"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Barcelona Urban Lab

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Website: www.urbanretailinstitute.com

One of the aims of the "22@Barcelona" municipal company is to consolidate Barcelona’s role as an innovative city and to foster innovation in its business fabric.

BARCELONA URBAN LAB was created under this framework as a specific line of action to foster use of the city as an urban laboratory. Through this project, the city is made available to companies with innovative projects to test their infrastructures and services for the future in a real environment.

Urban Lab is a tool to facilitate the use of public spaces in the city of Barcelona to carry out tests and pilot programs on products and services with an urban impact, which are in the pre-market stage and in line with the Barcelona City Council’s aims, priorities and lines of action.

Urban Lab acts as a gateway to the City Council and facilitates internal coordination among the different areas. The form detailing the pilot proposal is presented to the Urban Lab Board, made up of members that are directly responsible for different areas of action (such as urban-planning, mobility, environment, etc.) and this group approves or rejects implementation of the plan.

Urban Lab allows for the creation of pilot programs but is not a tool to sell products that already exist on the market. In fact, the pilot programs are funded by the companies themselves and this is not a funding tool for innovative projects. Furthermore, carrying out a pilot program doesn’t imply any commitment on behalf of the Barcelona City Council to implement the solution tested in the long term.

The pilot programs must demonstrate an express need to use public spaces, the city streets. Other types of products/services will not be admitted into this project.

Urban Lab isn’t a showroom for products or services currently available on the market or that are being marketed. This project seeks out innovative solutions to unresolved needs.

The pilot programs must meet the Barcelona City Council’s real needs and must have a direct impact on the functioning of the city or on the services provided by the City Council itself, benefiting residents.

To foster business innovation through 22@Barcelona, the innovation district.

To reduce time to market for companies through pilot programs and, if these demonstrate their value, to allow them to then market their product or service on a large scale in Barcelona or any other city in the world.

To learn and create new products or services than can bring improvements to Barcelona’s residents.

Better products, better solutions, and better municipal services.

Test space and testing in a real environment to facilitate market access and increase business competitiveness.

This is a powerful technology-transfer tool on both a local and international scale.

A tool to facilitate the introduction of new solutions (ongoing improvement).

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