Climate Infrastructure Partnership (CLIP)
Higher Education Alliance For Refugees (HEAR)
HEAR arrived in Barcelona in January 2017. HEAR is a new organisation dedicated to policy research to promote education for those forced to flee their homes by war, climate change and natural disasters. HEAR aims to harness expertise in universities around the world to create innovative approaches to education.
Among the first three projects HEAR working on are:
The Future of Syrian Education
Needlab is a design research organization aimed at solving sustainability issues for communities using human-centred design strategies. With a team of architects, engineers, designers and artists sharing the belief that design is responsible for making lives better, Needlab focusses on unveiling new ways of creating a dialogue between local materials, social customs, cultural heritage, and the environment. They work for and implement design solutions with communities around the world and reachable to all.
Needlab voices a movement that demands more from design. We question how design functions and who it serves. We find new ways to tell the whole story of design processes, the people who build, and the communities and individuals who are affected. Learning from the way they do things traditionally, contrary to imposing new methodologies. We believe that fostering public awareness of the way design can hurt or heal is essential to changing what people expect from the built environment.
We work towards creating what’s needed for the community; of the people, by the people, for the people.
With the ideology of “Think global, Act local”, we focus on unveiling new ways of creating a dialogue between local materials, social customs, cultural heritage and environment. The solutions are drafted in interaction with the community involving them in the conversation connecting them with other communities/ makers. We aim at empowering, training the community, doing hands-on skill building. Developing maker values in the community, building a network with them and other makers.
For the Higher Education Alliance for Refugees, there were additional reasons. Barcelona has been welcoming to refugees. Tens of thousands of people came out on to the streets to call on the Spanish government to admit more refugees. People here feel a personal connection given their own history. There is a sense of compassion out there. It is a diverse and open environment with few of the tensions we are seeing emerging elsewhere in Europe. That open and international outlook was particularly important to us. Barcelona is also an increasingly important international education hub with some of the best universities and research centers in Europe.
The BCN Action Plan was hugely important in the decision to establish in Barcelona. It opened the door to the city and provincial governments and helped provide all the information we needed. Having an immediate set of links to businesses, universities and different levels of government was very useful and knowing that there was this alliance supporting you very encouraging. This sort of private and public sector engagement with social organizations is very innovative and encouraging and it reflect the dynamism you find in Barcelona.
International non-profits and think tanks rely on connections and there are few places where it is easier to make connections than in Barcelona. The city is international, outward looking, cosmopolitan and superb at breaking down barriers. There are few places where government, business and the social sectors work together more effectively and you can see that in the superb management of the city. Few cities work as well as Barcelona. No other city has the combination of efficiency, low costs and amazing quality of life.
Professor of Practice
The Shattuck Center
The Higher Education Alliance for Refugees
Barcelona is actively addressing the challenges of climate change and sustainable development. Already a leader in smart cities and
innovation, Barcelona is experimenting with mobility and urban layouts, water and waste management, electricity and inclusive policies. Barcelona has the potential to become a living lab for sustainable urban infrastructure. More than 70% of global greenhouse gases come from cities, yet urban infrastructure projects face investment risks, and there is a need for institutional capacity to overcome investment barriers and unlock projects. As a compact city with an extremely high population density, Barcelona is comparable to many cities in Asia and around the world, sharing with them many of the challenges that CLIP is tackling. In other words, Barcelona is in line with our mission and vision.
The Barcelona Action Plan was fundamental in the decision to establish CLIP in Barcelona. The plan provides us with the necessary enabling conditions to turn our vision into a reality. The engagement of the private and public sector through the Action Plan is crucial. The plan and CLIP are great examples of creativity and innovation that Barcelona can share with the world.
Dr. Luigi Carafa
Climate Infrastructure Partnership (CLIP)