As part of the Master in City & Technology (MaCT)’s Internet of People Studio, run by Paisaje Transversal, a Spanish integrated urban planning firm, and the Urban Sciences Lab, the role of citizens became a central driver in the adaptation of the urban environment in a context of climate change. The students worked in Viladecans, a city in the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona, which is part of the citiES 2030 platform and aims at achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and showcased their final proposals to the Municipality.

In Europe, policies and directives propel European Member States towards a 55% cut in emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. Towards this goal, the EU has put forward the Mission “100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030” and the NetZeroCities platform. In Spain, the citiES 2030 platform, supports the seven Spanish cities in the Mission, as well as other eight “follower” cities in achieving climate neutrality, including Viladecans. All these initiatives and policies are increasingly aware of the need to involve citizens and other societal actors to achieve a sustainable change. From local climate agreements to energy communities, soft mobility systems, waste management or sustainable food production, the role of citizens is at the core of the transformation of urban areas and mitigation of climate change.

The students had the opportunity to present their work to the Municipality of Viladecans and discuss the pathways to decarbonisation of the built environment together with Mr. Jordi Mazón, Deputy Mayor for Mobility, Cleaning and Waste Collection, and for the Promotion of Science and Scientific Dissemination; Mrs. Anabel Camacho, Director of the Public Space and Sustainable Mobility Area; Mr. Carles Ferreiro, Director of the Employment and Business Area; Mr. Enric Serra, Director of the Territorial Planning Area; Mrs. Rosa Maria Fernández Labella, Director of the Area of ​​Ecological Sustainability, Employment and Economy; Mr. Joan Bassolas, Manager of the Ciutat Viladecans Foundation; Mrs. Marina Jarque, Coordinator of the Office of the Future of the City-Viladecans 2030; Mrs. Sara Cerezo, European project technician-Office of the Future of the City-Viladecans 2030; as well as one of the Directors of the Master in City & Technology, Mathilde Marengo, and the Director of inAtlas, Luis Falcón. Here are some of the pathways developed:

Hyperenergetic Viladecans

By 2100, the global temperature is forecasted to increase from 2 to 4 degrees Celsius due the effects of Greenhouse Gases Emissions and Human Activities. The City of Viladecans has developed a Vision by 2030 which expects the city to become EMISSIONS NEUTRAL, and EMISSIONS NEGATIVE by 2050. For approaching this goal, Hyperenergetic Viladecans establishes a multidimensional understanding of energy:
– THERMAL ENERGY, as the energy the body needs and uses to regulate its temperature in relationship with its surroundings
– KINETIC ENERGY, as the energy used to mobilize through time and space
– ELECTRIC ENERGY, as the energy that lights up households and daily lives
– BIOCHEMICAL ENERGY, as the energy involved in the internal cycles of the body that lead to well-being, health, nutrients and energetic intake

The Hyperenergetic City initiative aims to provide alternative scenarios to transition the city towards low carbon emissions by 2030 and eventual carbon neutrality. This transformation is driven by implementing programs across various energy narratives: Thermal, Kinetic, Biochemical, and Electrical. Beginning with La Monsterratina as a flagship model due to its vulnerability, the project seeks to attract more participants and scale up to Viladecans city. Integration across private, public, and cyberspaces is facilitated through smart monitoring and grid systems. The government leads with policies and programs, fostering bottom-up change where citizens support one another in adopting sustainable behaviours. Read about the project.

Empowering vulnerable people in Viladecans through adaptive infrastructure

In Viladecans, a gamified co-design process is recommended to turn this vision into reality. Challenges of an ageing population, energy poor buildings, and coastal climate change vulnerability may be aligned with public program priorities to adapt Viladecans’ infrastructure under a unique co-design process that leverages smart grid technologies and toolkits specific to vulnerabilities.

Vulnerable populations were understood as the most challenging for the city to support. With vulnerable people in focus, each module of the course was approached to locate solutions matching vulnerable populations’ needs aligned with public policy goals in places of distress.

Key Considerations:
– Focus on the needs of vulnerable people
– Find climate-positive alternatives
– Find opportunities for resident involvement by way of power transfer and resource provision

To understand and plug into the smart grid, co-designers can locate themselves within the city and select toolkits needed by identified and voiced vulnerable populations. Read about the project here.


See all of the projects here.

About the Master in City and Technology

The Master in City & Technology is a on-campus programme oriented towards redefining the future of the urban, through innovative, evidence based and experimental approaches to understand, design and materialise cities. Taking place in Barcelona, the capital of urbanism, the Master is a platform to shape multidisciplinary leaders empowered to pioneer the transition of the urban environment in the era of big data, towards resilient & circular cities, inclusive & just communities and adaptive & more than human urban environments.