Art and Culture: Augmented Reality and Gaming” was held on the 21st of February and featured speaker Dolors Reig, and a lecture was held under the title of “Opportunities of Blockchain Technology for Citizens” on the 22nd of February.
Núria Conde, postdoctoral researcher at the Complex Systems Laboratory at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in the Biomedical Research Park of Barcelona (PRBB), coordinated the different workshops which were offered in the district throughout the week. “Cultivating Spirulina in the City” taught participants the importance of these cyanobacteria and why it is considered an ecological and exceptionally nutritional food. Her talk was held in the Sant Martí de Provençals Civic Centre, in conjunction with Diy Bio Barcelona and the Sant Martí Civic Centre.
Another workshop held at the FabLab sought to get participants to undergo a true experience maker: “Sensorising the Environment” taught participants basic electronics and how to make their own sensors (or inputs) and to get these inputs to later transform into light, sound or vibration: outputs. Held in conjunction with the Iaac Fab Lab Barcelona.
“Biograffitis with UV” was held at the Centre Cívic Sant Martí de Provençals with the participation of entities like Diy Bio Barcelona and Sant Martí Civic Centre. It worked with materials to make drawings on plates with the influence of light and receiving panels. To conclude, the last workshop managed to assemble a microscope via a webcam.
“What’s What We Can’t See Like? Assembly with a Microscope” was another workshop which experimented using a webcam to create a microscope in order to later look at a series of samples. It was held at the Biblioteca el Clot in conjunction with Diy Bio Barcelona and Bibliotecas de Barcelona.
The workshop “Health, Money and Love. Basic Technology Applied to Everyday Life” was held at the Auditori del Cibernàrium. It presented and practised technological resources that are useful for everyday life.
The Design Museum was the venue chosen for the workshop “Imagine the City of the Future that We Want”, where new imaginaries about the future of the city we want to achieve were constructed.
Finally, “The Future of Dynamic Wearables” presented a methodology developed based on dystopian thinking to design dynamic materials, flexible electronics and smart textiles at the Disseny Hub Barcelona in conjunction with Materfad ELISAVA.
In the workshop “Programme Your Own Videogames” held at the San Martí de Provençals Civic Centre, boys and girls created two innovative videogames using Scratch: one of them posed the challenge of a vampire hunt, while the other placed the participants inside a labyrinth from which they had to try to escape. Entities like Soko Tech and Sant Martí Civic Centre cooperated with this workshop by providing the venue.
Sant Martí was the district with the most mWeek Gallery activities. Between the 15th of February and the 4th of March, participants could visit the exhibition on “The Everyday Future”, which displayed 10 newly-created works by 10 selected artists. Furthermore, they could see the work “Civilization” by Marco Brambilla in conjunction with Fundación Sorigué.
Two guided tours were also held, the first to the space of companies with a high technological impact in the MediaICT Incubator, and a second tour to the technology capture centre, Cibernàrium.
Mobile Week Barcelona enjoys the cooperation and support of different entities and institutions to expand its activity programme, spread its impact and encourage the stakeholders in the city to participate more. In Sant Martí,ProtoPixel organised a showcase in which it invited the city’s residents to vote on the projects created during its hackathon, Hack the Light Up, the first using digital illumination in Spain.
Among the prizes, the best hack of the Glòries Towers had the opportunity to be the main animation of the Tower on Sunday night.