Cities find themselves in constant transformation. Today this transformation is being driven by the development of new and transforming technologies, which give us the opportunity to learn about our cities and provide us with real-time information about their inhabitants and features. Social tools and equipment can be layered upon the built environment, in private buildings as well as public spaces, helping us to connect in new ways with society. The relationship between buildings and streets will slightly change with the incorporation of new technologies: spaces will become more flexible and adaptable to the real needs of the user. Moreover, the way in which citizens perceive, understand and interact with the public space is also going through a shift, becoming more interactive thanks to new digital technologies.
Historically, Barcelona has been one of the leaders in creating successful public spaces; recognition of this was given when the 1.6 million citizens of Barcelona were together awarded with the RIBA Gold Medal in 1999. And today is no exception, Barcelona is still striving towards keeping up with the transformation of the city, raising the question of how to improve the quality of the city’s public space to meet the needs of a 21st century society. Zona Franca becomes the ideal test-bed and catalyst for answering this.
CREDITS El Paseo que te Pasea - Zona Franca [BCN], a project by Carlo Ratti Associati with Barcelona Regional, for the Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona. CRA Team: Carlo Ratti, Walter Nicolino, Giovanni de Niederhausern, Antonio Atripaldi (project leader), Luis Mesejo, Sofia Cornejo Reindl, Jenni Young, Monika Löve