Building Barcelona’s 22@ Innovation District: A Technical Review

By Pere Espelt-Lleonart.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

On the wake of the successful works for the 1992 Olympic Games, Barcelona has continued to engage in ambitious urban projects that have positioned the city as one of most attractive locations in terms of quality of life and the relocation of businesses. One of these initiatives is the so-called 22@ project, launched in 2000 as a long-term public investment designed to redevelop 200 hectares of old industrial land into a mixed-use technological district. The 22@ district is gradually becoming an international hub of innovation, acting as a catalyst for attracting knowledge-based industry and highly skilled workers to the city. Given the acknowledged socio-economic outcomes, this paper reviews the planning strategies, the technical achievements and the state of execution according to the latest data. Urban redevelopment, particularly the infrastructure renewal plan, has played an instrumental role in the regeneration of both business and resident environments towards a new sustainable and livable model of mixed-use innovation district as it has become a benchmark for many cities around the world.

Keywords: Urban Renewal, Infrastructure Services, Urban Sustainability, Innovation District, Knowledge Economy

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.113-134. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 15.811MB).

Dr. Pere Espelt-Lleonart

Lecturer, Department of Urban and Transport Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona Tech, Barcelona, Spain

Pere Espelt-Lleonart (Barcelona, 1974) first received his B.Sc. and M.Eng. degrees in Civil Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona Tech (UPC, Spain). Then an M.A. in Urban Policy specializing in Urban Economics at the well-known Institut d’Urbanisme de Paris (France) and an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. (summa cum laude by unanimous decision) degrees in Urban Planning at UPC. Before he started his academic career in 2003, he worked in and abroad in notable private consulting companies including: urban renewal management at SET (Paris), urban engineering at SUPORT (Principality of Andorra) and urban planning at EGI and GERC-INARTUR (Barcelona); as well in state-level governments: regional development at ETD (French Ministry of the Regional Planning) and urban transport at Andorra Ministry of the Interior. Currently, he is lecturer at UPC, where he teaches a variety of courses on Infrastructures Planning and Engineering, having supervised over 30 minor or master theses, 1 PhD thesis. He has written a dozen of journal and conference papers. In his basic research, he focuses on relevant cross-cutting problems of today’s cities sustainability, where infrastructures are seriously involved, while applied research provides technical advising to institutions and companies on water, energy and transport infrastructures. He has been Vice-Dean at the Civil Engineering School of Barcelona (2005–2007) and at the Department of Urban and Transport Engineering (2007–2010) of the UPC. He is also a member of several conference technical committees and an associate editor of scientific journals.