Back in Barcelona for the Smart City Expo World Congress 2021 (SCEWC21)

After two years of online meetings, conferences, and presentations, it was exciting for our Closer Cities team member Negar Noori to physically participate in one of the most important events around the Smart City in Barcelona this November. Physical meetings and discussions have always been different from online meetings and presentations. One of the most prominent differences is that people are more eager to open up and share their ideas when they meet each other in person. They usually stay longer in place for further discussion, idea exchange, and networking after the presentations and panel discussions. These types of interactions are important in sharing and transmitting tacit knowledge.

Negar Noori at the Smart City Expo

Negar Noori at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona

The Barcelona Smart City Expo November 16-18


The Barcelona Smart City Expo, held annually in November since 2011, is one of the most important international Smart City events. This event consists of two main areas, the congress and the exhibition, and many side events and activities such as workshops. In the congress section, smart city experts share their practices on various themes of governance, mobility, energy and environment, living and inclusion, building and infrastructure, and enabling technologies. Cities and companies have open stands and pavilions to show their latest achievements and smart solutions in the exhibition section. Last year the event was held online due to the pandemic, and this year the participants were able to come back to Barcelona for a physical presence, but digital participation was also possible.

Key themes

Inclusion, sustainability, and AI were at the core of this year's event. In the exhibition, the big absentees were China, Arab countries (especially Dubai and Qatar) and Israel. At the same time, the active presence of German cities and companies in this year's exhibition was significant.

Another main program during this event is the World Smart City Awards which introduces the best projects, ideas, and strategies in nine categories: City Award, Leadership Award, Innovation Recovery Award, Enabling Technologies Award, Energy and Environment Award, Mobility Award, Governance and Economy Award, Living and Inclusion Award, and Safety and Security Award.

Smart City Expo

Credits of the image: Negar Noori

World Smart City Awards 2021

  • The City Award: the City Award 2021 was won by the city of Buenos Aires for its solid waste management plan. Belo Horizonte, St. Petersburg, City of Sydney, Sunderland City Council, and the City of New York were other finalists to compete for this award.
  • The Leadership Award: Carlos Moreno, for his '15-minutes city' vision and Benedetta Tagliabue for the idea of 'bringing beauty and liveability to our cities' won the Leadership Award. These ideas made a significant contribution to smart cities development during the past 10 years.
  • The Innovation Recovery Award: the city of Wuhan was the winner of the Innovation Recovery Award for its governance of revitalization after COVID-19.
  • The Enabling Technology Award: DUET platform won the Enabling Technology Award for the digital twins' projects.
  • The Energy and Environment Award: the Energy and Environment Award went to the city of The Hague for the 'living lab Scheveningen' project for the most innovative implemented project relating to the urban environment. 
  • The Mobility Award: the port of Barcelona won the Mobility Award for its intelligent mobility system.
  • The Governance and Economy Award: the World Economic Forum won the Governance and Economy Award for the G20 global smart cities alliance on technology governance. 
  • The Inclusion and Liveability Award: the Municipality of Chengdu won the Inclusion and Liveability Award for its implementation of online governance. 
  • The Safety and Security Award: the Safety and Security Award went to Albuquerque for its IoT and cybersecurity infrastructure for the desert water utility.
Smart City Expo 2021 Barcelona

Credits of the image: Negar Noori

More information

For more information on the Smart City Expo World Congress, click here.

Negar Noori at Smart City Expo 2021