There are axes of innovation that urban planners design in their studies by drawing lines on paper, but there are others that take shape without so much planning, thanks to the sum of a series of isolated decisions and simple coincidence. In Barcelona, an obvious example of the first would be the 22@ technology district, a project that continues to be successful, even if it occasionally needs corrections. And a case that could fit into the second category, we would have it in the pole of innovation that is taking shape along the Ronda de Dalt, on the Barcelona side of Collserola.
Let's see how it turned out. To the scientific faculties of the UB and the UPB-UPC (first it was the Universitat Politècnica de Barcelona), the La Caixa Foundation Science Museum was added in 1981, reformulated two decades later as CosmoCaixa. In 1997, the Barclona Science Park was created and, in 2005, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), one of the crown jewels of research in the Catalan capital, took shape alongside the UPC, always in the process of 'extension.
In this same continuum of talent are the hospitals, with Vall d'Hebron as an international reference, and the ambitious project of moving the Clínic hospital to the upper part of Diagonal, where the sports area is now from the UB.
Without forgetting, despite its location on the high mountain (the highest point on the Horta-Cerdanyola road), the Valldaura Labs of the Institut d'Arquitectura Avançada de Catalunya (IAAC), another center of global reference. Or, making the jump to the Vallès slope, the UAB in Bellaterra and the ALBA synchrotron.
But it will probably not arrive until 2025, when the first modules of the CaixaResearch Institute begin to open, the time to consider this axis of innovation that has developed for half a century at the foot of Tibidabo to be fully configured. This great facility of the La Caixa Foundation, a personal project of its president, Isidro Fainé, will be the first research center in Spain dedicated to immunology and will obviously have an international impact. The institute, which will be completed in phases over the next few years, will occupy a space of 20,000 square meters and will employ 700 people.
Beyond its relevance in the field of research, the project can also make a notable contribution to Barcelona's bid to become a city where art, science and technology make joint proposals. In fact, the associated urban planning reform will mean that the new research institute and the CosmoCaixa are part of the same complex. It will be difficult not to establish shared lines of work between scientists and humanists in an institution that already bets on the binomial of art and science through its line of exhibitions (we have the current example of the successful Art and Nature at the CaixaForum ).
In any case, it will be interesting to see how, in the coming years, a new map of the Barcelona of innovation (scientific, technological, artistic and social) will be drawn, in which the brand-new axis of Collserola interacts with pulses such as that of Glòries/22 @; the Citadel of Knowledge; the old hospital of Sant Pau; the Raval neighborhood (CCCB-Macba); the cultural mountain of Montjuïc, and other extra-radius axes (Besòs and the renewed Zona Franca) or metropolitan areas, with Hospitalet as the main point of reference.
Now we just need to believe it, to keep these potentialities in mind before adding to the discourse of stagnation, urban decay and unwise comparisons with cities where models of coexistence have nothing to do with the from Barcelona.