Geographies of Innovation in the metropolitan area of Barcelona

Can urban fabric foster innovation? This research developed in the metropolitan area of Barcelona demonstrates the correlation between urban fabric and the emergence of innovation economy.

Innovation is more urban than ever. Cities and metros around the world are experiencing a proliferation of knowledge-driven activities, often concentrated in specific urban areas. Why innovation leverages in certain urban areas rather than others? Which are the variables that influence this positive place making? And if urban conditions can foster innovation, which is the role of urban planning and public policies in this process?

The research ‘Geographies of Innovation in the metropolitan area of Barcelona’ aims to determine which urban indicators help develop the innovation economy in the region. Previous scientific research have correlated innovation economy to the crucial role of human capital and the capacity of cities to attract talent, the entrepreneurial quality, the impact of scientific research and the interaction between physical, networking and economic factors.

This research is an effort to achieve precision at a city level to demonstrate the positive correlation between certain urban conditions and the emergence of innovation activities. It also provides a solid base of methodology (both an exhaustive cartographic description and data mining analysis) and data at a local level that can allow progress to be measured and comparisons to be made.

The report identifies 2.250 innovation activities in the territory and classifies the stakeholders involved in the innovation ecosystem in four main groups (research, big companies, accelerators and startups). The research also determines the relevance of urban indicators in the creation of innovation districts from a data model with 75 variables. Finally, according to the most relevant parameters (build density, proportion of productive land use and connectivity to public transportation) the research defines five typologies of urban fabric according to its potential to foster innovative activities – the business fabric, the postindustrial fabric, the downtown fabric, the border fabric and the non-specialized fabric.

Client: Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona
Completion: 2017
Link to the project ->

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