Barcelona launches tech innovation challenges to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda

The Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda is working with Barcelona de Serveis Municipals (B:SM) and the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation through its Digital Future Society programme to find solutions that help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

As part of the Innovacció 2030 programme, a total of eight challenges will be launched in two years, and the best solutions contributed will be piloted in real environments

The first two challenges, which have already been published, seek solutions to make visits more inclusive at Park Güell and Barcelona Zoo, two spaces managed by B:SM

Another challenge has been set, aimed at businesses and entrepreneurs, to find a system that monitors parking spaces reserved for specific vehicles and ensures they are used correctly

The districts of Les Corts, Eixample and Horta-Guinardó will also be the scene of three challenges to be launched soon by the City Council and Mobile World Capital Barcelona

The Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda, belonging to Barcelona’s Third Deputy Mayor's Office; the municipal company Barcelona de Serveis Municipals (B:SM), a leader and pioneer in the development of urban mobility solutions and in the cultural and leisure sphere in the city; and the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation, through the Digital Future Society (DFS) programme, have signed an ongoing collaboration agreement to boost innovation, overcome some of the challenges posed by the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of this collaboration, they are coming together to launch the Innovacció 2030 programme, which will propose a total of eight challenges to identify digital and tech solutions that provide an answer to various urban problems. The challenges are organised through the innovative public procurement mechanism driven by B:SM and calls for innovation initiated by DFS, which is fuelled by collaboration with businesses, organisations and entrepreneurs with the skills and flair to innovate.

In each case, a call for proposals is made, in order to find the technical solution that offers the best response to the challenge and to take on and pilot these solutions in a real environment in Barcelona. The aim is to detect tech proposals with a positive impact for citizens in these initial areas that have been defined. In addition, where the pilots are a success, the possibility of scaling the solutions with the most potential in other geographical areas or for a larger number of beneficiaries will be assessed.

The project is backed by a total budget of 951,888 euros, provided by Barcelona City Council and the Mobile World Capital Barcelona Foundation. Part of this budget, 491,888 euros, is being used for B:SM’s call for proposals for its five challenges. Innovative entrepreneurs, organisations and businesses are invited to propose cutting-edge solutions based on data and technology.

Barcelona City Council’s backing of these challenges is part of its strategy to take action to achieve the 2030 Agenda, with concrete measures to reach targets.

Challenges 1 and 2: Inclusive visits at Park Güell and Barcelona Zoo

Barcelona aims to become a more accessible and inclusive city. Advancing towards universal accessibility, the city is opting to make use of data and technology to enable individuals with sensory and cognitive diversity to be able to enjoy its public spaces, specifically Barcelona Zoo and Park Güell, and thereby guarantee everyone the right to education, leisure and culture.

With regard to Park Güell, as it is a protected, architectural heritage site, there are restrictions on adaptations to the infrastructure and signage, although there is an adapted route which allows people with reduced mobility to observe the most significant areas of the park. The challenge involves providing a new perspective to the visit, so that people with other kinds of functional diversity may discover and enjoy the space.

In the case of the zoo, an opportunity has emerged in the biomes that recreate the animals’ natural habitats, following the guidelines of its New Model. The Sahel Savannah installation is the first major space to be configured according to these criteria, and it now guarantees accessibility for people with reduced mobility. It is an interesting space for going a step further and implementing the universal accessibility model, with adaptations for people with sensory and cognitive diversity, allowing it to become a benchmark in this type of transformation.

The innovative solutions for these two iconic spaces in the city must be able to adapt to and be replicated in other public spaces.

Challenge 3: System to monitor on-street parking for vehicles with the right to a reserved space for people with functional diversity

Public space in the city, where the population continues to grow, is finite. Currently, in Barcelona, there are various types of reserved spaces, like those used for urban goods distribution, official services, and green and blue zone parking, among others. This raises the need to positively discriminate certain groups in order to share out this space more fairly.

Furthermore, these reserved spaces are showing a growing trend towards a limitation of the public space and new needs that are emerging, such as multi-disciplinary spaces or spaces for shared transport. Therefore, the challenge is to find a solution to implement a system of on-street parking permits for people with functional diversity.

Challenges 4 and 5: Electromobility

To achieve the general goal of becoming a more sustainable city, the roll-out of electric vehicles in Barcelona must be viable. There is already a considerable presence of electric vehicles, and the city is in the lead in Spain in terms of the development of electromobility, thanks in part to B:SM’s management of the Endolla Barcelona network.

Looking to the future, energy distribution and vehicle charging services must be optimised, through technologies that improve efficiency, which is why a flexible solution is required.
These challenges, which are still at the technical definition stage and will be launched in the project’s second phase, will mainly focus on hardware issues, so that independent charging solutions that do not require a socket at a specific space can be found and implemented quickly, simply and affordably, ensuring significant scalability for the project.  

Agreement between the City Council and Digital Future Society to launch three challenges in the districts shortly

Apart from the challenges already launched, Digital Future Society is working with the management bodies for three of Barcelona’s districts – Les Corts, Eixample and Horta-Guinardó – to define three more innovation challenges in the city. In this case, Digital Future Society will put forward different challenges for each district, dealing with universal accessibility problems, issues caused by tourism, and urban mobility. With this definition as a starting point, DFS will search for, select and implement the best projects.

Further information: barcelona.cat/innovaccio2030

The 2030 Agenda: everyone’s commitment

The United Nations 2030 Agenda has defined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets, in order to overcome the world’s environmental, economic and social challenges. The City Council has committed to promoting the implementation and follow-up of compliance with the 2030 Agenda, both within the municipal structure and in the city of Barcelona, and to seeking alliances with civil society and economic sectors to achieve the SDGs.

An online, open-data 2030 Agenda platform allows users to consult the indicators and see how much progress the city is making towards achieving the SDGs. This website displays icons for the 17 SDGs, through which you can access data presented as tables and graphs showing the progress being made towards achieving these goals.



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