The European Forest Institute has selected Barcelona as European Forest City 2022 and location of institution’s annual conference. The Art Nouveau Site will host some of the events that will be held throughout the year in the Catalan capital, along with other spaces such as Valldaura Labs of the Catalan Institute of Advanced Architecture (IAAC) in Collserola park.
Barcelona will be European Forest City and venue for the European Forest Institute (EFI) Annual Conference in 2022. The EFI, one of the resident organizations in the Art Nouveau Site, made the decision public during its annual meeting, which took place in the German city of Bonn on the 13th of October 2020.
Competing with the cities of Madrid, Soria and Navi Sadf (Serbia), the Catalan capital presented a candidacy led by the Barcelona Metropolitan Area and supported by key stakeholders such as the Catalan Institute of Advanced Architecture (IAAC), the Center for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) and the Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC).
Different factors explain the attractiveness of Barcelona’s proposal. First, Catalonia’s vast forest mass has led to the development of an important forest sector, both in terms of economic activities and science, producing important milestones in both forest management and research. Moreover, the green strategy of the city of Barcelona and the Metropolitan Area are, in the eyes of the organization, two excellent global benchmarks. Among other things, the EFI applauds initiatives to combat the effects of climate change, the re-naturalization of public space, the promotion of citizen participation and the development of innovative wood construction projects. Collserola is also considered one of the best examples of a peri-urban park.
An opportunity to lay the foundations of the biocity
Barcelona’s candidacy includes a series of activities that will promote debate on the impact of the circular bioeconomy in urban environments, with the aim of overcoming the traditional dichotomy between urbanized spaces and natural spaces. In this way, the city will advance towards a new urban model, the biocity, where nature becomes another element of the urban fabric, complementing other attributes, such as the smart city.
Networking for good forest management
The European Forest Institute, an international organization with a convention ratified by 29 European States, works in a network with 120 associated forest research centers from across the old continent. The Barcelona office, based in the Art Nouveau Site, is the organization’s third most important center, after the headquarters, located in Joensuu, Finland, and Bonn, Germany. Sant Pau hosts three major EFI work teams: the EFI Mediterranean Facility (EFIMED); EU FLEGT Facility, which works to improve forest management and legal timber trade; and the EU REDD Facility, which supports countries in improving their forest management as a measure to prevent climate change.