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Published on 12 de June, 2018 at Cities and Regions

The Creative Jam

By Francesc Quintana
3 min read

At U·TRANS we collaborate with City Councils helping change and transforming the way of thinking and implementing projects with the aim of creating new opportunities for wealth. Often, this leads us to collaborate with City Council areas in charge of local development. Our focus is usually the same: up to now, all the job done to capture opportunities and develop new projects is correct and it has to be maintained, but we must do something else!

What’s going on in Esplugues de Llobregat?

Doing something new or different is easier when a City Council is ready to change and to rethink what is being done and to experience new working lines. Currently, Esplugues de Llobregat (Catalonia), is exploring how to outreach the wave of digitization, universal access to technology, people creativity and local talent empowerment as the key factor for attracting global opportunities and local development. Additionally, in any case this process should bring a new cleavage for social exclusion.

Now, Esplugues de Llobregat is activating its resources to become a city connected to new global opportunities.  The point is: how do we get the city to be a center for retaining local talent and attracting foreign talent? The city is clear about fostering its local creative class, as stated by Professor Richard Florida. Concern about how to identify and activate the local creative class is, therefore, the key issue. Wealth production factors in the knowledge economy are no longer land, labor and capital, but people, their talent and the relationships that they establish.

Activating the local creative class

City Council is now in the process of activating the local creative class asking what to do in order to move forward: More scholarships must be offered to students? Is it necessary to bring a research center or create a university? Is there a new housing policy? Is it necessary to improve the local environment? Do we need to promote STEM vocations among young people? Is it necessary bring to market more industrial land? Should we improve the policies to fight social exclusion? Is it necessary to start up some kind of new facility? Should we fight more against school early abandonment? Should the city be embellished even more?

On May 7, 2018 the Creative Jam was held, a working session devoted to people from Esplugues de Llobregat having a creative class profile.  With the support of FabCafe, the session was developed with the design thinking methodology and with the aim of finding out what Esplugues de Llobregat needs to become a node in the global networks of creativity, talent and knowledge, which means to activate the local creative class. This video shows briefly the 4 hours of intense work.

The process

Attendees at the Creative Jam worked by imagining, from their personal and professional experiences, what would be convenient for Esplugues del Llobregat to become a talent attractive city in order to generate opportunities and to avoid the risk of social exclusion. The ideas were reflected in constructions and ideographs made collectively from recycled materials. The result was quite homogeneous: with different versions, the different working groups imagined and proposed the creation of a space for meeting and boosting local talent, where creativity happens.

This process that the city has begun does not stop here and will continue on next July the 6th, 2018, when there will be a new event in the Plaça Catalunya open to citizens with the aim of bringing technology and new digital trends to everyone.

We congratulate Esplugues de Llobregat City Council because it is innovating, showing a strong commitment towards the 21st century local development paradigm.

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