Barcelona launches City Protocol for urban population and city building – citizen-oriented approach for common profound challenges for the 21st century

Challenging statistics about cities abound, and are now well rehearsed by city leaders. They highlight profound new challenges resulting from step-change in demography exacerbated by the increasingly consumptive world we live in: ageing and health, energy. They also address chronic challenges that remain unresolved despite our best efforts to keep ahead of them – like transport. 


There is a growing need to look at cities through different eyes. Cities have become the new ‘unit of measure’ in a world that is increasingly globalising, so the actions to resolve these global challenges will be defined by the actions in cities.  Barcelona has called for an initiative ‘City Protocol’ for cities in Europe to take a step back and see how then can they approach this in a new and different way?


The City protocol acknowledges the need for a radical change in the urban planning, to accelerate city transformation, the initiative will set the framework to achieve it by:


  • a new differentiated and meaningful programme that will enable better understanding and cooperation among the different actors (city council, academia, institutions, companies, and society) involved in the development of a more sustainable, efficient, cohesive, innovative and smart city. It will deliver benefits within and between cities, by addressing cities in an integrated systemic way.


  • clear and shared accountabilities and responsibilities amongst a consortium of cities, academics, companies, and other organizations.   It will be developed on an open, transparent principle-based and collaborative basis, to deliver truly shared trusted and universally useful outcomes.  Like the Internet Protocol, it will be thought, debated and developed openly and internationally, bringing the best out of the Community.


  • frameworks, tools, standards, indicators and relevant information, repeatable leading practice, policies and recommendations to drive cities of the 21st Century to be more sustainable and innovative urban habitats through applying new technologies (information, energy, waste, mobility, building, etc.).  It will focus on action, and tangible evidence.


The goals of the initiative are to facilitate and foster a new science of cities, to establish a cooperation framework among the city council, academia, companies and organisations, to lead and pave the way for cities’ futures, understand the common driving force of urban evolution and find common game-changing solutions and finally to find innovative economical opportunities and synergies and deliver value-adding products and services. These goals are to be met with citizen-oriented and multi-scale approach that considers the city as an ecosystem (all urban networks from waste, matter to energy and information flow) and trends: reality vs. models.


The first stage of the development is already underway and to be further elaborated in Barcelona July 16-17th, 2012 workshop were the first initial invitees of cities, academia and companies will meet, in order to create the organizational infrastructure, general framework and the value proposition, and finally to create a shared understanding and interest in the initial group of cities, companies and academics. Finally the City Protocol ver 1.0 will be presented at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona in November 2012.


For more information contact Artur Serra, ENoLL Council member, i2Cat (


ENoLL will follow closely the City Protocol developments and inform our members of the possibilities presented within this initiative.