In the past 35 years Spanish cities have experienced a deep transformation. The democratic system requiring increased transparency and accountability, now possible through emerging new technologies, has put the citizen at the centre of decision-making for municipal managers.
By Diego Guri, Expansion Director of Amec
Additionally, with global trends such as urbanization, scarcity of resources and the digital revolution, cities have become true spearheads of innovation. Some cities in Spain, such as Málaga, Santander, Madrid and specially Barcelona are being formed as international benchmarks in smart cities. The credit is shared among citizens themselves, municipal managers, and the companies that have helped build more liveable, efficient and sustainable cities.
Companies working in urban areas usually remain in the background. Maybe the better known are public and private companies that provide urban services (waste collection, provision of water, energy or communications), construction of public infrastructure or engineering. However, the industry which supplies equipment, high technology components, design and innovation to cities is the great unknown.
Industrial companies are actually at the forefront in a more efficient and sustainable management of smart cities. In recent years, this term has been popularized, usually by associating to it the use of information and communications technology (ICT). But smart city technologies go beyond ICT. There is a hard indispensable component, without which the qualitative leap that cities around the world are experiencing would be impossible.
amec urbis is a cluster association based in Barcelona that groups Spanish industrial companies that offer sustainable solutions to smart cities. There are many examples of what this type of industrial companies can implement into a city. Walking through the main arteries of the Spanish cities, but also worldwide, it is common to find equipment at work from the member companies which have helped to build and transform those cities in the following fields:
- Sustainable mobility: road safety, signals, traffic control and planning, accesses control, car parks and charging infrastructures for electrical vehicles.
- Environment: equipment to collect and process waste, water treatment, air analysis, control and treatment, noise pollution.
- Urban landscape: urban equipment and furniture, green spaces, children's playgrounds, equipment management systems.
Our mission is to help our members in their internationalization process. We count on the complicity of municipalities to promote internationally the true living showrooms that have become our cities for the industry.
Thus, our cities are not only customers for industrial companies. They may also be partners that help them going to foreign markets. Together with amec urbis, cities can help to promote those industrial companies all over the world. This not only benefits the companies themselves but it also enhances and consolidates an industrial cluster of very dynamic and innovative companies based in our territory.
It is not only a question of maintaining and creating new jobs, but also of having foreign markets pulling companies’ innovation. As a consequence, these companies will provide better products and technology that will revert to the benefit of our citizens in the future.