The Internet of People // MaCT 2020/21 Studio Results

As we move forward in our efforts to make cities more humane, livable, responsive and resilient, we must always consider the shifting relationship between citizens, the city, and its institutions especially under the emergence of new, disruptive technologies. To do this we need not only new tools and innovative planning strategies but also a grander understanding of how culture, society, economics and politics can allow us to meet the needs of current and future planning processes.

It’s time to redefine the citizen’s role in our global efforts to create dynamic, human-centered and inclusive urban environments. How can these systemic design principles be informed by an innovative use of big data analytics tools for the creation of innovative urban policies and initiatives?

Can we move urban planning and design away from the standardized quantitative analyses of a city’s dynamics, by including qualitative approaches, which are centered on a deep understanding of people’s needs, desires and behaviours? How can people become active and aware participants in the generation of the data and information that shape our cities today?

These are some of the questions that the Master in City & Technology researchers explore each year during the Internet of People, a design research studio that aims to develop holistic urban projects through a deep understanding of urban theory, a sophisticated application of technology, a holistic strategy, and innovative design.

This Internet of People studio is led by Luis Falcon, co-founder and CEO of Big Data and Location analytics firm inAtlas, with the technical assistance of Iacopo Neri.

This year the studio specifically focused on the revision of the new, ambitious post-COVID19 proposal of Barcelona’s City Council: the new extension of Superblock concept all over l’Example district.

Picture: Eixample district, the new Barcelona superblock as an expansion of the existing car-free spaces in the city. Ajuntament de Barcelona

The MaCT researchers were challenged to future-proof this plan by creating policies that incorporate a broad, international perspective on sustainability, citizen participation and community management. Moreover, with the help of the studio leader Luis Falcon, they were provided with a large amount of cadastral and socioeconomic data related to real estate, tourism, social media, mobility and sanitation.

Here are some of the challenges that were identified and on which the projects were focused:

1) Hyperblock: The Future of Mobility

What does the future of mobility look like? Which are the necessary steps to transition to such a future? What is the current mobility infrastructure of Barcelona? Why are people moving within the Eixample district? Why are people going there? What are the mobility patterns of the city? Can we use data analytics to answer these questions?

When it comes to Barcelona, the search for such mobility insights might seem irrelevant, considering the reputation of being an exemplary city in regard to this matter. The MaCT researchers aimed to further investigate the Eixample district’s mobility patterns, as a prototype to be replicated in the other districts of the city. The aim of this work is to build a Policy for Mobility, which is divided in phases until 2033 and is constantly updated.

Full documentation here:

Project Name: Hyperblock: The Future of Mobility
Students: Diana Roussi, Laura Guimarães, Matteo Murat, Sridhar Subramani & Stephania Kousoula

2) Amazing City: The Future of Retail

What is the impact of eCommerce in today’s urban environments? How can we mitigate the effects of its inevitable growth by creating opportunities for citizens and retailers to benefit from the emergence of the economic giants that represent it?

Some economists have predicted that every 1% growth of eCommerce could mean the closure of some 10,000 businesses. The trend has been growing from 9% to 14%, with an expected growth of 20%, meaning the closure of a further 120,000 out of 700,000 businesses in Spain. (Jose Luis Noeno, 2020)

Amazing City is a project that assumes the role of the e-commerce giant Amazon in Barcelona and which focuses on a proposal that aims to improve the harmonization between digital and physical retailers. This project stems from the current concern of city administrations on the effects that the increasing emergence of eCommerce has on the economy and identity of cities.

Full documentation here:

Project Name: Amazing City
Students: Simone Grasso, Sasan Bahrami, Kevin Aragón, Juan Pablo Pintado Miranda

3) Energy as a right: The Future of Barcelona’s Energy System

“Energy as a Right” is a proposal that rethinks the energy system of Barcelona aiming for a more sustainable, fair, democratic and efficient energy ecosystem. The proposal was developed taking the role of a local private community. Pursuing the dream of providing basic free energy for all residents of the city. Because the sun shines for free, and we believe that energy should be a basic right for everyone.

Full documentation here:

Project Name: Energy as a right: Rethinking Barcelona’s Energy System
Students: Alvaro Cerezo Carrizo, Inigo Esteban, Mario Jose Gonzalez, Tugdual Sarazin, Leyla Saadi

4) About [Free] Time: The Future of Leisure

Which are the future implications of the Universal Basic Income and automation on the way we work, live, play and spend our free time? This project aims to tackle key challenges faced by the city of Barcelona in the 2050 and rethink ways to engage citizens in future policy making.

What are the factors influencing the daily distribution of our time? Do we have the right to own time? To understand how availability of time is distributed in the city, the MaCT researchers focused their study on people who are not privileged with free time. Based on this study some parameters were selected and certain categories of people were created to derive a “free-time poverty map”.

What are the impacts of such paradigm shifts on the way we design our cities? Which public entities need to be created to bridge the gap between the future needs of the citizens for utilization of free time and available spaces in the city?

Full documentation here:

Project Name: About [Free] Time
Students: Hebah Qatanany, Marta Galdys, Kshama Patil, Riccardo Palazzolo Henkes

Follow this link to the students’ blog If you want to see more results from the Internet of People studio:


Written by
Alex Mademochoritis
Urban Technologist
Coordinator of the Master in City & Technology


Are you interested in developing projects like this? Don’t miss out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study the future of cities in Barcelona, the birthplace of urbanism!

Applications 2021/22 are open until the 31st of May!
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