10 Years, 10 Urban Ideas: Agustí Fernández de Losada

By  | 2022

This post is part of the series ’10 Years, 10 Urban Ideas’

Independent think tanks are essential to help understand the dynamics behind the urban world — and make it move forward. Since 2013, CIDOB – Barcelona Centre for International Affairs has participated in more than 40 international research projects aiming at analysing the global issues that affect political, social and governance dynamics, from the international to the local. 

One of CIDOB’s specific research programs is the Global Cities Programme, which focuses on the role of cities and metropolises in the generation and testing of global solutions, on their growing power within the international governance scenario and on their socio-economic and environmental challenges. And It is our pleasure to have Agustí Fernández de Losada, Director of CIDOB’S Global Cities Programme, in our series ’10 Years, 10 Urban Ideas‘.

— What is your city? Highlight one feature or virtue that can inspire other cities in the world.

Barcelona is my city of birth and residence. It is also the city that inspires and occupies me. Barcelona is an eminently rebellious city that uses creativity to try to transform reality.

«Barcelona is an eminently rebellious city that uses creativity to try to transform reality

©Polina Kocheva — under Unsplash license.

— Mention the three major global transformations at the urban level that have occurred in the last 10 years.


1. Technological and digital disruption.

2. The centrality of the ecological agenda.

3. The growth of inequalities and social unrest.

— Mention one pioneer or benchmark city for you…

Amsterdam, a city that has been transversally committed to innovation, placing the rights and climate agendas at the heart of its public strategies and policies. I find it very interesting.

— …and one emerging city that we will have to pay attention to in the next 10 years.

It is difficult to focus on a particular city. I believe that in the coming years the concept of urban innovation will be very marked by what is happening in the large urban regions of China and Southeast Asia. I think we also need to look at the urban explosion that will take place in Africa.

«Amsterdam has been transversally committed to innovation, placing the rights and climate agendas at the heart of its public strategies.»

© Gautam Krishnan – under Unsplash license.

One female urban expert and one male urban expert that you admire.


To be original I will choose a couple.

Saskia Sassen for raising awareness of the concept of global city and explore globalization-related phenomena that distort urban life by generating segregation; and Richard Sennett for his critical and provocative view of society, the urban environment and global challenges.

— In one sentence: in 10 years, cities will be…


…even more unequal if we don’t aim for fair ecological and digital transition processes.


Interview and edition by Sergio García i Rodríguez, Manager of Communication at Anteverti and Executive Editor of CitiesToBe. Interview translated from Spanish.

Keep discovering expert insights on the present and future of cities in our series
’10 years, 10 urban ideas’

About the authors

Senior Research Fellow & Director of the Global Cities Programme at CIDOB | + posts

Agustí Fernández de Losada is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Global Cities Programme at CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law and a Master’s Degree in European Studies from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). He also holds a Degree in Public Management from ESADE Business School, (ESADE), and has carried out a research internship at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU). Since January 2013 he has been the Director of Studies and International Technical Assistance at Tornos Abogados, a leading law company specialised in public law and governance.

He has worked as a Senior Expert for several UN Agencies, the European Commission national and local governments worldwide, among other public and private organisations. He has previously been the Director of the Barcelona Centre for Territorial Studies (2012-2013); the Director of International Relations at Diputació de Barcelona (2005-2012); the General Coordinator of the European Commission URBAL III Programme Coordination Office (2008-2012), and the General Coordinator of the Observatory of Decentralised Cooperation EU-LATAM. (2005-2012). He is the author of political reports and various books, papers and articles on global agendas, public governance, State reforms and modernisation, territorial development, decentralisation and international cooperation. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, Professor of the Degree in International Relations at Blanquerna - Ramon Llull University and other Universities in Spain, Europe and Latin America.

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