Celebrated architect Gaudí left his imprint on Barcelona in more ways than one. His unique incorporation of colour and organic form into the city’s architecture sought to infuse the urban landscape with nature’s harmony. In step with Gaudí’s vision, Barcelona’s modern-day city planners have placed Spain’s second-largest city at pole position for “Smart City” planning. Its planners envisage a harmonious living space where buildings generate their own energy needs; transport systems, street lighting and electric vehicle charging networks are powered on renewable energy; an abundance of rooftop gardens and green spaces create carbon sinks; and where its community can connect via state-of-the art information networks across the city.
It may not be there yet, but Barcelona is no less an inspiring city to live in today than it will be tomorrow. Its ocean playground, dazzling architecture, heady nightlife, its plethora of open air spaces and activities for all ages, dazzling architecture, street markets and colmados (old-style food shops), its rich cultural heritage and its passion for the arts and sports (not least, football!) make it easy to understand why so many foreigners - which account for roughly 7% of residents - choose Barcelona to live and work.
What is special or unique about your city?
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and Spain's second largest city with over three million people living in the metropolitan area. It is a modern European city with solid infrastructure, but its location on the Mediterranean shore, together with its pleasant climate, and historic and cultural richness, are what makes the city the great place it is to live and work.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Many newcomers will be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city and the abundance of architectural landmarks. The diversity of restaurants, museums, shops and beaches, makes it easy for anyone to find what they are looking for.
Are these impressions likely to change?
After having lived for some years in Barcelona, many people will still discover new aspects of the city. It is an ever-changing city that never gets boring.
What is the local language?
Catalonia and its capital Barcelona are officially bilingual, and both Catalan and Spanish (Castellano) are the official languages. Ninety-nine per cent of people can speak Spanish, and 85% of the population can speak Catalan. Catalan is the primary language in government bodies, schools and universities.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
Although Barcelona is chiefly a tourist location, relatively few locals speak English. In order to deepen relationships with local people or even to go shopping, it's advisable to at least have basic skills in Spanish and/or Catalan.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
There are not any special things to mention that would upset the local residents.
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate, with mild, humid winters and dry, hot summers. Snowfall is rare, and the summer heat is tempered by the proximity of the sea. The weather is generally pleasant, and is one of the main attractions of the city.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Residents of Barcelona are generally very tolerant of foreigners. The city has a long history of immigrants moving into it, and many people descend from immigrants themselves. The Catalan people are very proud of their culture, and will happily boast about Catalan cuisine and customs.