This post is part of the series ’10 Years, 10 Urban Ideas’
Throughout our 10 years, at Anteverti we have worked to help cities in their search for smart and efficient solutions. But cities do not exist in an isolated environment—they are related to their metropolis and the region in which they are inserted, and an adequate approach to urban affairs depends, to a large extent, on the collaboration between the different levels of government. This also happens, naturally, in Catalonia, where Anteverti was born and where we have carried out more collaborations since 2011.
One of them is the support provided recently to the Government of Catalonia for the elaboration of the “Agenda of towns and cities Catalonia 2050”, Catalonia’s new urban agenda — which was launched in June 2022. Today, it is a pleasure to have in this series Maria Galindo Garcia-Delgado, Director General of Digital Nation and Urban Agenda of the Government of Catalonia. Let’s take a look at her answers to our 10-item questionnaire.
— What is your city? Highlight one feature or virtue that can inspire other cities in the world.
I am from Barcelona. Barcelona is my city, and the city no matter where I go, I always go back to!
One virtue? Its unique soul — in everything: architecture, urban deployment in different one-of-a-kind neighborhoods, gastronomy, the most amazing urban beach, a tech scene that puts Barcelona at the top of cities world-wide, amazing museums to get lost…
— Mention the three major global transformations at the urban level that have occurred in the last 10 years.
There is no doubt that the biggest transformation has been digitalisation. And then:
1. The acceleration of tech adoption during Covid-19 has—or is—transforming our urban habitats: we no longer regard our home as a place to live, but also to work, spend leisure time. And so happens with our buildings, our neighborhoods and cities.
2. The sense of community and belonging, which is nowadays greater in citizens. We belong to a place, and therefore we aim at being an active player of its development.
3. The awareness to fight climate change and how it affects our habitats in terms of transportation or greener areas.
— Mention one pioneer or benchmark city for you…
I’ve been working for a number of cities worldwide and I think that at some point each city pioneers at something— even if that means just confronting their challenges.
Nevertheless, I was (and still am) amazed at how back in 2003 London launched the congestion charge. That’s almost 20 years ago!
— …and one emerging city that we will have to pay attention to in the next 10 years.
I’d say let’s look at the African continent and its development in the years to come.
— One female urban expert and one male urban expert that you admire.
Pilar Conesa — she knows who, what, where, when in the urban scene better than anyone. And Vicente Guallart — he’s got that talent to always envision urbanism 10 years from now.
— In one sentence: in 10 years, cities…
…will be amazing places full of green and empty of cars.
Interview and edition by Sergio García i Rodríguez, Executive Editor of CitiesToBe and Manager of Communication at Anteverti. Interview translated from Catalan.
Keep discovering expert insights on the present and future of cities in our series
’10 years, 10 urban ideas’
About the authors
Maria Galindo Garcia-Delgado was appointed Director-general for Digital Nation and Urban Agenda of the Government of Catalonia in July 2021. Previously, she carried different positions in the public administration: she was advisor in International Digital Policy to the Minister of Digital Policy and Public Administration of the Government of Catalonia (2018-2021). She worked at the Barcelona City Council (2011-2015), Urban Habitat Department, promoting smart city business development in the city and managing the Barcelona Institute of Technology for the Habitat (BIT Habitat). She represented Barcelona in front of the European Commission and was member of the high level group of the European Commission on Smart Cities and Communities.
Before, she worked at the Government of Catalonia (2006-2011), where she developed strategic planning tasks, as well as an evaluation methodology to assess the impact of R&D and Innovation policies in the economy and society. She also worked at the Studies Service at a Financial Institution, where she carried out economic research and financial analysis.
She has also developed her professional career in consultancy (2015-2018) leading the International and Smart City practices. She directed teams and developed projects in Latin America, Europe and Asia.