At the end of the 20th century, it was decided to intervene comprehensively 200 hectares of industrial land in the Poblenou area. With the aim to preserve the productive character of an area that had been the epicenter of the industrial revolution in Catalonia.

The result of this is the 22@, one of the first districts of urban innovation in the world. The 22@ was conceived the following fundamental features:

  • Sustain the productive character of the territory, by favouring knowledge-intensive activities
  • Encourage the generation and installation of knowledge centers (Universities, research centers, etc)
  • Pursue and develop a compact and complex city model, with mixed land use. Which includes housing, citizen service, business development, green areas and different equipment.
  • Implement an infrastructure plan (with service networks, district heating, pneumatic waste collection, advanced mobility solutions, redundant power grid, etc.) that forge and consolidate the district as an advanced tertiary land
  • Preserve the architectural, and industrial heritage of the district
  • Foster the conditions for the development of an open ecosystem of innovation

Since the 20th century, Innovation Districts have proliferated throughout the world, unlocking other urban typologies of innovation based on large areas far from the central cities (Silicon Valley model). 

In The rise of innovation districtsof Bruce Katz y Julie Wagner for the Brookings Institutions, the authors define these environments as 

"geographical areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. They are also physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired and offer mixed-use housing, office and retail"

Innovative Districts encompass physical, economic and relationship elements. If one of them is missing, the ecosystem dynamics do not occur: the competitive advantage of being where things happen.


22 @ is not a unique model. In many cities of the world we find similar initiatives, each of one of them with its local peculiarities, but with common elements.

These are some of the world's leading innovative districts, urban ecosystems with a high density of creativity and business 

TECH CITY UK - Currently, the project is synonymous with the support program of the British start-ups. Tech City UK beginnings are connected with London Tech City, one of the largest concentrations of IT companies in Europe.

HAFEN CITY HAMBURG - 157 hectares of urban renewal along the Elbe river. In Hafen City, large corporations, households, green areas and different types of equipment coexists. All of them with high-quality standards. A strategy that constantly reinvents the city center of Hamburg.

ARABIANRANTA HELSINKI - A neighbourhood with vast green spaces, first-class environmental standards and a productive sector around the Helsinki University of Art and Design and the Helsinki Design Museum.
Resultat d'imatges de boston innovation district logo
BOSTON INNOVATION DISTRICT - Boston represents excellence in research, transfer, and innovation. Boston’s Innovation District is the first officially labeled innovation district to be created in the United States. It has been a pioneered new models of use for housing, company headquarters, shared workspace and collaboration. The CIC is a good example of university-business collaboration.

SEOUL DIGITAL MEDIA CITY - Entertainment and digital media cluster located in Seoul, designed to cultivate the development of all types of digital content with the environment and technology. DMC contributes enormously to Korea's positioning in the 21st-century knowledge market, through its IT, human resources and entertainment capabilities.

SKOLKOVO INNOVATION CENTER -A project supported by the Russian government on the outskirts of Moscow. High technology business area, focused on energy efficiency, biomedicine and nuclear and space technologies.

MIAMI INNOVATION DISTRICT - Ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship to complement the local community and strengthen Miami as a world-class city. The objective is to unite start-ups, medium and international companies in an innovative mixed-use project.

SILICON ALLEE BERLIN -  It started as a business community and is now home to many of Berlin's technology companies. Thousands of international entrepreneurs work and live with the district's local neighborhood. It includes a Campus that serves as embassy of the start-up zone of Berlin.
Resultat d'imatges de corridor manchester
THE CORRIDOR OF MANCHESTER - Also known as Oxford Road Corridor. Located in south area of Manchester’s City Centre. The place adopts the distinctive qualities of an innovation district. By emphasising the sense of collaboration, community engagement, and investment; as well as the will to create a sense of home starting from placemaking.

LEEDS INNOVATION DISTRICT - Centred on the academic and economic strengths of the city of Leeds (United Kingdom). This District is mainly focused in knowledge areas such as health, engineers, financial services, data analysis, and technology, with the aim of attracting companies and institutions into a cooperative ecosystem. 

GRAND CANAL INNOVATION DISTRICT - Located in Dublin and promoted by Trinity College, the Grand Canal Innovation District (GCID) will offer a core of innovation that will support and strengthen the innovation proposal of the city. Its four main strengths will be research, enterprise, place and culture.