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5 Dossier ‘Knowledge Economy and Territory’
9 22@: 10 years of economic transformation
ORiOl MOlaS aND MaRtí PaREllaDa
18 The ‘Barcelona, City of Knowledge’ project and 22@ Barcelona
27 The impact of 22@ on urban development and real estate:
Barcelona’s future central business district
SaRa MuR aND JOaquiM CluSa
50 The economic impact of infrastructures in 22@
RaMON SagaRRa RiuS
62 Theory and development of clusters
alESSaNDRa ChEvallaRD aND EMilià DuCh
The 22@ Barcelona model: a city organized into clusters
66 Science and technology parks as global business platforms
RiCaRD gaRRiga, Raúl SáNChEz aND FRaNCESC SOlé PaREllaDa
76 22@ Barcelona and the management of innovative and entrepreneurial talent
FRaNCiSCO J. gRaNaDOS
85 A conversational capital (KCv) perspective of 22@ Barcelona
JOaN MuNDEt, MiChElE giROttO, JORDi gaRCia BRuStENga aND XaviER góNgORa
96 Open innovation in the public sector: the case of urban labs
EStEvE alMiRall aND hENRy ChESBROugh
22@Urban Lab, the example of Barcelona
106 22@ Barcelona: exporting the model
auRORa lóPEz, aNDREu ROMaNí, RaMON SagaRRa aND JOSEP MiquEl Piqué
117 The triple helix at the science and technology parks of Catalonia
M. CaRMEN aDáN aND JOaN BEllaviSta
126 Creative cities: a new paradigm for local agendas?
137 How can governments create clusters of innovation? The case of 22@Barcelona
itXaSO DEl PalaCiO aND JEROME ENgEl
146 Smart territories
154 Do world cities need knowledge districts?
Observations on 22@Barcelona and its counterparts
175 22@ Barcelona: a knowledge city beyond science parks
hENRy EtzkOwitz aND JOSEP MiquEl Piqué
Catalan version co-funded by ERDF
Investing in your future
this issue of Revista Econòmica de Catalunya turns its
attention to analysing the links that form between the
knowledge economy and the territory. if we had to focus
on the best international experiences in this area, we
would all agree that 22@ Barcelona has known how to
combine urban transformation with economic and social
transformation. therefore, coinciding with the 10th
anniversary of the project, we have invited various authors
to help us understand, from their own point of view, the
complexity of the discourse surrounding this binomial
that is transforming cities around the world.
Coordinated by Josep Miquel Piqué and Mònica
Flores, this dossier analyses the economic foundations of
22@ (Joan trullén) as well as the economic impact of busi-ness
activity (Oriol Molas and Martí Parellada). we also
wanted to include the economic impact of urban transfor-mation,
3 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
at the hands of Mur&Clusa associats.
the phenomenon of entrepreneurship has been
analysed by Francesc Solé Parellada, and the clusters
model dealt with by Emilià Duch's working group from
the consultancy Competitiveness. we have also analysed
the 22@ model based on the experience of the profes-sionals
working there, in order to understand the key
points in terms of urban planning, infrastructure and
models of social and economic transformation.
we have invited a researcher from the iBEi (Francisco
granados) to give a social reading from the perspective of
talent management, and we have analysed the relational
and conversational capital garnered in the district with
Dr Joan Mundet's working group from uPC.
we did not want to overlook the international view-point,
in relation to other international projects and clus-ter
models, open innovation models and the triple helix
model. Of particular note is the presence in this issue of
authors such as henry Chesbrough (uC Berkeley), greg
Clark (urban land institute), herny Etzkowitz (Stanford
university), Jerome Engel (uC Berkeley), itxaso del
Palacio (imperial College) and Joan Bellavista (XPCat).
lastly, an analysis of smart territories by alfonso
vegara, of Fundación Metrópolis, as well as creative cities,
by Professor Montserrat Pareja-Eastaway of the university
of Barcelona, complement this series of articles.
Revista Econòmica 7 de Catalunya
Deputy Mayor for Economy, Business and Labour
Barcelona City Council
For its 64th issue, Revista Econòmica de Catalunya chose
a prime theme for the city of Barcelona: the knowledge
Economy and territory, aimed at analysing in depth the
22@Barcelona innovation District.
given the success of the issue, and the interest
expressed from hundreds of international delegations in
the institutional, business and academic spheres that visit
Barcelona every year, we felt it was the right moment to
print a special issue in English to disseminate and share
throughout its history, Barcelona has been able to
detect the opportunities that have come its way and has
overcome the challenges posed. as a city, Barcelona has
certain assets that place it in optimum conditions for pro-moting
the knowledge economy, an economy which
speaks in terms of innovation and internationalisation.
in this sense, 22@Barcelona is a very good example of
how an area such as Poblenou is transforming 200
hectares of industrial land into a knowledge economy. a
district that has all the elements necessary to promote the
creation of wealth and jobs, based on concentrating uni-versities
and businesses in a territory along with advance
infrastructure that coexists with residential areas and pub-lic
spaces. thanks to this process, the district is currently
home to more than 7,000 businesses that have provided
over 56,000 new jobs.
Barcelona growth Centre’s location at the heart of
22@, a symbol of the new Barcelona at the service of com-panies,
focused on economic growth and the creation of
employment, is yet another way the City Council is lend-ing
its support to strengthening the district’s position as
an economic driver of the city.
i would like to thank all of the authors who made this
issue of Revista Econòmica de Catalunya possible, as well as
the Economists’ association, for promoting this publica-tion,
which helps us analyse our economic situation and
plot new work horizons for our future.
22@: 10 years of economic transformation
University of Barcelona
Revista Econòmica 9
The 22@ Barcelona project
in 2000, Barcelona City Council created a municipal
company, 22@ Barcelona, to promote and manage a proj-ect
whose aim was to transform obsolete industrial zones
of Poblenou into an area with high urban and environ-mental
quality, where new knowledge and innovation-related
activities could be carried out. the project was
based on a model of a compact Mediterranean city with
neighbourhoods in which to live, study and work at the
same time. to achieve this, the former land use designa-tion
of 22a, which established that these city centre areas
should only be used for industry, had to be changed to
the new status of 22@, which permits the coexistence of
all production activities that do not cause a nuisance or
pollution, normalizes the presence of dwellings that have
been affected since 1953, and favours their restoration.
the objectives were, and continue to be: urban, social
and economic transformation that involves combining
dwellings, premises, facilities and green spaces; the pro-motion
of industrial, commercial and service activities;
and the fostering of technical, scientific and cultural
development. the project does not overlook the infra-structures
and public services that ensure opportunities
and quality of life. thus, the 22@ Barcelona district has
adopted a high-quality, compact, diverse and sustainable
urban model to make the resulting city more balanced,
more hybrid and more ecologically efficient, with a
stronger economy and greater cohesion.
this is a city project that covers urban development,
planning and the management of urban development,
heritage and infrastructures, as well as economic devel-opment
through the promotion of clusters, the organiza-tion
of public-private platforms, and the establishment
and support of companies.
Below we highlight two basic characteristics of the
project, beyond the political commitment to its imple-mentation.
there is an emphasis on the required legal
and financial resources, and a form of project gover-nance
that distinguishes 22@ Barcelona from most
urban operations whose objective is to promote the
location of economic activities.
One factor that has boosted the location of ‘@ activ-ities’
in the district, particularly in the initial stage, is the
incentives included in the urban development plan. as
a result of these incentives, property developers could
make better use of the zone than of other spaces in the
city and metropolitan area. this has clearly been an
important factor in the location of new activities in the
a second factor to consider is the project gover-nance.
the municipal company 22@ Barcelona is not
only responsible for the district’s urban planning, but
also for implementing its urban and economic renewal
project. to achieve this, the company’s team has pro-moted
around 40 projects to attract new companies in
sectors in which Barcelona could attain a certain degree
of international leadership; to promote the establish-
1. In accordance with Article 7 of the MPGM approved in 2000, activities
that are characteristic of the 22@ zoning designation are those related to
the sector of information and communication technologies, and those asso-ciated
with research, publishing, design, culture, multimedia activity, data-base
management and knowledge management.
ment of the main institutions’ university centres; and to
enable the installation of the required support services.
to assess the introduction of activities defined as
‘@’1, that is, activities that use talent as the main pro-ductive
resource, the 22@ Barcelona district carried out
studies on their evolution in 2007, 2008 and 2009. in
addition, the need to assess the overall impact of public
policies in this district and to evaluate the results
obtained during the first decade of the project led to a
study2 to identify indicators that could be used in a syn-thetic
analysis of the economic growth generated by the
project. the initial results of this study are presented in
as the object of study is broader than in previous
research, we should be able to perceive the clearly strate-gic
nature of the sectors that have been promoted. For
beyond the intrinsic added value of the @ economy, it is
clear that it has positive secondary effects: from the gen-eration
of indirect activity (restaurants, shops and busi-ness
services, among others) to the renewal and consol-idation
of a brand - a territorial identity that could attract
other independent activities (in the hotel and catering
trade, traditional sectors that are being updated and
freelance professionals, among others). Furthermore,
taking into account the model of a compact city that
inspired the 22@ Barcelona project, this brand could
even attract residential housing, which, in turn, would
generate more economic activity.
Urban development and population growth
the first focus of transformation of the 22@ district,
which is the most obvious and the most relevant from the
perspective of public investment, is the territory. the
urban area3 that the project covers forms part of the
transformation project itself and constitutes one of the
greatest challenges that the city of Barcelona has taken
on in recent years.
the 22@ district covers an area of 198.26 ha (which is
equivalent to around 115 blocks of the Eixample neigh-bourhood),
with a potential 4 million m2 of gross floor
area, of which 80% is destined for the establishment of
production activities and 20% for dwellings, facilities
and services. the original number of dwellings in a cen-sus
of the area was 4,614, and the aim is to construct a
further 4,000 new subsidized dwellings. the transforma-tion
is closely tied to a 180-million-euro infrastructure
plan, which has provided the district with new fibre
State of urban development activity up to 31/12/09
• Start of the renovation of 65% of the industrial areas of Poblenou
• 117 plans approved: 78 (76%) private initiative, 2,830,596 m2 of gross floor area:
- 136,837 m2 of land for facilities
- 119,720 m2 for open spaces
- ± 3.000 dwellings built as subsidized housing
• Eight public green areas have been designed: 21,898 m2 (6.724 m2 are under construction)
• A total of 82,137 m2 of facilities have been built above grade (Ca l’Aranyó/Pompeu Fabra University, Mediacomplex building, etc.)
• Planning of 70% of the subsidized housing envisaged
• 1,502 dwellings: 892 dwellings constructed, 521 under construction and 107 with building permits
• 2,041 dwellings built, in the permit stage or approved (51% of the 4,000 envisaged in the General Metropolitan Plan)
• Permits for a total of 1,323,000 m2 of gross floor area:
- 70% for economic activity uses
- 18% for dwellings
- 12% for facilities
2. TC-field work, ‘22@ Barcelona: 10 anys, 2000-2010’. February 2011.
Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
3. Geographic boundaries of 22@: C. Wellington / Av. Meridiana / Pl. de les
Glòries Catalanes / Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes / Rambla de Prim / Pl. de
Llevant / C. del Taulat / Ronda del Litoral / (coastal area).
Source: municipal company 22@ Barcelona.
optic, electricity and general infrastructure networks,
and with a detailed mobility plan. it has been accompa-nied
by the promotion of private investment, which has
led to the development of 117 plans for facilities, open
spaces and dwellings, as shown in the table below.
One effect of the investment is that the resident pop-ulation
of 22@ has increased by 16,750 people since 2001
(according to 2009 data). Currently, the 22@ district has
over 90,000 inhabitants, which represents 5.6% of the
population of Barcelona (according to the municipal regis-ter
of 2009). in percentage terms, the population growth
in the 22@ district (23%) has been much higher than in
the city as a whole (8%), in the metropolitan area (14%)
and in Spain (18%) for the same period.
likewise, the characteristics of the 22@ district have
meant that its population is younger on average than
that of the entire city of Barcelona. this indicates that the
zone is attractive to the younger age groups who opt to
live in this area of the city.
the location of new economic activities in the zone
and the population growth have boosted, and continue
to boost, a considerable amount of indirect activity. this
helps to increase the number of services in the neigh-bourhood
that make it more habitable. in turn, an
upwards spiral is generated that feeds back on itself.
Cadastral data reveal an increase in land use for activi-ties
associated with the increasing vitality of the zone, as
the area occupied by non-residential premises is 10 dec-imal
points higher in the 22@ district than in the rest of
the city (42.4% compared to 32.6% in Barcelona).
this process has been intensive in recent years, as the
city lost almost 5% of premises dedicated to non-resi-dential
uses between 2002 and 2010, whilst in the 22@
district the percentage rose by over 7%4.
The number of companies located in the district
has doubled in the last ten years
it is calculated that there are now 7,064 companies in
22@ Barcelona, which represents 3% of all companies in
the province of Barcelona (according to DiRCE data). it
is also estimated that 4,400 freelancers work in the dis-trict.
the number of companies has more than doubled
in the last ten years, as in 2000 there were just over 3,400
entities. therefore, there has been a growth of 105%,
which is far higher than that experienced in the entire
province or in Catalonia (around 60%).
Most of the 3,437 companies in the district at the
start of the 22@ project remain there today (just over 7
out of every 10 companies, or around 2,500 firms in
total). however, approximately 1,000 have disappeared
or moved to other zones (27%). Nevertheless, this is just
a snapshot, and is therefore static. During 2000-2010, the
zone was particularly dynamic, and was witness to the
emergence and relocation of a large number of compa-
Revista Econòmica 11
Comparison of population growth (as a %)
for the 2001-2009 period
22@ Barcelona Metropolitan area Catalonia
90,214 1,621,537 4,992,193 7,475,420
73,464 1,503,884 4,390,390 6,343,110
Source: Statistics Department of Barcelona City Council and IDESCAT.
4. Currently, the district has around 42,000 premises for dwellings, almost
30,000 for parking, just over 6,000 for industrial use, close to 4,300 for
shops, restaurants and hotels, around 1,300 offices and approximately 270
for other services (education, health, sport, etc.).
nies. Furthermore, we should not underestimate the
effects of the recession, which have made it impossible
for companies founded in recent years to consolidate
their position. according to information provided by
companies specialized in business surveys and in the use
of commercial registers, each year between 800 and
1,000 companies have been founded in the area, but
between 500 to 700 have folded. this is a very fast pace,
which shows the dynamism of the territory. according to
these sources, the balance of growth was clearly positive
up to 2008. however, in 2009 and 2010 a slightly higher
number of companies folded than were founded.
Comparison of the increase in business activity (as a %).
Despite the recession, since 2000 approximately
4,500 companies have been established in the district
(almost 25% in the first three years, 2000-2003, 40% in
the second, 2003-2006 and 35% in the third, 2007-2010).
if we add the 2,500 companies that were already present
in the area, we reach the figure of over 7,000 companies
present in the zone today. On average, 454 new compa-nies
have set up in the area per year, or 1.2 per day. Just
under half of the new companies registered since 2000
are start-ups; the rest are companies that have relocated.
in absolute figures, it is calculated that around 2,150
companies have been newly founded in the district,
whilst the rest (around 2,400) moved from other zones,
mainly the city and its metropolitan area.
Knowledge and technology as a strategic focus
in line with the original vision of the project, 22@
Barcelona is fully committed to clustering in various sec-tors
in which Barcelona could become a notable leader,
such as the audiovisual sector, information and commu-nication
technologies (iCt), media technologies, energy
and design. ‘the aim in these zones is to increase the
innovative capacity of companies by creating production
environments that bring together leading companies,
institutions, public agencies, universities and research,
development and innovation centres in each sector. in
these entities, an enterprising culture shall be promoted.
added value services, tools and infrastructure shall be
provided for the competitive development and growth
of companies, and contact shall be promoted with the
leading business and research, development and inno-vation
thus, in addition to the objective of attracting lead-ing
companies, the project has promoted the establish-ment
in the district of various university centres, with
over 25,000 students, and numerous research and tech-nology
initially, five clusters were promoted (Media, iCt,
Medical technologies, Energy and Design), which are
those that have been analysed in studies carried out to
date and on which we have data. however, the eco-nomic
development in recent years has led to the inclu-sion
of new, priority strategic sectors such as agri-Food,
higher Education, aeronautics, automotive and
logistics. these are emerging areas that also require
special attention and should continue to be promoted in
12 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
22@ Barcelona Province Catalonia
225,652 companies 299,989 companies
143,411 companies 187,445 companies
Source: TC-fieldwork, ‘22@ Barcelona: 10 anys. 2000-2010’. February 2011 and DIRCE.
there has been a clear change in the types of activi-ties
carried out by companies in the district. Records of
the Barcelona City Council’s business tax (iaE), which
are only available up to 2005, are an indicator that can be
used to measure change in production structure.
Statistics on this information indicate that the number of
service companies in the zone has increased consider-ably,
at the expense of manufacturing . in 1996, 27% of
the companies in Poblenou carried out industrial activi-ties.
in 2005, when the 22@ project was already fully
underway, this figure had dropped to 18%. this change
occurred extremely rapidly if we compare it to the evolu-tion
in manufacturing activity in the city as a whole.
Currently, over 3 of every 4 companies in 22@ work
in the service sector, 15% in manufacturing and 8% in
other sectors. this production structure is very similar to
that of the entire province of Barcelona, although the
proportion of manufacturing is still 4.7 points higher in
the zone. the main industrial activity is related to pub-lishing,
the graphic arts and the production of recorded
media. these represent 4.5% of the total activity in the
district and 30% of the existing manufacturing activity.
within the service sector there is greater diversification
of companies. however, commercial activities (24%)
and business services (19%) predominate.
if we use as an index the OECD categorization, which
groups economic activities according to their level of
knowledge and/or technology intensity5, we can see that
traditional manufacturing sectors have contracted, whilst
knowledge- and new technology-intensive sectors have
expanded . if we use as a reference data from the iaE
records, the number of companies in these sectors has
increased considerably in 22@. in 1996 - 4 years before
the launch of the 22@ project - knowledge-intensive
Sample group: 7,064 companies
596 companies 1,043 companies
Revista Econòmica 13
Companies in 22@ by activity. 2010
% BCN Province
Source: TC-fieldwork, ‘22@ Barcelona: 10 anys. 2000-2010’. February 2011, and data from DIRCE 2010.
5. Groups based on CCAE-93 rev.1, in parenthesis. High-tech manufactur-ers:
Pharmaceutical products (224), Office machinery and computer equip-ment
(30), Manufacture of electronic materials, radios, televisions and
communication devices (32), Medical and optical precision instruments
(33), Aeronautical and space construction (353); Mid- to high-tech man-ufacturers:
Chemical industries - except pharmaceutical products - (24-
244),Machinery, equipment and mechanical material (29), Machinery and
electric material (31), Manufacture of vehicles and trailers (34),
Manufacture of railroad material and other transport equipment
(352/354/355); Knowledge-intensive services: Mail and telecommunica-tions
(64), Finances and insurance (65 a 67), Business services, except real
estate activities (71 to 74), Education (80), Health (85).
activity in the zone was five percentage points below the
figure for Catalonia. By 2005 it had reached the same
level, and now it is three points above it. in 2010, 27.4%
of the companies located in 22@ carried out knowledge-intensive
activities, compared to 24.4% in Catalonia and
Distribution of workers in 22@ by knowledge intensity
of the company that employs them.
Knowledge-intensive activities 67.5 56.6 73.8
High-tech manufacturers 3.7 5.9 2.3
Mid- to high-tech manufacturers 4.2 8.0 1.7
Knowledge-intensive services 59.6 42.7 69.9
Non-knowledge-intensive activities 32.5 43.4 26.2
Mid- to low-tech manufacturers a 0.8 1.6 0.3
Low-tech manufacturers 6.8 9.5 5.2
Non-knowledge intensive services 21.3 26.3 18.7
Unclassified in OECD 3.6 6.1 2.0
Source: TC-fieldwork, ‘22@ Barcelona: 10 anys. 2000-2010’. February 2011.
Sample group: 7,064 companies*
Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
22.8% in Spain.
Some activities that are prioritized in the strategic
plans of the 22@ Barcelona project, such as graphic arts
and cultural and recreational activities, are not includ-ed
in the aforementioned OECD classification. if we
group these activities together, we find that in 2001
they represented 17% of activity in the district (accord-ing
to data from iaE records), whilst in 2005 their pres-ence
had increased to 21%. Currently, 31% of the com-panies
in this territory, or around 2,200 firms overall,
carry out @ activities, whilst in the whole of Catalonia
only 23.6% of companies undertake such activities.
Probably the employment data most clearly reveals
how the district has successfully attracted knowledge-and/
or technology-intensive sectors throughout the
process. it is estimated that approximately 2 out of
every 3 current employees in 22@ work in knowledge-and/
or technology-intensive companies. this high per-centage
is mainly due to the establishment of compa-nies
in recent years.
Companies in 22@ who undertake activities @. 2010
Publishing and graphic arts (22)
IT and oce equipment manufacturing (30)
Electronic material and communication device
Medical-surgical, precision and optical material
Telecommunications and email (64)
Ancillary financial intermediation and insurance
IT activities (72)
Research and development (73)
Business activities (74)
Cultural and leisure activities (92)
@ activities in Catalonia. 2009 31.0%
Source: IDESCAT (2009). Data from DIRCE.
Sectors Total 22@ Before 2000 After 2000
Population: ± 90,000 workers. Calculation basis: 1,029 companies that have provided information on this
aspect. These results show a trend. However, they do not show the exact distribution of workers in the
district (they are calculated using estimations). They are not comparable with the information available
for the city or for Barcelona as a whole (data from registers).
in 2009, it was established that one of the distinctive
elements of workplaces in @ companies is their high
human capital. On average, 72.5% of employees in @
companies with workplaces in the district were univer-sity
graduates. this figure is significantly higher than
the 37% of the employed population of Catalonia with
higher education qualifications, stated in the labour
force survey (EPa) for the fourth quarter of 2009. the
2009 figures also show that @ companies are with-standing
the impact of the recession better than others.
Managers of such companies were aware of the difficult
context, but most stated that their companies were sta-ble
or growing. therefore, we can conclude that one of
the main objectives of the project is being met: that of
attracting and concentrating economic activity based on
talent, which must act as a catalyst for an economy with
high added value, to better face the current economic
in addition to the establishment of large firms in the
district, small and micro companies have played a key role
in the economic dynamism.
Some company relocations to the neighbourhood
are particularly well-known and attracted media atten-tion.
During 2010 or 2011 alone, companies such as
National geographic, aenor, Marcus Evans, quantum
Solutions, Bassat Ogilvy, CMt and telefónica moved or
were in the process of moving to the area. although
these companies have a strategic value beyond their
quantitative value, much of the success of the 22@
Barcelona initiative is due to the attraction of a large
number of small and even micro companies who see an
opportunity for their projects in the area.
it is calculated that there are currently around 90,000
people working in 22@, which is approximately 10.2%
of the number of workers in the city of Barcelona6. Of
these, 62.5% work in ‘new’ companies that have moved
to the district in the last decade.
approximately 8 out of every 10 companies employ
fewer than 10 workers. Small companies, which employ
between 10 and 49 workers, represent 12% of the total,
whilst medium-sized and large companies that have 50
or more employees represent 5%. if we compare these
Distribution of workers in companies in the 22@ district. 2010
Sample group: 7,064 companies
41.9% of 22@ workers
36.2% of 22@ workers
Revista Econòmica 15
More than 1.7
Between 50 and
Between 10 and
21.9% of 22@ workers
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Source: TC-fieldwork, ‘22@ Barcelona: 10 anys. 2000-2010’. February 2011, and DIRCE 2010.
6. The number of workers in the district is not exact, but is the result of an estima-tion
calculated on the basis of a sample of 1,029 companies for which data are
available on the total number of employees in the company and the number of
employees working in 22@. Using the ratio of the number of workers in the dis-trict
by ranges of company size, and information on the number of employees in
the rest of the companies that are registered, we made the subsequent estimates.
figures with those for the production fabric of the
province of Barcelona (DiRCE), we can see that 22@ has
a higher percentage of medium-sized and large compa-nies
(4.9% compared to 2% in the entire province).
however, these data are on entire companies, not
just the staff at workplaces within 22@. the use of
aggregate data shows that micro companies employ
22% of the workers in the district, whilst small compa-nies
employ 36% and the 160 or so medium-sized and
Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
large companies are responsible for 42%.
Some final considerations
1. the results of actions carried out in the 22@ dis-trict
in its first ten years of existence are clearly positive,
if we consider the initial objectives that were estab-lished.
this is demonstrated by some of the most rele-vant
• the population in the 22@ district increased by
23% in the 2001-2009 period, which is much higher
than the population growth in the city (8%), the metro-politan
area (14%) or the whole of Catalonia (18%).
• Since 2000, approximately 4,500 companies have
set up in the district. when we add this figure to the
2,500 existing companies, the total number of firms in
the zone in 2010 was just over 7,000. Of the 4,500 com-panies
in the district in 2010 that had been installed
during the decade, around 2,150 were start-ups, whilst
the rest had moved from other zones, mainly in the city
of Barcelona itself or its metropolitan area.
• One of the main objectives of the project was to
boost @ activities in the district. these activities include
those related with the iCt sector, research, publishing,
design, culture, multimedia activity, database manage-ment
and knowledge management. the results show
that 17% of companies in the district undertook @
activities in 2001. By 2010, this figure had risen to 31%
of the companies in the district, whilst in Catalonia the
figure for the same year was only 23.6%.
• the specialization due to the increasing presence
of 22@ activities in the district has considerably
increased the human capital that is found there. in total,
72.5% of employees of companies that have workplaces
in the district are university graduates. this is in contrast
to a figure of 37% for the whole of Catalonia.
2. Considerable social consensus has been attained
on actions carried out in the district7. all the political
groups in Barcelona City Council voted in favour of the
change in the general Metropolitan Plan (PgM) to
renew the industrial areas of Poble Nou-District with
22@ activities. the actions that have been progressively
implemented have attained sufficient consensus to be
able to continue with scheduled activities. Disagree -
ments about PERi llacuna, priority reservation for resi-dents
of some of the subsidized flats built in the neigh-bourhood,
and the safeguarding of items of industrial
heritage in the zone are areas of debate in which con-sensus
has been reached.
3. although the territorial area of the 22@ disctrict is
limited, it could be an example of the renewed impor-tance
of considering territories as units of economic
development. this contrasts with economic develop-ment
through the expansion of mass production, in
which large companies sought the most efficient terri-tories
on a global scale. in this case, development with-in
a territory was no longer able to guarantee the devel-opment
of the territory. the rediscovery of an urban and
regional policy has led to a re-evaluation of the role of
social and institutional conditions and the mobilization
of endogenous resources as a way to ensure develop-ment,
together with the factors that have traditionally
been taken into account, including training, innovation,
infrastructures and enterprising ability8.
4. Studies carried out to assess policies implemented
in the 22@ district have focused not on determining
whether they have contributed to attracting activities
such as those classified as @, which is clearly shown by
available data, but on evaluating whether the changes
that have occurred in the district are specific to this zone
7. See M. Martí, ‘El proyecto 22@Barcelona. Glocal governance, renovación
urbana y lucha vecinal en Barcelona’. VII Congreso Español de Ciencia
Política y de la Administración.
8. M. Parellada, prologue to the book El distrito industrial de la cerámica,
A.M. Fuertes (dir), Fundación Dávalos Fletcher, 2005.
or reflect a trend can also be found in the rest of the city
or the metropolitan area. Comparisons of the situation
in the district with other districts of Barcelona, the met-ropolitan
area as a whole or towns with industrial spe-cialization
close to the central city show that there are
slightly different positive effects in 22@. in addition, the
results show that economies of location, that is,
economies that value the importance of proximity to
other companies in the same sector, have been relevant
to determine the location of companies that carry out @
therefore, although the 22@ project has only been
implemented for a relatively short period of time and
the attraction of the 22@ district is evidently dependent
on the attraction of the Barcelona metropolitan area, the
results obtained to date can only be classed as positive.
5. the importance of location factors in the
Barcelona metropolitan area and the development of
new territorial areas whose characteristics make them
suitable for policies similar to those implemented in the
22@ district (for example, in the city of Barcelona itself,
the impact of the la Sagrera station and the Bz
Barcelona innovation zone project in zona Franca; and
in the metropolitan area, the Barcelona Synchrotron
Park around the alba synchrotron and the DeltaBCN
aerospace and Mobility Park) mean that is it reasonable
to consider the promotion of location policies for new
economic activities that include the offer of land
required for these urban development activities in the
city of Barcelona itself and in the metropolitan area. the
desire to promote all of these areas together under the
brand ‘Barcelona Economic triangle’, the experience
gained in the 22@ district, the potential represented by
the provision of land for the aforementioned projects
and those that could be developed, and the opportuni-ties
for action provided by an entity such as the
Barcelona metropolitan area are all essential factors that
will help to ensure the introduction of economic activi-ties
Revista Econòmica 17
associated with the knowledge society.
9. E. Viladecans-Marsal, J.M. Arauzao Carod, ‘Can a knowledge-based clus-ter
be created?. The case of the Barcelona 22@ district’, Papers in Regional
Science, 2011, own publication.
The ‘Barcelona, City of Knowledge’ project
and 22@ Barcelona
Director of the Barcelona Institute of Regional and Metropolitan
18 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
Since the engineer ildefons Cerdà’s plan for the
reform and expansion of Barcelona in 1859, the city has
undergone various urban development interventions of
great scope that have made it a benchmark for scholars
of urban phenomena. Some notable examples are the
Jaussely Plan of 1905, le Corbusier’s Macià Plan of 1934
(which was not implemented, due to the Civil war), the
general Metropolitan Plan of 1976, and the transforma-tion
that took place as a result of the Olympic games of
1992. Major international events, such as the universal
Exhibition of 1888 and that of 1929 (on electrical indus-tries)
were also major drivers of economic and urban
development.1 the transformation of Poblenou that
began in 1998, together with the opening up of
avinguda Diagonal to the sea and the universal Forum
of Cultures, constitute, in my understanding, an impor-tant
link in this chain of plans and projects. in particular,
what is known internationally as the 22@ Barcelona
project has aroused great interest in the field of urban
development and in that of local economic develop-ment.
the redevelopment of the industrial areas in the
Poblenou-22@ BCN District of activities must be con-sidered
within the context of economic and urban devel-opment
operations of greater scope, known as the
‘Barcelona, City of knowledge’ project, which is promot-ed
by Barcelona City Council.
the aim of this article is to identify the economic
model underlying the urban development proposal of
22@. this model is characterized by the internationaliza-tion
of the economy, the tertiarization of activity, the
increasing flexibility of production, and the emergence of
a new technological paradigm based on information and
Barcelona, which is one of the few cities in southern
Europe that was in the front line of the commercial rev-olution
in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and
played a leading role in Spain in the industrial revolution
during the second third of the nineteenth century2, faced
at the end of the twentieth century a new technological
and organizational revolution known as the knowledge
the economy and urban planning must adapt to the
new production context. in particular, zoning, which is
one of the main instruments of urban planning, must be
altered to fit the new reality of production. zoning,
which emerged as a central tool of functionalist urban
development, must be adapted to the new reality, and
along with it planning must be modified. we can no
longer seek specialization in zones by defining uses on
the basis of a classification of production sectors (specifi-cally
in industrials zones) into ‘what’ they produce. to
1. Joan Busquets, Barcelona. la Construcción urbanística de una ciudad
compacta, Ediciones del Serbal, Barcelona 2004.
2. Jordi Nadal has developed these arguments in different studies. On
Poblenou and its evolution since the industrial revolution see: Jordi Nadal
and Xavier Tafunell, Sant Martí de Provençals: pulmó industrial de
Barcelona, 1847-1992, Ed. Columna, 1992.
3. For information on the knowledge economy and the city, and on measure-ment
of the knowledge economy in urban areas and its application to
Barcelona see: Joan Trullén, Josep Lladós and Rafael Boix, ‘Economía del
conocimiento, ciudad y competitividad’, investigaciones Regionales, no.
1, 2002, p. 139-161.
generate increasing yields, we should not try to achieve
vertical integration in large production plants, sector
zoning and radical separation of uses. instead, we
should generate economies outside the company that
come from different sectors and converge in the territo-ry.
the important factor is no longer ‘what’ is produced,
but ‘how’ it is produced. as giacomo Becattini stated, to
understand the keys to contemporary economic devel-opment,
the unit of analysis should shift from ‘sector’ to
Revista Econòmica 19 de Catalunya
Production has moved away from large industrial
production plants that incorporate most of the produc-tion
stages and added value. the focus has shifted from
specialized industrial cities. instead, the form of produc-tion
in the knowledge economy shall essentially be flex-ible
and have a considerable intangible component. in
this form of production, the city plays an important role:
it provides the urban dimension that generates
economies associated with diversity; and economies of
location are associated with the integration in a territory
of groups of innovative companies dedicated to specific
the cities compete more than the companies.5
therefore, the conditions need to be created so that
dynamic external economies can emerge in the territory
of a metropolis. the dimension of metropolis is relevant,
as is the grouping of innovative companies into clusters
and Marshallian industrial districts. these territorial fac-tors
are crucial to competitiveness.6
therefore, old spaces with industrial zoning that are
situated in central areas could be used for new produc-tion
activities under certain conditions. this notion goes
far beyond the concept of a digital or information city
proposed at the beginning of the 1990s in some scientific
circles. here what we are talking about is the city of
2. The ‘Barcelona, City of Knowledge’ project
the Barcelona, City of knowledge project is the main
focus of Barcelona’s economic and urban development
policy after the Olympic project. the Barcelona project
gave rise to what would later become known as the 22@
Barcelona project. Joan Clos, who was chosen to replace
Pasqual Maragall as Mayor of Barcelona in September
1997, made the concept of ‘city of knowledge’ a guiding
principle of municipal government action:
Barcelona must be faithful to its tradition of moderni-ty,
which has been demonstrated so many times
throughout its history, and must accept that the
knowledge revolution shall be a driving force in this
part of the world. Barcelona is in a favourable situa-tion
to position itself as a leader.7
in response to this idea, an ad hoc structure was cre-ated
in October 1998 to promote the new project, with
the appointment of two commissioners: one for urban
planning and one for the economy.8 after the elections
of May 1999, the post of councillor for the City of
knowledge was created and headed by vladimir de
Semir. the Municipal action Programme 2000-2003
described the objective of making Barcelona a city of
the economic context in which this proposal arose
was strongly influenced by two fundamental factors:
weakening of the major impetus of the Olympics, which
boosted economic activity between 1986 and 1992; and
the recession of 1993-1995, which had a severe effect on
Barcelona until 1996. Barcelona needed to turn towards
new objectives and the focus became the concept of the
city of knowledge. the adoption of a proactive strategy
has characterized municipal economic policy since 1998.
4. Giacomo Becattini, ‘Del ‘sector’ industrial al ‘districte’ industrial. Algunes
consideracions sobre la unitat d’anàlisi de l’economia industrial’, Revista
Econòmica de Catalunya, no. 1, 1986. Michael Porter’s clusters or groups
of innovative companies are concepts that are very similar to Becattini’s
notion of ‘Marshallian industrial district’.
5. Roberto Camagni, Economia urbana, Antoni Bosch (editor), 2005.
6. Joan Trullén, ‘Factors territorials de competitivitat a la Regió Me tro po li ta -
na de Barcelona’ in Revista Econòmica de Catalunya, no. 34, January
1998, p. 34-51.
7. Joan Clos. ‘Una ciutat amb idees’, Barcelona, Metròpolis Mediterrània, no.
1. Monograph on Barcelona, City of Knowledge, 2001, p. 4. The reference was
to Richard V. Knight (1995): ‘Knowledge-Based Development: Policy and
Planning Implications for Cities’, urban Studies, 32.
8. José Antonio Acebillo, Director of Barcelona Regional, Commissioner for
Infrastructure and Urban Planning, and Joan Trullén, Commissioner for
Economic and Territorial Assessment and Diagnosis for the Barcelona, City
of Knowledge project were appointed by Resolution of the Mayor’s Office,
22 October 1998.
in this line, the economic strategy was based on the
emergence of ‘a new macroeconomic context from the
time of integration into the monetary union, with a
reduction in nominal and real interest rates that would
facilitate the adoption of strategic changes, which would
necessarily involve the mobilization of considerable
financial resources’9. unlike the pattern found in many
Spanish municipalities, Barcelona would not prioritize
residential construction, but a change in the economic
basis, supported by new concepts of urban development.
Preparatory work on the new strategy began in the
mid-1990s. in fact, the Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
published two monographs in issues 33 and 34 on La
Barcelona metropolitana: economia i planejament
[Metro poli tan Barcelona: economy and planning]. the
issues contained eighteen articles that described the
state-of-the-art in these matters and in other related
areas such as finances, ecology, demography and
mobility in the metropolis10. the aim was to identify
elements that could be used to construct a new story
after the Olympic project, which had put Barcelona on
the world map for the first time. a change in scale of
the Barcelona metropolitan area was detected, as well
as Barcelona’s new role as a central supplier of servic-es
to the network of metropolitan cities, and the con-siderable
competitive capacity of a metropolis in
which SMEs are predominant, due to the existence of
territorial factors of competitiveness. a new story
needed to be created to bring together the city’s strat-egy.
and this story would be defined in a new project
20 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
for the city: Barcelona, City of knowledge.
Next, we will highlight some of the main points of
the urban development strategy.11 First, the city of
Barcelona’s function as a central server for the metropol-itan
area was identified. in other words, the city needed
to adopt functions of a tertiary nature, and consequent-ly
traditional industrial and logistic uses would be
replaced by tertiary ones. Second, the city should expand
not towards the west, as it had in the past, but towards
the east. to achieve this, two actions were required:
avinguda Diagonal needed to be opened to the sea, and
Poblenou needed to be transformed. the third point was
to associate this new strategy with a major infrastructure
decision: to make la Sagrera the central station for a
new high-speed train, and thus opt to redevelop the
Besòs area and the triangle Sagrera-Besòs-Front
Marítim. a singular building (the Jean Nouvel water
tower) would act as a sign of the new direction of urban
growth of Barcelona towards the east.12
the economic and territorial strategy of the
Barcelona, City of knowledge project was drawn up
between October 1998 and May 1999. an executive
summary was subsequently published without the sta-tistical
workings in the monographic issue of the journal
Barcelona, Metròpoli Mediterrània, [Barcelona, Medi ter ra -
nean Metropolis] in 2001, which was dedicated to the
City of knowledge project.13
a description of Barcelona’s economic model and a
specific analysis of the city and the knowledge economy
were published in 2001 by Barcelona City Council in the
book La Metròpoli de Barcelona cap a l’economia del conei-xement:
diagnosi econòmica i territorial de Barcelona 2001
9. The new financial framework that was emerging was comparable to that
found at the start of the twentieth century with the repatriation of capital
from Cuba and the Philippines, which provided the opportunity to fund one
of Barcelona’s biggest urban development operations: the urban reform and
construction of the Via Laietana road. This point had been debated in one of
the last urban strategy councils chaired by Pasqual Maragall. The transfor-mation
of Poblenou was a project of comparable financial magnitude to the
urban reform of Via Laietana eighty years earlier. On the funding of the
reform and construction of Via Laietana, see Francesc Roca i Rosell, Política
econòmica i territori a Catalunya, 1901-1939, Ed. Ketres, Barcelona 1979.
10. These issues were presented at Barcelona City Council’s Saló de Cent in
11. The urban planning strategy would mainly be defined by José Antonio
Acebillo. The subsequent urban transformation project for Poblenou, led by
Ramón García-Bragado, had to be in line with this strategy. Xavier Casas, the
deputy mayor and the president of the Commission for Urban Planning,
Infrastructures and Housing would play a central role in the urban develop-ment
of Barcelona between 1998 and 2008, particularly that of Poblenou. See
Ramón Garcia-Bragado, in the preface of the book 22@ Barcelona. 10 anys
de renovació urbana, Barcelona, 2011.
12. The group of specialists who drew up the Modification of the General
Metropolitan Plan for redeveloping the industrial areas of Poblenou,
approved in July 2007, was comprised of the Urban Planning Manager,
Ramón García-Bragado (who proposed the 22@ name for the project), the
architects Ricard Fayos, Àurea Guillén and Pau Batlle, the economists
Rafael González Tormo and Joaquim Clusa, who drew up the economic and
financial study, and the jurists Enric Lambies and Sònia Cobos. See the
preface of the book 22@ Barcelona. 10 anys de renovació urbana,
13. This monograph includes different contributions that together give an idea of
the nature of the project. It includes studies on ICT (Tere Serra), R&D (Jordi
[the Metropolis of Barcelona towards the knowledge
Economy: an Economic and territorial analysis of
the economic and territorial strategy is set out in the
study ‘Projecte Barcelona Ciutat del Coneixement.
informe Final. Elements per a una diagnosi econòmica i
territorial’ [Barcelona, City of knowledge Project. Final
Report. Elements for an economic and territorial analy-sis],
published by the Department of applied
Economics, uaB, on 26 May 1999. this study was part of
a programme of research on the urban and metropolitan
economy of Barcelona.15 the main hypotheses and pro-posals
Revista Econòmica 21 de Catalunya
are given below.
a) the importance of know-how and knowledge to
explain the generation of added value in advanced
economies and the continuity of production. together
with labour and capital, knowledge will gain relevance
as a production factor. intangibles such as education are
increasingly important. the relevance of capital is dimin-ishing.
Codified knowledge is becoming less important.
b) Skilled labour is becoming more important than
unskilled labour. ‘tangible’ capital is increasingly
c) the growing importance of increasing yields in
industrial and service sector production, which leads to
further specialization of territories. the technical
change is occurring both in industrial and service sec-tors.
For the first time, economies of scale, scope and
network are affecting the service sector considerably
d) the importance of territorial factors to explain the
continuity of industrial and service sector production.16
the notion of a knowledge-based economy is further
reaching than the concept of an ‘information society’. it
not only includes knowledge of a scientific nature or
from advanced research, but also knowledge of different
production areas. it distinguishes between information
(codified knowledge) and non-codified or non-codifi-able
in Barcelona, one opportunity to exploit was the exis-tence
of a strong tradition of industrial know-how, built
on a foundation of arts and trades and a worldwide rep-utation
in design and art, and in fields related to medi-cine
and health, training and knowledge transmission.
Some of these areas will be brought together in clusters
or groups of innovative companies based in Poblenou.
On the basis of works by Masahisa Fujita and
takatoshi tabuchi, a process of recentralization of
knowledge-intensive production activities was identified
in large metropolises, in contrast to trends in the 1970s
and 1980s, which showed greater growth of medium-sized
cities. Considerable economies of agglomeration
would emerge that would generally boost the process of
relocation of the most knowledge-intensive activities to
the centres of large metropolises.
Behind the growth in economies of agglomeration
lies: economies of scale in the provision of public servic-es
(international airports, major ports, large hospitals,
large universities and research centres) and economies
of location (through cross-fertilization as in Jacobs, spe-
18. Camí), 22@ BCN (Ramón García-Bragado), indicators for ‘Barcelona, City of
Knowledge’ (M. Antònia Monés), urban ecology (Salvador Rueda), economic
activity and employment in the Barcelona as a city of knowledge (Maravillas
Rojo), culture (Ferran Mascarell) and education and training in the knowledge
society (Marina Subirats). The Technical Programming Unit of Barcelona City
Council, headed by M. Antònia Monés, drew up a series of indicators for cen-tral
themes in the new strategy, including the penetration of ICT and the
Internet, the quantification of advanced business services, knowledge centres, and
ICT production, among others. A map of the city of knowledge was drawn up
for Barcelona, which precisely identified the the presence in the territory of edu-cational
centres, libraries, theatres, museums, auditoriums, exhibition rooms, and
highlighted the uneven distribution is the municipality of the offering of these
services, particularly in the Sant Martí, Nou Barris and Sant Andreu districts.
14. Joan Trullén, la metròpoli de Barcelona cap a l’economia del coneix-ement:
diagnosi econòmica i territorial de Barcelona 2001.
Ajuntament de Barcelona, Gabinet Tècnic de Programació, Barcelona
2001, with foreword by M. Antònia Monés.
15. This programme of research in the UAB’s Department of Applied
Economics resulted in various publications, such as the Pla Delta i. El
16. model econòmic i territorial de Barcelona (1995) and Noves estratè-gies
econòmiques i territorials per a Barcelona (1998). These studies
were promoted by Narcisa Salvador until 1998 and by M. Antònia
Monés from 1999, from Barcelona City Council’s Technical Programming
Unit. In addition, Carola Adam collaborated extensively (with Natividad
Hernández, Hugo Fuentes and Guillermo Gandara, among others) and
subsequently Rafael Boix (with José Antonio Santana and Rafa Porcar).
Rafael Boix headed the study ‘Barcelona ciutat del Coneixement.
Economia del coneixement, tecnologies de la informació i de la comuni-cació,
i noves estratègies urbanes’, Barcelona City Council’s Technical
Programming Unit, 2004.
16. Projecte Barcelona Ciutat del Coneixement, May 1999, p. 17.
17. Knowledge includes both categories and codes for interpreting the infor-mation
itself, abilities or specializations with tacit content, and solutions
to problems or research of a heuristic nature that cannot be well defined
by algorithms. See Moses Abramovitz and Paul A. David, technological
Change and the Rise of intangible investments: the uS economy’s
growth Path in the twentieth Century, 1997.
cialization in certain activities or Marshall, arrow and
Romer externalities). in addition, the increasing impor-tance
of network economies has also been detected
22 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
(Roberto Camagni, Carlo Salone).18
the ‘Barcelona, City of knowledge’ study identified a
change in economic base in Barcelona, and detected
some trends, including the following:
a) loss of relative importance of industry and its
metropolitan decentralization. two thirds of the metro-politan
industrial base are outside of Barcelona. Con se -
quent ly, Barcelona increasingly acts as a service provider
for the metropolis.
b) greater cyclical sensitivity in industry than in
c) Sharp increase in the demand for land for knowl-edge-
intensive tertiary activities.
d) Poly-nuclear nature of the metropolis of Bar ce lo -
na, with considerable concentrations of industrial activi-ties
in historic metropolitan towns and cities, and con-centrations
of the tertiary sector in Barcelona itself.
e) the metropolis is not a city of cities, but a poly-nuclear
metropolitan area that is diverse in general, but
specialized in certain production activities in its main
nodes. Barcelona has strong economies of location for
many tertiary activities. this is considered to be highly
relevant in the new strategy of the city of knowledge,
promoted by the municipality of Barcelona 19.
f) Spending on research and development has been
found to be insufficient in comparison with other
European metropolises. Shortfalls have also been found
in the stock of human capital per employee. Con se -
quent ly, these areas need to be strengthened.
the strategic consequence of this evaluation is clear:
‘Barcelona, as the central city of a poly-nuclear metro-politan
region, must strengthen its specialization in
knowledge-intensive activities’20. this has an economic
and territorial consequence:
The traditional urban economic strategy of Barcelona
was based on the fact that the predominant economic
activity was manufacturing, and that zoning of land
uses in the central city of the metropolis was essential
to maintain manufacturing activities. To pass from an
industrial manufacturing model to a model adapted to
the technological revolution, it is essential to open up
the 22a zoning to these new activites, to protect their
production and employment base.21
the sixth section of the document is on ‘Poblenou,
technological District’. it proposes the establishment in
Poblenou - and within a new scientific, technical and
cultural axis that covers Nou Barris, Sant andreu and
Sant Martí - of a new technological district to strategi-cally
locate productive, research, learning and develop-ment
activities that are knowledge-intensive. the instru-ments
proposed to meet this objective include those of a
town planning nature and those of a university and
research and development nature. Furthermore, to
implement this proposal to attract new technological
activities of a scientific, technical and cultural nature, a
new industrial land policy needed to be defined to
include these activities in the industrial zoning: ‘the
notion of sector must be replaced by that of activity, to
promote knowledge- and employment-intensive
activites in old zones with 22a designation’.22
One of the main arguments in all of this debate is
that the new knowledge-intensive activities are more
employment-intensive than industrial manufacturing
together with a specific approach centred on land
uses, we should focus on the importance of creating an
environment with a high quality of urban development
in the Poblenou zone that includes ‘educational services
to cater for a population from different countries and
cultures with a high degree of mobility’.23
to strengthen new research and development activi-ties,
a new university centre for teaching and research
needs to be created in Poblenou. to achieve this, land
must be provided to meet the space requirements of
these uses, and new forms of managing these services
18. A later systematization can be found in la metròpoli de Barcelona cap
a l’economia del coneixement: diagnosi econòmica i territorial de
Barcelona 2001, Chapter 3.
19. Projecte Barcelona Ciutat del Coneixement, May 1999, p. 22.
20. Ibid., p. 29.
21. Ibid., p. 29.
22. Ibid., p. 31.
23. Ibid., p. 32.
will be needed to facilitate interaction with the environ-ment,
in a context of transition from the humboldtian
Revista Econòmica 23 de Catalunya
university to the post-humboldtian.24
3. Zoning based on the knowledge economy in the
22@ Barcelona strategy
the new economic and territorial strategy laid out in
the Barcelona, City of knowledge project has an impor-tant
consequence for urban development: the need to
increase the land available for knowledge-intensive
activities, particularly in the municipality of Barcelona.
however, much of the land available for locating eco-nomic
activity in Barcelona is designated in the general
Metropolitan Plan as industrial.
Studies on the location of economic activities in the
metropolitan area indicate that the demand for industri-al
land in the municipality of Barcelona has decreased,
whilst the demand for land for the service sector has
increased considerably.25 in addition, service sector activ-ities
have two essential characteristics: high employment
density and high demand for centrality. this opens the
door to reusing old industrial land for new service sector
Furthermore, there was a considerable amount of
industrial land available in central zones of the metrop-olis,
particularly in the districts situated in the north and
east of Barcelona. this land is classified as industrial and
is designated as 22a in the general Metropolitan Plan
(PgM). this is consistent with an economic model based
on the specialization of Barcelona in manufacturing pro-duction.
the aim is now to modify this traditional zoning
instrument to adapt it to the new strategy of Barcelona
as a city of knowledge: ‘to pass from an industrial man-ufacturing
model to a model adapted to the new tech-nological
revolution, it is essential to open up the 22a
zoning to these activites, to protect their production and
however, the question was how to achieve this. the
aim was not simply to expand the activities in the 22a
zoning to include iCt activities, but to incorporate a
wide range of activities that are ‘knowledge-intensive’.
teams of engineers who worked on the definition of the
@ activities, led by Miquel Barceló, had a vision that was
focused on iCt in particular, and based on the constitu-tion
of a ‘digital city’, along the lines of cities such as
Bangalore or projects such as that of Silicon alley in New
york or the Cyber district of Boston.28 however, now the
aim is to adopt a more general vision, based on the prin-ciples
of the knowledge economy, and implemented
according to the new paradigm.
indeed, the classical zoning is based on the notion of
a production sector defined by the characteristics of
what it produces. the new zoning should be based on
‘how’ it is produced, in accordance with the criteria in
the paradigm of the knowledge economy. if we had
opted for a highly precise definition of @ activities as
those that are strictly related to the production of infor-mation
and communication technologies, then an
extension of the existing list of activities of a manufac-turing
nature by incorporating iCt manufacture and
services would have been sufficient. in contrast, if we
adopt a vision of the knowledge economy, as foreseen
by the OECD, then activities that produce iCt and those
24. Here the main reference was the OECD document Science,
technology, industry. university Research in transition, Paris, 1998,
p. 7 and 8. A document by Pedro Conseiçao, Manuel V. Heitor and Pedro
Olivera was also used, entitled: ‘Expectations for the University in the
Knowledge-based Economy’, and published in technological
Forecasting and Social Science, 58, 1998, p. 203-214.
25. Joan Trullén (1998): Noves estratègies econòmiques i territorials per
a Barcelona, p. 20.
26. On changes in employment demand in Barcelona see ‘Tendències de l’ocu-pació
a Barcelona a partir de INSS i IAE (1993-1997)’, research agree-ment
between Barcelona Activa and the UAB, Joan Trullén with Rafael
Boix and Juan Antonio Santana, Department of Applied Economics, 25
September 1998, duplicated.
27. ‘Introducció: la nova zona 22@ i la ciutat del coneixement’, Chapter 2 of
the ‘Modificació del PGM per a la renovació de les àrees industrials del
Poblenou-Districte d’Activitats 22@BCN’.
28. Studies that were first promoted by Miquel Barceló from the Catalan
Institute of Technology and then by the 22@ Barcelona development com-pany,
on the introduction of ICT in Barcelona and in the metropolitan
area, were essential to define the technological and business strategy of
Poblenou, and, in particular, the initial list of @ activities. In addition,
Barceló boosted the location of the Catalan Institute of Technology in
Poblenou, and was behind the technological drive focused on information
and communication technologies. A detailed description of the project and
its relation with the model of the digital city can be found in Antoni Oliva,
El districte d’activitats 22@bcn, Aula Barcelona, Barcelona, 2003.
that intensively use iCt and have highly qualified
human capital should be included. this latter perspec-tive
requires new dynamics, and is supported by the
‘Barcelona, City of knowledge’ document and other
previous economics studies.
therefore, on the basis of studies on the location of
economic activity, it was argued that much of the
demand for land in Poblenou would be for non-indus-trial
activities that are mid- to high-tech or high-tech,
and services in particular.29 these activities have one fun-damental
characteristic: they have very high employ-ment
therefore, a proposal was made to adopt the
OECD’s notion of knowledge economy, set out in its
document OECD Science, Technology and Industry
Scoreboard 1999: Benchmarking Knowledge-based
Economies. this led to the adoption of general criteria
rather than just lists of the sectors and subsectors
defined in national classifications of economic activi-ties;
and to the use of a method for approving propos-als
that required the formation of an advisory commis-sion
to evaluate whether proposed activities met the
Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
in its first document to propose how to measure
knowledge-based economies, the OECD warned of the
adoption of simplistic criteria:
The importance of technology-based activities has
often been approximated by the share of high-technol-ogy
industries in manufacturing. However, this
approach focuses only on the main producers of
It is desirable to include otehr activities that are inten-sive
users of high technology and/or have the rela-tively
highly skilled workforce that is required to ben-efit
fully from technological innovations. Therefore, in
addition to the commonly identified manufacturing
industries, service activities such as finance, insurance
and communications are included here.
this approach went far beyond what was initially
established and what emerged from the model of a dig-ital
these activities were identified by the acronym Citi
and the categories 72 (communications), 8 (bank insur-ance,
estate agents and business services) and 9 (com-munity
services, social services and personal services).
Consequently, a criterion was adopted that enabled a
wide range of service sectors to be included in the @
Finally, the approved text included in detail a wide
range of iCt manufacturing and service activities, and
also referred in general to ‘those other tertiary activities
that are based on knowledge and increase competitive-ness,
according to the OECD Science, Technology and
Industry Scoreboard 1991, page 18, particularly in techno-logical,
commercial and financial areas’.32
this important amendment was accompanied by the
adoption of a list of criteria that @ activities had to meet,
which are as follows33:
a) use production processes characterized by inten-sive
use of new technology resources.
b) have a high employment density (number of
workers or users/area).
c) generate added value.
d) Be directly related to the generation, processing
and transmission of information and knowledge.
e) Not pollute or be a nuisance, and be suitable for
central urban environments.
the decision to include a reference to new knowl-edge-
intensive activities and to potential changes in the
OECD method, and to establish some principles or gen-
29. ‘Noves estratègies...’ p. 20 and 21.
30. A comprehensive study was carried out on the location of economic
activities in Barcelona, in the district of Sant Martí and the blocks of
Poblenou, based on the business tax and covering the period 1992-
1997. The study revealed a trend of deindustrialization and ter-tiarization
and examined at two-digit level the area of the blocks in
Poblenou. See Joan Trullén and Rafael Boix, ‘Tendències recents de
l’activitat econòmica al Poblenou de Barcelona a partir de les dades de
l’impost d’activitats econòmiques’, collaboration agreement between
Barcelona City Council and the UAB, Department of Applied
31. See Miquel Barceló and Antoni Oliva, la ciudad digital, Pacte Industrial
de la Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona, Beta Editorial, L’Hospitalet de
Llobregat, 2002, p. 121.
32. Modificació del PGM per a la renovació de les àrees industrials del
Poblenou-Districte d’Activitats 22@BCN, p. 249. Annex 1. Relació d’ac-tivitats
33. Ibidem Art. 7.2, p. 227.
eral criteria for assessing whether an economic activity
was suitable for inclusion within @ activities, required
the creation of decision-making procedures that were
different to those that had been used up to that point in
Barcelona’s urban planning regulations. Specifically, it
was agreed to create an advisory commission, comprised
of people of recognized technical and professional abili-ty
in the area of iCt, the information society, and the
knowledge economy. this commission would be
appointed by the Mayor of Barcelona, and would have
three objectives: report on the special plans that would
have to develop @ activities, propose updates to the list
of @ activities and assess, in cases of doubt or impreci-sion,
whether or not an activity met the criteria estab-lished
in the @ regulations.
4. Conclusion: Poblenou, 22@ Barcelona District
in this article, we focus on the inclusion of the
process of redevelopment of the industrial areas of
Poblenou and 22@ Barcelona in a broader project to
transform Barcelona, which was drawn up between
1999 and 2000 and which is known as Barcelona, City
of knowledge. this project not only covers strategic
aspects of economy and urban planning, but also a
wide range of fields such as technology, research and
development, culture, education, employment and
Barcelona’s new strategy is based on economic and
urban planning theories brought together in the princi-ples
of a new urban economy (the cities compete,
according to Roberto Camagni) and a new theory of
Marshallian industrial districts (the old criteria of classi-fying
activities by sectors no longer apply, as many of
the advantages are in the ‘district’, says giacomo
if the key is not the ‘sector’ but the ‘district’, then
urban zoning must change. the old system of zoning
designation identified the sector as the basic economic
category. however, in the redevelopment of Poblenou a
new classification of ‘activities’ is proposed that
includes iCt and service activities that are ‘knowledge-intensive’,
according to the OECD definition.
to pass from an industrial manufacturing model to a
model of knowledge economy, it is essential to open up
the new zoning to these activites, to promote a new
production base with high employment density. this
will lead to the introduction of the new ‘district of
activities’ 22@ Barcelona, within the general project of
‘Barcelona, City of knowledge’, of which the district
aBRaMOvitz, MOSES, & DaviD, Paul a. (1996), ‘technological Change
and the Rise of intangible investments: the uS Economy’s growth-path
in the twentieth Century,’ Employment and Growth in the
Knowledge-based Economy, Paris: OECD.
aCEBillO, JOSé aNtONiO (1998), ‘Barcelona: servidor central de la
xarxa metropolitana de ciutats’ in Revista Econòmica de Catalunya, no.
34, pp. 96-106.
BaRCEló, MiquEl, aND Oliva, aNtONi, (2002) La ciudad digital. Pacto
Industrial de la Región Metropolitana de Barcelona, l’hospitalet de
llobregat: Beta editorial.
BaRCElONa, MEtRòPOli MEDitERRàNia Monograph dedicated to
‘Projecte Barcelona Ciutat del Coneixement’, ajuntament de
BECattiNi, giaCOMO, (1986) ‘Del “sector” industrial al “districte”
industrial. algunes consideracions sobre la unitat d’anàlisi de l’econo-mia
industrial’, Revista Econòmica de Catalunya, no. 1.
BOiX, RaFaEl, (2006) Barcelona ciutat del coneixement. Economia del
coneixement, tecnologies de la informació i de la comunicació, i noves estratè-gies
urbanes, gabinet tècnic de Programació, ajuntament de Barcelona.
BuSquEtS, JOaN, (2004) Barcelona. la construcción urbanística de
una ciudad compacta, Barcelona: Serbal.
CaMagNi, ROBERtO, (2005) Economia urbana, antoni Bosch Editor.
ClOS, JOaN, (2001) ‘una ciutat amb idees’, Barcelona, metròpolis
mediterrània monographs, no. 1. Barcelona : ajuntament de Barcelona.
àrea de Relacions Ciutadanes.
CONSEiçaO, PEDRO; hEitOR, MaNuEl v. aND OlivERa, PEDRO, (1998)
‘Expectations for the university in the knowledge-based Economy’,
Technological Forecasting and Social Science, 58, p. 203-214.
gaRCía-BRagaDO, RaMóN, (2011) 22@Barcelona. 10 anys de renovació
urbana [prologue], Barcelona, 2011: ajuntament de Barcelona.
kNight, RiChaRD v. (1995). ‘knowledge-Based Development: Policy
and Planning implications for cities’, Urban Studies, 32.
Modificació del Pla general metropolità per a la renovació de les àrees
industrials del Poblenou, districte d’activitats 22@BCN. Definitively
approved by agreement of the Subcomissió d’urbanisme del Municipi
de Barcelona on 27 July 2000 (DOgC no. 3239 de 5/10/2000).
Revista Econòmica 25 de Catalunya
NaDal, JORDi i taFuNEll, XaviER, (1992) Sant Martí de Provençals:
pulmó industrial de Barcelona, 1847-1992, Barcelona: Ed. Columna.
OECD (1998) Science, Technology, Industry. University Research in
Oliva, aNtONi, (2003) El districte d’activitats 22@bcn, Barcelona: aula
ROCa i ROSEll, FRaNCESC, (1979) Política econòmica i territori a
Catalunya, 1901-1939, Barcelona: Ed. ketres.
tRulléN, JOaN, (1998) ‘Factors territorials de competitivitat a la
Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona’, Revista Econòmica de Catalunya, no.
34, January 1998, p. 34-51.
tRulléN, JOaN (1998): Noves estratègies econòmiques i territorials per a
Barcelona, Barcelona: ajuntament de Barcelona, gabinet tècnic de
tRulléN, JOaN; BOiX, RaFaEl aND SaNtaNa, JuaN aNtONiO, (1998)
Tendències de l’ocupació a Barcelona a partir de INSS i IAE (1993-1997),
Research agreement between Barcelona activa and uaB,
Departament d’Economia aplicada, duplicated.
tRulléN, JOaN, aND BOiX, RaFaEl, (1999) Tendències recents de l’activi-tat
econòmica al Poblenou de Barcelona a partir de les dades de l’Impost
d’Activitats Econòmiques, Partnership agreement between ajuntament
de Barcelona and uaB, Departament d’Economia aplicada.
tRulléN, JOaN, (2001) La metròpoli de Barcelona cap a l’economia del
coneixement: diagnosi econòmica i territorial de Barcelona 2001. Barcelona:
ajuntament de Barcelona, gabinet tècnic de Programació.
tRulléN, JOaN; llaDóS, JOSEP aND BOiX, RaFaEl,(2002) ‘Economía del
conocimiento, ciudad y competitividad’, Investigaciones Regionales,
no. 1, p. 139-161.
26 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
The impact of 22@ on urban development
and real estate: Barcelona’s future central
Introduction: 22@ as a necessary condition to
increase worldwide competitiveness through the size
of the offering and consolidated clusters
at the end of 2000, a major redevelopment operation
started with the definitive approval of the Modification of
the Metropolitan general Plan to redevelop industrial areas
of Poblenou, the 22@ Barcelona district of activities, which
covers an area equivalent to 113 blocks of Cerdà’s Eixample
and has a potential of close to 4 million m2 of floor area. this
operation was to be carried out in a traditional industrial
area that was occupied by around 1.4 million m2 of built floor
area in varying states of physical and functional obsoles-cence
and with an industrial zoning designation (22a). in
general, the existing constructions underutilized a very cen-tral
area that is just 15 minutes from the centre of Barcelona.
Over 4,600 dwellings were also located in the 198-ha
area. these dwellings, which were not fully legal, were kept
in the new plan. the 22@ development increases the hous-ing
stock by around 4,000 dwellings that are subsidized and
on ceded land, with a gross floor area equivalent to 10% of
the total development (0.3 m2 of floor area per m2 of land),
which will be transferred to the City Council from the devel-opment
by law and as its share in the capital gains.
thus, a potential 3.2 million m2 of floor area for econom-ic
activities was put on the market for building high-densi-ty
offices (3 m2 of floor area per m2 of land in the blocks1), as
Sara Mur and Joaquim Clusa
Consulting economists, Mur&Clusa Associats
corresponds to a central business district. this is a necessary
condition for competing in the global real estate market and
attracting new economic activity to the central city, which,
without the critical mass of 22@ and the opportunity to cre-ate
clusters, would have had to mainly locate activities in the
outskirts of the metropolitan area in a more dispersed way.
this highlights the role of Barcelona as the central server in
a system of metropolitan towns and cities, and the focus of
the block is the basic unit for planning and for manag-ing
private initiatives, if there is agreement among over 50%
of the land owners. this unit facilitates the distribution of
profits and charges resulting from the development plan,
which is in proportion with the ownership by existing com-panies.
it also provides sufficient flexibility to adapt the
offering to the needs of the real estate market. the plan that
the City Council began to implement in four predetermined
areas and the move of activities to the district are additional
incentives for the development of private initiative.
From an economic perspective, the plot ratio incen-tive
(up to 2.7 m2 of floor area per m2 of land for @ activ-ities
in the new economy and 2.2 m2 of floor area/m2
land for other service sector uses, such as hotels, exclud-ing
industrial activity and storage) generates capital
gains to cover compensation for relocations (around
€600 per m2 of existing floor area), demolitions, compen-sation
for existing buildings (around €200 per m2 of exist-
(*) The authors are grateful for the interest of the BSAV. The map was includ-ed
thanks to Albert Viladomiu Mangrané, Director of Urban Planning of
the BSAV, and it was drawn up by: email@example.com
1. The plot ratio of 3 m2 of gross floor area/m2 of land is equivalent to a build-ing
area of around 36,000 m2 of floor area above grade in a block of the
Eixample (12,000 m2 of land). This is almost equivalent, for example, to
building a Mapfre Tower (approximately 42,000 m2 of gross floor area
above grade) or an average-sized Corte Inglés of 7 floors above grade of
around 45,000 m2 of gross floor area) and explains the type of building in
the blocks with new constructions.
Revista Econòmica 27 de Catalunya
ing floor area), the costs of urban development within
the block and the proportional contribution to financing
the redevelopment of the entire area, according to the
specifications of the Special infrastructure Plan (PEi) and
which accounts for less than €80 per m2 of floor area
above grade that the corresponding tax ordinance deter-mines
per unit of land area.
the concept of PEi is also an innovation in the man-agement
and private financing of the redevelopment of
the entire area. it determines a high standard of quality for
the electricity supply, telecommunications and waste col-lection.
thus, the capital gains also finance most of the
urban development of the city, with only a minimum con-tribution
of general investment from the City Council’s
current revenue. this funding mechanism was subse-quently
applied to the infrastructure of la Marina del Prat
vermell and is planned for la verneda. it could be applied
in the implementation of urban development plans in the
entire municipality, to finance the city infrastructure that
cannot be assigned to specific sectors.
Naturally, the blocks that have already been trans-formed
or those that are more likely to be transformed in
the future are those that are less dense and close to the
average plot ratio for the previous use (around 1 m2 of
gross floor area (gFa) per m2 of land), as less compensa-tion
needs to be paid. therefore, the time it takes to infill
the area will depend on the market conditions at each
moment to pay the compensation, so the densest blocks
are likely to take longer to develop.
the development of the blocks could be delayed if dis-agreements
arise between companies that are not part of
the initial majority initiative. Such disagreements are gen-erally
due to compensation, as the financing of the new
development could be covered by property developers
who buy the land from the current owner. although the
compensation committees have legal instruments for
paying compensation to the minority owner, this does not
mean that arguments will not arise that could delay the
development of the whole block or sector.
Development in blocks also helps to surpass the mini-mum
standards of general urban planning regulations, as
20% of the block or area is set aside for open spaces and
10% for all kinds of facilities, including newly created ones
that are of a 22@ nature.
land transfers are neutral in relation to the sale price of
the real estate product, as the residual unit value of the plots
is the derived demand based on the the sale price of the
final product. the business costs, the profit from the promo-tion,
and the absolute price of plots only depends on the
plot ratio attributed in the plans and the unit price.
the dimension of the 22@ district can be compared to
la Défense in Paris2, which is advertised as the biggest
international business district in Europe and is centrally
situated3. in an area of 564 ha4, a total of 3.4 million m2 of
offices, 0.95M m2 of commercial floor area and 0.95 M m2
of dwellings have been constructed in this area since the
1960s. there is a total of 4.4 M m2 of gross floor area for
economic activity, 185,000 workplaces and 20,000 resi-dents.
today, the headquarters of 12 of the 50 biggest
multinational companies in the world are located in the
Île-de-France area, with 50 million m2 of offices.
the 3.2 M m2 of gross floor area of 22@ represents 72%
of the floor area for economic activity in la Défense and
could house 133,000 workplaces in the future using an
equivalent standard (24 m2 of gross floor area per work
place). although the total area will only be 35% of that of
la Défense and the average plot ratio will be around dou-ble,
the comparison is appropriate as it highlights the
scope and development opportunities of 22@. the dimen-sions
of office space in towns in the Barcelona metropoli-tan
area, with 12.2 M m2(5) (of which 7.3 M m2 of gross floor
area corresponds to the municipality of Barcelona), are
smaller than the 50 million m2 in Île-de-France stated in
information on la Défense, given the differences in the
level of rent, the degree of tertiarization of the economy,
and the effect of its capital status.
all the main urban agglomerations in the world aim to
expand their central business districts in locations as close
Document ‘Enjoy La Défense Seine Arche’. May 2011.
3. They advertise that the district is 10 minutes from the centre of Paris and
30 minutes from the airports in public transport.
4. With 31 ha of open area and 11 ha of green spaces.
5. Information from the Land Registry Office, Technical Programming Unit,
28 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
to the centre as possible. this is also the case of Madrid,
which in 2009 initially approved a zoning plan for the
extension of la Castellana under the slogan ‘the econom-ic
heart of Madrid’6. the 312-ha area has a potential 3.05
million m2 of gross floor area, 45% of which would be for
housing and 55% for economic activity (2.4 M m2 of gross
floor area). the Madrid model differs from that of Paris and
Barcelona basically in the proportions of housing and eco-nomic
activity, which are almost equivalent. however, this
is an issue that could be considered in future plans for
Barcelona or in the modification of current plans.
Consequently, 22@ is a plan with a vision for the
future. it was drawn up to make more floor area available
for the offices the market required, and to encourage the
location of the advanced technology activities that the new
economy needed and continues to need. it has dimen-sions,
location, quality of urban development and innova-tive
systems of financing and management that are com-parable
to the best initiatives carried out worldwide.
the recession that began in the second half of 2007 has
substantially changed the rate of applications for 22@ per-mits.
the rate of annual approval of permits for the 2008-
2010 period (133,105 m2 of gross floor area per year) was
23-27% lower than that in 2002-2007 (122,933 m2 of gFa
per year if 7 years are considered and 143,422 m2 of gFa
from 2002 to 2003). the duration of the low demand will
naturally affect the absorption rate, both in 22@ and in the
other operations in Barcelona that are currently on offer or
in the planning and development stages.
given that construction in 22@ has taken place in four
and a half years of expansion and three and a half years of
contraction, we could consider that the medium-term
demand is in the order of 100,000 m2 of gross floor area per
year in approved permits and around 4,200 new workplaces
per year, using the average standard of la Défense in Paris.
in this article, we deal successively with the following
topics: the forecasts in the initial economic and financial
study in relation to the current results (Section 1); the
offering in 22@ in the context of competing operations in
Barcelona ‘river to river’ (Section 2); the situation of com-petitive
prices and the parameters and opinions in reports
by real estate agents, with reference to some internation-al
prices (Section 3); reference to the economic viability of
the development, according to the influence of the differ-ent
components of the prices and particularly to the com-pensation
and costs of the urban development (Section
4); the potential building area in 22@ up to 2020 (Section
5); the impact of 22@ on the rest of the construction
dynamics in Barcelona, as reflected by the approved
building permits above and below grade (Section 6).
the concluding chapter (Section 7) refers to the
dimension that will be attained by 22@ and the operations
around the la Sagrera station when completed, in the
context of floor area for tertiary activities in the various dis-tricts
of Barcelona and according to the land registry
records. this section supports the hypothesis that the floor
area for economic activity, and certainly the occupation,
will surpass that of the districts of Ciutat vella and the
Eixample, which form the old business centre of Barcelona.
Forecasts and economic hypotheses in the Modified
Metropolitan General Plan (MPGM):
20 years, absorption of 135,000 m2 of gross floor area
per year and economic viability of compensation
‘the main aim of this Economic and Financial Study is
to ensure that the forecasts in the development plan are
met, and to demonstrate that the distribution of charges
and profits is viable, meets the provisions established in
urban development regulations, and is in line with the sit-uation
in the real estate market. in particular, the aim is to
highlight that the development of the “zones”, at the
current and foreseeable value of the real estate market,
and public investment and that from other sources can
adequately finance the “systems” (infrastructure, com-pensation,
urban development and facilities for the com-munity)
required for the urban development.
this document refers particularly to the following
1. Dimension of the new offering of floor area for eco-nomic
activities resulting from the development plan.
Revista Econòmica 29 de Catalunya
Plan of stages
Development of a new potential floor area for production activities
Total potential floor area 2000-2004 2005-2009 2010-2014 2015-2019
Predetermined operations 1,150,833 345,251 460,331 345,251
Optional operations 1,509,021
Encumbrances = <38,000 pts/ potential m2 of gross floor area 901,626 180,324 360,651 180,325 180,326
Encumbrances = > 38,000 pts/potential m2 of gross floor area 607,395 91,109 121,479 212,588 182,219
TOTAL 2,659,654 616,884 942,464 738,164 362,545
2. Demand for floor area for economic activities in
Barcelona and Poblenou.
3. viability of the new urban development charges, to
be financed with the increase in plot ratio.
4. assessment of the viability in real estate terms of the
transformation operations (special plans).’ (From the
amended text for definitive approval of the Modification of
the Metropolitan general Plan, September 2000, pages 1
with respect to the first aspect, the study’s summary
table gives the following figures for potential: ‘if we add the
509,976 m2 of gross floor area of existing housing and local
and @ facilities, the total potential is just over 3,500,000 m2
of gross floor area. the fulfilment of the potential is fore-seen
in 20 years in 2019, at an average rate of 133,000 m2
of floor area for economic activities per year and the con-struction
of around 4,000 subsidized dwellings.’
the following statement was made on the workplace
potential: ‘the new urban planning also provides the
opportunity to increase the number of workplaces located
in Poblenou, which is currently at around 31,000 people,
according to the register for 1996. with an optimistic fore-cast
of a density of 25 m2 of floor area per workplace, the
new production district will house over 91,000 work-places.’
the following should be highlighted: ‘...given that the
annual growth in gDP in these years has been 2.5% on
average; a rate that we can reasonably expect to maintain
in the next ten years and at least enables us to forecast
various economic growth scenarios.’
100% 23% 35% 28% 14%
On the assessment of the offering for economic activ-ity
in Barcelona in 1999, the study stated: ‘For these rea-sons,
Poblenou’s share in the dynamics of the municipal-ity
is between a minimum of 40% and a maximum of
60%. if we apply these percentages to the trend of 387,854
m2 of gross floor area per year for all types of tertiary activ-ities,
the potential demand in Poblenou is between
155,034 m2 and 232,550 m2 of new floor area per year, with
an average forecast of 194,000 m2 of new floor area per
year. [...] Barcelona currently has a stock of 4 million m2 of
offices, which is 56% of the stock of Madrid and 16% that
of london. [...] the City Council must ensure the trans-formation
of Poblenou regardless of the economic and
real estate cycle. [...] the vision must be for 15-20 years.
[...] Currently, 35-45% of the stock of offices is considered
obsolete and does not meet the users’ requirements. [...]
the estimation of the total absorption of offices of an
“international level” in Barcelona and the metropolitan
area is estimated [...]to be 197,000 m2 per year. the share
of Poblenou in the most optimistic forecast would be sit-uated,
according to this study, at 69% of the total absorp-tion
in the metropolitan area, that is, 135,930 m2 per year.
[...] the operation in Poblenou is presented as a unique
opportunity to re-centralize a Metropolitan process that is
On the economic viability of private operations, the
document stated that: ‘an operation shall be profitable
when the difference between the value of the resulting
plots that have already been developed, or are suitable for
construction or to be sold, and the total costs of develop-
7. More recently, the figure of 150,000 potential workplaces has been esti-mated
by 22@ (2009), ‘22@Barcelona project. A social, urban and eco-nomic
urban renewal’, Mimeo, p. 24.
30 Revista Econòmica de Catalunya
ing them is positive and this difference reaches a percent-age
of the total investment that is equal to or higher than
the ordinary industrial returns in the real estate sector.’
the justification of the economic viability of private
operations was supported by detailed accounts that were
submitted for three types of blocks of different densities
and with the final conclusion that ‘...we obtained residual
values of land at the start of the operation [...] that in all
cases were above the €601 /m2 of land (€100,000/m2 of
land) that correspond to a plot ratio of m2 of gross floor
area/m2 of land before the expectations of reclassification’.
the considerable innovation in the redevelopment of
the sector and its financing was described as follows:
‘Barcelona City Council shall draw up a special infra-structure
plan to define and specify the standard of the
aforementioned urban development services and the
characteristics of other required infrastructures and serv-ices,
both those planned for the public domain and those
planned for private land’. in accordance with the suppo-sitions
of urban development drawn from the progress in
the PEi, the economic viability study (EEF) of the MPgM
estimated that the unit cost of the investment required in
the area of the MPgM is €180 /m2 of road (30,000 pta/m2)
and the total investment is €119 M (19.780 billion pta).
the planned financing is 70% from the owners of the
land under transformation (1,269,409 m2 of land counted)
and 30% from the public services providers. the resulting
cost to owners is €24/m2 of gross floor area in areas with
a plot ratio of 2.2 m2 of gross floor area/m2 of land and
€30/m2 of gross floor area in those of 2.7 m2 of gross floor
area/m2 of land’.
after 10 years of urban development and economic
management that is in line with the forecasts both in terms
of the rate of transformation, demand, urban development
and public-private financing in a cycle of expansion, the
development of the innovative 22@ district since 2000
should be adapted to the recession, which increases the
length of time needed to attain the proposed objectives.
Concurrent and competitive operations:
11.4 M m2 of gross floor area, a surplus of 207,500
workplaces and a shortfall of 198,600 dwellings
Barcelona started this century with a limited supply of
offices. however, this changed with the approval of the
22@ project in 2000, with a total floor area of
approximately 4 million m2, of which around 3.2 M m2 of
gross floor area are for economic activity. the project rep-resented
a major quantitative and qualitative change in
supply that put Barcelona in a competitive position in the
this supply for economic activity competes today with
the operations in the Plaça d’Europa in hospitalet (0.2 M
m2 of gross floor area), the Forum (0.6 M m2 of gross floor
area) and Fira de Barcelona (0.2 M m2 of gross floor area),
with a potential of around 26,000 workplaces8.
in the future, the offering in 22@ will have to compete
with that of la Marina del Prat vermell (0.3 M m2 of gross
floor area), la verneda (0.3 M m2 of gross floor area), Biopol
(0.3 M m2 of gross floor area), Bz Barcelona innovation
zone (1 M m2 of gross floor area)9, with a potential for
approximately 52,700 workplaces, and particularly the sup-ply
around the future central station of la Sagrera-Prim (0.5
M m2 of gross floor area), with an estimated potential for
18,400 workplaces, according to the information in the
the potential floor area above grade in 22@ has been
updated with documents and information provided by 22@
Barcelona S.a.u. the below grade figures have been kept as
in the MPgM.
given its significance, we should also refer to the
potential offering of the operation in the Centre
Direccional de Cerdanyola - Parc de l’alba, whose plans
were approved in 2005. this offering could be considered
in a complementary market to the operations in the city
centre. it will meet a different demand for economic activ-ity
in terms of the characteristics, location and price. it cov-
8. The number of potential workplaces is calculated by considering the same
plans with approximate standards of 20 m2 of gross floor area per workplace
in offices, 40 m2 of gross floor area/workplace in retail, 60 m2 of gross floor
area/workplace in facilities, 60-100 m2 of gross floor area/workplace in
logistic activities and industries and 2,500 m2 of gross floor area/workplace
in car parks.
9. The incorporation of the major offerings from the plans for El Prat de Llobregat
(La Seda, Enkalene, etc.), Gavà, Viladecans (DeltaBCN Aerospace and Mobility
Park, etc.), Sant Boi de Llobregat, Badalona and Santa Coloma de Gramanet
that should be taken into account are beyond the scope of this article.
10. The urban development operations in La Marina and La Verneda are
planned in three phases. In the BZ Barcelona Innovation Zone, a first
phase of urban development of 30 ha is planned.
Revista Econòmica 31 de Catalunya