Back two back with the attendance to the Smart Cities Congress in Barcelona, a delegation of 15 Brazilian mayors organized by the Frente National de Prefeitos (FNP) conducted a two-day peer visit program in Barcelona and Hospitalet facilitated by UCLG Learning.
On Monday, 18.11.2019 the Brazilian delegation led by FNP visited the city hall of Barcelona, where they were received by Ms. Janet Sanz, Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility. The delegation was introduced to the three pillars of the city's urbanism strategy: housing, social rights, and public space. Mr. Jaume Barnada, Director of Strategy and Urban Sustainability, explained to the visiting mayors and city officers about Barcelona's approach to the right to the city and its human-centered mobility plan.
Following this explanation, the delegation visited the Sant Antoni neighborhood, where they were able to see for themselves how this vision translates into life, particularly through the implementation of the superblocks program, an initiative to reduce traffic within neighborhoods and transform roads into public spaces. The delegation also visited the market of Sant Antoni, where the delegation was received by the city's Director of Market Services, Mr. Genís Arnàs, as well as other initiatives such as 22@ and Barcelona Activa.
A second peer-visit took place on Thursday afternoon 22.11.2019. The Brazilian delegation welcomed an invitation from the mayor of Hospitalet, Ms. Núria Marín Martínez, who is also president to the provincial council of Barcelona (Diputación de Barcelona).
The visit started with a tour through the new economic quarter of the city that was developed around the exhibition center and led to a massive increase in hotel industry and service companies. Later, the delegation arrived at the municipal music school which is one of the cultural flagship projects of the city, financed thanks to the positive economic developments in the city. The music academy offers classes to more than 2600 mainly kids and youngsters, but also adults, contributing to the city’s social cohesion. Furthermore, the experience has showed that cultural and social policies are powerful and transformative tools, with data showing how the music academy students have improved their school performance in science and mathematics.
Following this visit, the mayor of Hospitalet welcomed the delegation for a leadership exchange. The attending mayors discussed and shared their experiences on public service provision, urban governance, social inclusion and economic development. This mutual learning experience showed that cities from Brazil and Spain share similar challenges and can benefit from the exchange of good practices. As such, the visit ended with a warm farewell and the participants’ commitment to continue engaging in exchange and cooperation.