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A Smart City Initiative: the Case of Barcelona


  • Tuba Bakıcı


  • Esteve Almirall


  • Jonathan Wareham



Information and communication technology is changing the way in which cities organise policymaking and urban growth. Smart Cities base their strategy on the use of information and communication technologies in several fields such as economy, environment, mobility and governance to transform the city infrastructure and services. This paper draws on the city of Barcelona and intends to analyse its transformation from a traditional agglomeration to a twenty-first century metropolis. The case of Barcelona is of special interest due to its apparent desire, reflected by its current policies regarding urban planning, to be considered as a leading metropolis in Europe. Hence, an assessment of the Smart City initiative will cast light on the current status of Barcelona’s urban policy and its urban policy of Barcelona and its future directions. This article analyses Barcelona’s transformation in the areas of Smart City management; drivers, bottlenecks, conditions and assets. First, it presents the existing literature on Barcelona’s Smart City initiative. Then, the case study analysis is presented with the Barcelona Smart City model. After describing this model, we further explore the main components of the Smart City strategy of Barcelona in terms of Smart districts, living labs, initiatives, e-Services, infrastructures and Open Data. This paper also reveals certain benefits and challenges related to this initiative and its future directions. The results of the case study analysis indicate that Barcelona has been effectively implementing the Smart City strategy with an aim to be a Smart City model for the world. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Tuba Bakıcı & Esteve Almirall & Jonathan Wareham, 2013. "A Smart City Initiative: the Case of Barcelona," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 4(2), pages 135-148, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jknowl:v:4:y:2013:i:2:p:135-148
    DOI: 10.1007/s13132-012-0084-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robert G. Hollands, 2008. "Will the real smart city please stand up?," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 303-320, December.
    2. Caragliu, A. & Del Bo, C. & Nijkamp, P., 2009. "Smart cities in Europe," Serie Research Memoranda 0048, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    3. Villalba, Gara & Gemechu, Eskinder Demisse, 2011. "Estimating GHG emissions of marine ports--the case of Barcelona," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1363-1368, March.
    4. Jaume Garcia & Josep Maria Raya, 2011. "Price and Income Elasticities of Demand for Housing Characteristics in the City of Barcelona," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(5), pages 597-608.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amitrajeet A. Batabyal & Peter Nijkamp, 2019. "Creative capital, information and communication technologies, and economic growth in smart cities," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 142-155, February.
    2. repec:eee:appene:v:237:y:2019:i:c:p:581-597 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:aae:journl:v:13:y:2017:i:3:p:95-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:tefoso:v:142:y:2019:i:c:p:98-104 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Andreas Exner & Livia Cepoiu & Carla Weinzierl & Viviana Asara, 2018. "Performing Smartness Differently - Strategic Enactments of a Global Imaginary in Three European Cities," SRE-Disc sre-disc-2018_05, Institute for Multilevel Governance and Development, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    6. Luisa Enrichiello & Alessandra Marasco, 2015. "Il ruolo delle reti pubblico-private per l’innovazione dei servizi nelle smart cities," ECONOMIA E DIRITTO DEL TERZIARIO, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(1), pages 13-39.
    7. Batabyal, Amitrajeet & Beladi, Hamid, 2019. "The Optimal Provision of Information and Communication Technologies in Smart Cities," MPRA Paper 95451, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 17 Jul 2019.
    8. repec:eee:tefoso:v:142:y:2019:i:c:p:312-321 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:tefoso:v:142:y:2019:i:c:p:154-167 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:tefoso:v:142:y:2019:i:c:p:15-25 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni, 2019. "Natural resources and environment preservation: Strategic substitutability vs. complementarity in global and local public good provision," EconStor Preprints 200144, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    12. repec:eee:tefoso:v:142:y:2019:i:c:p:70-97 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Perfetto, Maria Concetta & Vargas-Sánchez, Alfonso & Presenza, Angelo, 2016. "Managing A Complex Adaptive Ecosystem: Towards A Smart Management Of Industrial Heritage Tourism," Journal of Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, CIEO-Research Centre for Spatial and Organizational Dynamics, University of Algarve, vol. 4(3), pages 243-264.
    14. repec:eee:tefoso:v:142:y:2019:i:c:p:220-234 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:rrs:journl:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:12-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Tan, Sieting & Yang, Jin & Yan, Jinyue & Lee, Chewtin & Hashim, Haslenda & Chen, Bin, 2017. "A holistic low carbon city indicator framework for sustainable development," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 185(P2), pages 1919-1930.
    17. repec:eee:tefoso:v:142:y:2019:i:c:p:210-219 is not listed on IDEAS


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