Creative Cities at the University of Barcelona

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006)
American-Canadian journalist, author, and activist

“Creative Cities: Intervention Models and Entrepreneurial Dynamics” is one of the required courses at the University of Barcelona. We discussed the concept of globalization and urban development, examined different city planning strategies in various countries, and also debated the popular theory of the so-called “creative class” and its influence in urban cities. We reviewed different academic papers and case studies to think about what a creative city should be like, and how a city can be inclusive, sustainable, creative, and most importantly, created for everyone.

Our first class in Barcelona! Photo Credit: Betty Guo.

The class culminated with a final group project about finding solutions to a specific urban challenge in a city/neighborhood chosen by the students. Students could choose to make a video about the project or write an academic report. Each group was also required to find another city as a benchmark and analyzed how the urban problem could be solved through cultural and creative urban planning.

Take a look at the projects presented by the GLOCAL V cohort:

Combating CO2 Pollution with Creativity

Barcelona’s Sustainable Mobility Plan

Betty, Bridget, Marité, and Sebo wanted to understand why Barcelona is trying to migrate to sustainable mobility and what has the city done so far to achieve this goal. They critically analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of the city mobility plan and examined whether the approaches can be considered “creative”. Last, they provided some recommendations to help Barcelona become a sustainable mobility city.

Overcoming Social Gaps Through Sustainable City Planning

A Critical Analysis of the Parque Pacífico in Cali, Colombia

Johan, Jose, Manu, and SzuTung studied the project Parque Pacífico in Cali, Colombia. They filtered through concepts such as sustainability and urban innovation to examine whether the project can truly benefit the African Colombians and encourage cultural exchanges, making the society less segregated. They also compared Cali’s current situation in terms of urban renewal and appropriation with that of Medellín, which, despite having common elements in its history, has been considered one of the most innovative cities in the world.

The Eco-Temple Community Project

Case of Juko-in Temple – Edogawa, Japan

ChangLin, Ilayda, Mel, and YanYin conducted a case study of the Japanese Eco-temple community project, which aims to reconnect people living in the cities and rebuild the connection between humans and nature. They also analyzed the Eco-Temple projects in Thailand as a benchmark. The group planned to make a video to present how the project has helped rebuild local communities, resources and ecology in Japan. 

How to improve bike sharing services in Rome

Ella, Evelina, and Hideki discovered that the biking sharing system in Rome is facing several challenges, including safety, legal issues, competitions, maintenance, and theft. They tried to figure out what are the underlying reasons for these problems, and by studying the biking sharing system in Barcelona, they came up with four solutions that can possibly improve the situation in Rome.

The Problem of a Growing Population in Barcelona

Conrad, Jonny, Marie, and Spencer studied the urban problems caused by the growing population in Barcelona, and they looked for solutions that can feed the citizens and at the same time reduce carbon emissions. They argued that urban agriculture would be a perfect solution to Barcelona’s challenge. By using urban space to increase food production, the projects can provide locally sourced products for cities without increasing pollution.

Trash Is Art

Ale, Ivy, Ken, and Teo identified the Solid Waste Management (SWM) problem in urban cities, which occurs due to the imbalance between the production and the capability to manage the waste. Believing in the concept “Someone’s Trash is Someone’s Treasure”, the team thinks that trash art can actually have value while helping reduce waste in cities even though it might be hard to create a significant systematic change. Taking the city of Oslo as a benchmark, the team planned to produce an interesting video showing you “trash art CAN have value”.

Fabrica de Arte Cubano

A case study of a sustainable business model in the creative industries?

Karlijn, Lu, and Nuria looked into the Fabrica de Arte Cubano, an old oil factory transformed into a space where several artistic manifestations coexist, to understand the connection between the city and the art. The team used the Fàbriquesde Creació in Barcelona as a benchmark to evaluate whether the Fabrica de Arte Cubano addresses the needs of the artist’s community in an economically sustainable way. 

Informal Settlements "Favelas" of Rio de Janeiro. Rescue Programs Analysis.

Laura, Pan, and Wei take insights into the historic perspective on how Favelas in Rio de Janeiro were formed and identified the drivers that cause people to inhabit informal settlements under dangerous conditions. They also conducted a critical analysis of the past recovery programs and their characteristics.

Greening of Cox's Bazar Refugee Camp

Anika, Anna, Nneoma, and Susmi examined the environmental impacts of the influx of Rohingya refugees in the city of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The concentration of a large number of refugees led to scarcity and pollution of water, loss of wildlife habitat, flooding, and air pollution. The team used the Refugee Forestation Project in Uganda and the waste management projects in Kenya and Syria as a benchmark to analyze several existing projects that aim at solving the urban challenges in Bangladesh.

Learn more about courses of GLOCAL: