Barcelona City Council, through the Department of Science and Universities, has subsidized 18 young and emerging research projects linked to three areas: health and well-being in society; circular economy and climate action; and community organization, democracy and participation. Among the eighty projects presented, one of the winners is the 'Acciona y Conecta' project led by Mónica Sánchez, researcher and professor at La Salle-URL, whose objective is to create more accessible, sustainable and healthy cities.
The initiative wants to create a platform that, through the exploitation of existing data and other data collected with sensors, helps the cities of the present to become the sustainable, resilient and healthy cities of the future. Thanks to the efficient use of available technologies, such as Big Data, the aim is to improve people's quality of life, while protecting the environment, reducing social inequalities and promoting environmental management and sustainable mobility.
A transversal project with student participation
"We are in the initial phase of data collection and analysis and detection of urban design parameters that have the greatest impact on pedestrian traffic and street cyclability. From this, we will objectively assess the level of healthy urban spaces to map, analyze patterns and seek solutions", explains Mónica Sánchez. The project has a very transversal nature and apart from the project leader, an architect expert in urban design, other researchers, professors and students of both Architecture and Engineering also participate.
In addition, various students on campus participate in the project directly or through related activities. Thus, students of the Master of Science in Data Science are associating their final master's projects with the 'Acciona y Conecta' project. The students of the Degree in Architecture are working on an exercise related to the project in the Planning subject. Recently, Mónica Sánchez herself and Joan Navarro, coordinator of the Master of Science in Big Data and one of the researchers collaborating in the initiative, gave a webinar to explain the project and reflect on how data will change our cities.
Projects to improve the Barcelona of the future
This Barcelona City Council grant program helps to develop original projects whose objective is to provide scientific evidence that can inspire political decisions in the city. The projects, according to the City Council, "address the challenges from a local, interdisciplinary and metropolitan perspective, include the gender and environmental dimension and value the diversity of the city".
At the same time, in order to stimulate research among young researchers, the rules of the call indicated that the proposals should come from individuals or teams of emerging scientists, recently doctorates and who are beginning their research career. "The call sought to consolidate scientific careers in the city, giving opportunities to the youngest people in the scientific profession," explains the Barcelona City Council.