“As Tomás Diez, director of the Fab Lab Barcelona project, explains … , their idea is to make Barcelona a Fab City. The current urban layout of Barcelona can be seen as a product of major events like the 1992 Olympics and the Universal Forum of Cultures in 2004. For the future of Barcelona, Vincente Guallart (former director of the IAAC and chief architect of Barcelona), and Antoni Vives (deputy mayor in charge of urban planning and information and technology) aim to build Barcelona 5.0.
This proposal consists on a fab city made up of an interconnected community of neighborhood fab labs. The venues’ goals would be to encourage entrepreneurship and interest in innovation that have already been present in Barcelona throughout centuries. As they see it, bringing factories back to cites will lead us through a new industrial revolution where production methods and social bonds will be transformed. To set the project up they are currently developing a brand – FabCity. A foundation would promote the project and it would be funded by the public and private sector. The goal is to set up a fab lab in each neighborhood to produce devices and products for the local community. Right now they are still reflecting on how to make these fab labs economically viable. Fab labs would be eventually managed by neighborhood’s residents that would have assisted to training courses.
On the other hand there is an important project going on in Barcelona seeking to make it a smarter city. Guallart’s team has been developing a model to define the anatomy of cities, using a set of common parameters, that could be used worldwide to characterize each city. It is called City Protocol and it aims to be a kind of unique “city ID card”. Guallart briefly sketched the model at the Smart city expo in Barcelona. City Protocol is a certification based system that aims to offer a unique fingerprint for each city, based on several parameters like information, water, energy, mobility and production. This last area could be used as the appropriate environment to develop the FabCity deployment project. As Neil Gershenfeld sees it, cities would become truly self-sufficient by developing these projects. He describes this scenario as “a solution to avoid the economic and ecological disaster of the current global production system”.”