Inventory and perspectives of service institutions in Barcelona in comparison with existing facilities in Vienna

Every modern city and, therefore, the city government aims at recognising current and future developments in society and so that they can respond to changing needs in a flexible and farsighted manner.

An important source for identifying these requirements are the service institutions operated by the municipal administration that, in their function as interfaces between administration and citizens, are faced with the problems, requests and complaints of the population every day. They are, however, also important indicators for the satisfaction of the citizens in a city or quarter. In this context, important service institutions are Vienna's Area Renewal Offices whose tasks continuously increased in the last years. Various promising models are in planning for the expansion of services as well as for raising the effectiveness and networking of some service institutions of the City of Vienna - inputs from other European cities can make an important contribution to these efforts.

Barcelona, a city that already developed innovative solutions in several fields (e.g. barrier-free public space), was used as a reference model for examining services provided by municipal offices. In response to new and old requirements and challenges (e.g. social needs resulting from the reconciliation of family and work, new family models, cultural diversity and the integration of immigrants), Barcelona adopted the Municipal Innovation Plan, a comprehensive master plan for transforming the municipal organisation by 2010. To reach this goal, six major strategic priorities were defined:

  • City Council online
  • Focus on citizens and service quality
  • Receptivity, participation and consensus
  • Quality in public space
  • Organisational development
  • New management tools

In parallel, the Barcelona Housing Plan was drawn up that mainly aims at creating affordable homes for young and elderly people.