Brisbane joins the Smart City Expo 2023 in Barcelona

Categorized as News from Asia & Australasia

Two delegates from Brisbane City Council visited Barcelona from 6-10 November 2023 to participate in the Smart City Expo / Smart City World Congress and to conduct bilateral meetings with several departments from Barcelona City Council. Rebecca Arnaud, Legacy and Precinct Planning Manager for the Brisbane 2032 Host City, and Juliet Alabaster, Chief Operating Officer at Brisbane Economic Development Agency, met with several city experts, including David Martínez, Manager of Urban Planning and Neda Kostandinovic, International Relations, Office of the Chief Architect. During several meetings they took stock of ongoing cooperation and planned next steps for 2024 onwards. The mission was organised by Bettina Stollat, Head of Asia Pacific at Barcelona City Council’s International Relations Department. It was supported by the IURC project within the competitive fund 2023. IURC’s Team Leader Pablo Gándara supported the bilateral meetings and participated in the Smart City World Congress.

Brisbane’s bilateral meetings in Barcelona included Montse Puig, CEO, and Koen Vandecaveye, Director of Investment Promotion from Barcelona & Partners, to present the private investment agency’s role in attracting innovative companies and initiatives. The Australian city delegates also met Joan Torrella, Barcelona City Council Coordinator for America’s Cup, to discuss the megaevent’ legacy for the urban renewal of the seafront in preparation of the race 2024. With regard to sustainable tourism and economic development, Ms Arnaud and Ms Alabstar met with Joana Homs (Barcelona Tourist Board), Xavier Mayo, International Director of Economic Promotion, and Gao Yang, Asia Desk, Economic Promotion Barcelona. They evaluated possible cooperation on business support services.

As a result of the bilateral cooperation with Barcelona, Adrian Schrinner – Lord Mayor of Brisbane – announced that the city “should aim to be the Barcelona of the Southern Hemisphere[1]. Both cities have been working since 2021 on the impact of the Olympic Games (Barcelona 1992, Brisbane 2032) on the cities’ development, including the opportunities to improve citizens’ well-being through engagement programmes and sustainable infrastructure. Brisbane’s Inner City Strategy – released in April 2023 – refers to Barcelona’s superblocks as an inspiration to implement walkable hearts[2]. Just a month ago, in October 2023, Barcelona and the European Union were invited by Brisbane to visit the Asia Pacific Cities Summit (APCS) 2023, showcase  innovative European urban solutions and explore business opportunities with representatives form 100+ cities.


[1] See The Courier Mail, 06/03/2023.
[2] See page 26 of Brisbane’s Inner City Strategy

By Pablo Gandara