Poble power

Catalonia (Barcelona)

Barcelona’s former factory neighborhood Poblenou, meaning ‘new town’, is witnessing a new type of industry in the neighbourhood’s streets. A citizen census for anyone connected to the internet is letting people collect and share local data on a large scale in real time. Gathering information and knowledge on historic buildings, community spaces, plants and even temperatures, the project is created and maintained by the area’s citizens.

First developed as a pilot project in May 2014, CitizenSqKm was funded by the European Union as a technological, educational and journalistic project to aid research for community networks. Mònica Garriga Miret, a project leader at CitizenSqKm, describes how the work being done is a methodology to community engagement and participation: “It is not sufficient anymore to simply conduct a description and transmission of facts to audiences. The communication process needs to instigate citizen participation and create some form of democratic debate.”

Projects range from documenting and archiving the history of the neighbourhood to classifying plant types found in the area, in collaboration with University Autonomo Barcelona. Work is also being done to map ‘urban voids’ which show where the city’s resources are being used and opportunities for new ways to use public space.

Amical Wikimedia and the Salvador Espriu secondary school have teamed up with Km2 Poblenou to help preserve the photographic work and historical research by local artist Xavier Badia. Amical Wikimedia is working to develop a protocol for the preservation of local memory in graphic form, and the Xavier Badia Archive will be its first project of this kind. Students at the school are learning about their neighbourhood’s industrial past by studying the archive and geolocating historical images over today’s buildings.

La Taula de l’Eix Pere IV, a group of residents in Poble Nou, are working to overcome existing divisions in the neighbourhood by developing a protocol to provide accurate mapping of disused spaces, encouraging other residents to contribute to the project as well as discovering more empty spaces and imagining new ways to make use of them.

Celebrating the area’s past and present, and utilising all the benefits that new technologies have to offer, this project is part of a growing movement – giving a free and open voice to people in their community.

Do you have something to map on CitizenSqKm? Add your information here or contact the project directly to get involved. If you want to know how you can apply these ideas in your own area go to the tutorial page.

Written by

Lauren Burrows, Atlas of the Future (03 March 2016)

Project leader

Mònica Garriga Miret and Narcís Vives, Project Leaders

Support the Atlas

We want the Atlas of the Future media platform and our event to be available to everybody, everywhere for free – always. Fancy helping us spread stories of hope and optimism to create a better tomorrow? For those able, we'd be grateful for any donation.

TV3 coverage of CitizenSqKm (Catalan)

CitizenSqKm mapping tool

Parc de Poble Nou. Image: CrazyVet/Flickr

Image: JP Carrascal/Flickr

Street Art in Poble Nou. Image: Ok Apartment

Encants market. Image: Farruquitown/Flickr

Creative Commons License



Take me somewhere
Take me somewhere
Data Protection Act: LOPD.
In compliance with Organic Law 15/1999, of 13 of December, on Personal Data Protection, and the development of Rules of Procedure, approved by Royal Decree 1720/2007, of 21 of December, Atlas of the Future subscribers may be required to provide Personal Data, which will be included in a file owned by Democratising The Future Society SL. Such file is duly incorporated in the Spanish Data Protection Agency and protected in compliance with the security measures established in the applicable legislation. Subscribers may exercise, at any time, their rights of access, rectification, cancellation and/or opposition regarding their Personal Data. The subscriber shall notice their will, either under written form addressed to Democratising The Future Society SL, Ref. LOPD, Calabria, 10 6-3 08015 - Barcelona (Spain) and/or by e-mail, clicking here. Also, the subscriber shall communicate Atlas of the Future any modifications of their Personal Data stored, so that the information stored by Atlas of the Future remains at all times updated and error-free.
Get World-changing projects and news in your inbox weekly.