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Una referencia en arte urbano en Barcelona, Nau Bostik tiene una historia que remite al pasado industrial de la ciudad – la nave abandonada de una antigua fábrica de pegamento se ha convertido en un centro cultural autogestionado. El proyecto creado hace tres años atrae una diversidad de públicos, de aficionados a fotografia a creadores de grafitti y se ha consolidado como uno de los espacios artísticos más modernos y innovadores de la capital catalana. Entrevista con Jorge Sánchez, del equipo gestor de la Nau Bostik.

Nau Bostik se ha convertido en un museo de arte urbano a cielo abierto

Qué es Nau Bostik? 

El proyecto NAU BOSTIK surge con la voluntad de impulsar y dar visibilidad a todo tipo de actividades relacionadas con la cultura y el ocio, manteniendo los principios de diversidad y sostenibilidad como líneas maestras. El proyecto se ha apropiado de una antigua fábrica de pegamento, ubicada en el barrio de La Sagrera, Barcelona.

Cuáles son vuestros principales proyectos?

Somos un espacio que acoge gran variedad de proyectos que tienen que ver con la creación y el arte. Entre los proyectos que tienen más proyección estan los del ámbito de la fotografia, siendo un espacio expositivo de referencia en Barcelona.

El otro ámbito en el que la Nau Bostik se ha vuelto un referente es el Bostik Murals, un proyecto que acoge a todas las disciplinas del arte urbano. La Bostik en si, se ha convertido en un lugar de referencia del arte urbano.

Cómo ha sido pensado el modelo de gestión de Nau Bostik como espacio de arte y cultura? Es posible sobrevivir de la autogestión cultural?

Mantenemos los valores de la diversidad y sostenibilidad, a través de una gestión cívica pòr parte de los colectivos que participan y que residen en la Nau Bostik. No recibimos, de momento, ningún tipo de subvención, y tenemos que generar, a través de algunas actividades, como alquiler de Naves para spots y rodajes de TV y cine, recursos propios con los que hacemos el proyecto sostenible.

Cuáles son vuestros principales retos?

Conservar la fabrica Bostik como patrimonio urbano reconvertida en un espacio de creación y difusión de la cultura y mantener una gestión comunitaria abriendo su participación y toma de decisiones a las entidades, colectivos y personas del barrio de la Sagrera.

Además de los proyectos culturales, cuál es la función social y ecológica de Nau Bostik en Barcelona?

De momento entendemos que el ser un espacio participado por todo tipo de entidades y colectivos del barrio y de la ciudad de Barcelona, eso genera que la Nau Bostik sea util socialmente. Muchas de la actividades que se realizan en la Bostik no se podrian producir en otros espacios de Barcelona, sobretodo en lo que tiene que ver con el arte urbano. A la vez en la Nau Bostik existe una sensibilidad ecológica y alojamos en uno de nuestros miradores un huerto urbano. A parte somos sede de una cooperativa agroecologica que distribuye alimentos una vez a la semana a sus asociados.

Cuáles son vuestros planes para el espacio cultural Nau Bostik?

Básicamente después de tres años de recuperación de la Nau Bostik, nuestro proyecto es consolidar la existencia misma de la Bostik en alianza con el Ayuntamiento para mantener la Nave como equipameinto de ciudad con una gestión comunitaria.

Barcelona is hosting its 8th annual Corporate Social Responsibility Week, an event which connects the public sector to companies and non-profit organizations to discuss the recent developments in CSR. Horyou team has visited the venue and reports on some success stories.

8th CSR Week Barcelona took place from 14th to 18th November

What can a food bank do about global warming? Why should a healthcare and beauty products industry career coach unemployed women? Those are merely signs that CSR is pushing companies to go beyond their backyard. We all find profit in a better world.

The 8th edition of the annual CSR Week in Barcelona was an indication that many companies are trying to run the extra mile through their environmental and social actions. On a panel titled «Conferencias Soc-Eco-Amb», held on Tuesday, four organizations from very diverse industries showcased their actions.

Miguel Ángel Trabado, Henkel Beauty and Healthcare regional head of Professional Partnership Services (PPS), shared the «Fundación Quiero Trabajo» experience inaugurated this year. The project provides hairdressing, clothing, styling and professional coaching to unemployed women, helping them to recover from a job loss and restore their self-confidence. So far, 53 women have received assessment and advice, and 71% have found a new job. «It’s important to notice that most of the work is done by volunteers, and the great majority are women as well», he said. It is a global project that has produced remarkable results in Spain, with a high rate of successful job placements.

Speaking for Metro de Madrid on its recently launched CSR Policy, in line with the 11th and 13th UN Sustainable Development Goals on Sustainable Cities and Climate Action respectively, Monica Mariscal insisted on the company’s commitment to invest in innovation and technology in order to deliver the best user travel experience. Metro de Madrid is thus reusing 80% of its consumed water and, in 2017, it will reduce by 25% its energy consumption. Insisting on the responsibility to cater for the vast diversity of its users, she disclosed that «From a social perspective, the company has a commitment to diversity, and is building accessible stations and training both employees and people with disability to better use the metro». The goal is to have 73% of all stations accessible to people with disability by 2030.

Ana Gonzales talks about the CSR and Environment projects in Caprabo

As for the national supermarket chain Caprabo and its microdonations program, it is striving to reduce food waste, as well as to support people in need. Hence, the company donate small quantities of its unsold products – a pack of eggs in which just one is broken, for instance -, to non-profit organizations or food banks. This sounds simple but it requires some logistics in relation to food preservation and employee training to send out only items that are safe for consumption. According to Ana Gonzales, in charge of CSR and Environment for Caprabo, «The program is a success as it helps to feed 788 families per year. It also reduces food waste by more than 2,000 tons».

Caprabo micro donations go to organizations like Banc dels Aliments de Barcelona, a food bank that provides 18,000 tons of food to 137,000 people in Catalonia. In addition to putting meals on needy families tables, the organization has recently signed an agreement with the public sector by which it is working on reducing CO2 emissions. According to Joan Bosch, Economic Resources Coordinator, it is an extra challenge they are happy to take. «We have changed all our lamps to LED and are looking forward to reducing our emissions by more than 2,300 tons of CO2 in 2017», he stated. It is all done thanks to volunteering work and donations, and we aim higher each year. «Poverty is more intense and chronic than ever. We cover only 27% of families in need, and we expect to improve this number and the quality of what people are eating», he added. It will be done, of course, with lower emissions and the tireless commitment to building a better society.

Barcelona is well-known for its tourist attractions – beautiful architecture, vibrant nightlife and great food -, which makes it one of the most visited places in the world. Yet, there is something more than attracting the occasional visitors that the Catalan capital wants to earn: the status of first Social Business big City. As a supporter of social businesses around the world, Horyou interviewed Anna Domenech, spokesperson for Social Business City Barcelona.

Barcelona Social Business City
Barcelona Social Business City

What does Social Business City Barcelona stand for?

Social Business City Barcelona (SBC Barcelona) is an International program of intervention, created by Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace prize in 2006, known as the promoter of microcredit and social business concepts. The creation of this international initiative has the purpose of spreading the concept of social business around the world, at a time when an international social business movement is arising worldwide that involves people, organizations and societies. This movement aims to promote and support social entrepreneurship and social business as a tool to deal with and solve the social needs and challenges of the city. From this global ecosystem, a new concept on how to solve social problems in a territory emerges, in a holistic and collaborative way: Social Business City (SBC). In order to reach that objective, SBC Barcelona has created a huge alliance between different actors in the city to work together for a social and economic change. Currently, SBC Barcelona is supporting the creation of new social enterprises, accompanying NGOs to create social businesses, undertaking social business communication campaigns, training sessions and workshops for students, and boosting university research and teaching. An important thing to consider is what we mean by social business: organizations whose main objective is to achieve a positive social impact, using the sale of a product or a service as a tool. The profits are reinvested in their own activity (no-dividend), to make more effective and enduring its main goal: to create impact and generate social change.

You have a very bold mission – to transform Barcelona into the first big social business city in the world. What is your strategy and timeline to reach this goal?

Before Barcelona, Wiesbaden (Germany), Pistoia (Italy) and Fukuoka (Japan) got involved in the SBC initiative. The latest incorporation has been Ipoh, in Malaysia. These initiatives are being developed in very different realities, especially regarding the size of the cities which are taking part. In Pistoia, for example, the program is carried out by the University of Florence. In Barcelona, we have four public universities and a large number of private universities and business schools. We have obtained the commitment of all the public universities and four private universities. So, the initiative in Barcelona requires the articulation of an extensive city; it also calls to deal with the multiplicity and complexity of all the actors involved. On the other hand, it should be noted that Barcelona presents a great, strong and rooted civil society where many alternative forms of production and consumption have developed throughout the years; forms such as cooperatives are traditionally very powerful in Catalonia. In this sense, there’s a big task of including, cooperating and interacting with all the actors. Social entities and social businesses, universities, private entities, the third sector and the Barcelona city council are involved in the project since its inception.

Lab 'co-creating social business'
Lab “co-creating social business”

What are your main challenges today?

Our main objective now is to spread the concept of social business, to make visible other ways of doing business where economic activity becomes a potential and sustainable tool to face the social needs and challenges. It is necessary to give support and awareness to civil society that there are many initiatives and entrepreneurs that are creating business from a critical, transformative and committed social perspective. With SBC, we are supporting and promoting the creation of these companies that are based on social, environmental and cultural view, which allow the introduction of transformative perspectives and relationship to change the rules, and the type of thinking required for a radical transformation of the economic system. In order to achieve that, on the one hand, we’re doing a lot of training activities in universities and schools; we grant several awards for the best social business projects to university and professional training students, and we’re launching communication campaigns and activities that involve civil society. On the other hand, we’re carrying out the Lab Co-Creating Social Business, which offers support to social entrepreneurs: an intensive workplace, workshops, support and advice in the process of creation a new social business.

Are you engaged with the Sustainable Development Goals?

We’re engaged with SDG because we think it’s totally necessary to adopt this set of goals as a part of a new sustainable development global agenda. We think in a global way and consider that all these goals should be intrinsic to all activities of all organizations, in the common world we’re living in. However, we’re working from a territorial vision, through the identification of different social challenges which must be faced in Barcelona. The first main challenge identified was to reduce youth unemployment in the city, an unsustainable situation which requires to be approached immediately, by the cooperation and implication of all the city’s agents. To revert this problem will take time and effort. That is why we need sustainable and coordinated solutions, focused towards the reduction of youth unemployment, but guaranteeing sustainability and maximization of its social impact in the future, and counting on the youth community as agents who can transform a reality that affects them directly. Some of other challenges we are working on are high pollution rates, migrations, negative tourism effects in the city, right to housing, or education.

In your opinion, are civil society and private sector more aware and committed to social businesses?

In the recent years, we have witnessed a series of events, both locally and globally, which have shaken the dominant socio-economic structures, demonstrating the need to re-think and transform the system. We grew up in a context where the hegemonic economic actors have shown to prioritize growth measured in personal profits at the expense of the interests based on people and common welfare, where business relations have strengthened poverty, exclusion, social inequality, and environmental devastation. But for a long time, different and alternatives ways of doing business have been raised, showing that other forms of production, exchange and consumption is not only possible, but a reality. One way of doing business is where economic activity becomes a potential tool to face challenges and social needs. In a distressing global reality, we believe that people are becoming more aware of the importance of betting for sustainable and responsible ways of life; and we believe that it’s absolutely necessary for a committed and aware civil society to generate new public policies favourable to this socio-economic change.

Teaching
Teaching a course of social economy at the university

Horyou is a social network for the social good. How important is to have social networks engaging and promoting social businesses?

We think it’s crucial to place the new forms of communication, of sharing information and knowledge at the service of social and sustainable proposals. It’s evident that social networks present new opportunities, intensifying the connections and the possibilities of cooperation. So we think it’s necessary to redirect this innovative tools towards new ways of collaboration in order to co-create and build collective knowledge and experience around social enterprises and social economy.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

Gender equality is not only a matter of fair pay or of more representation in power roles: it’s a matter of development, peace and a positive future for all. The role of cities and regions when it comes to building a better future for both women and men is a hot topic in 2019: while new studies and reports are being launched, more initiatives are becoming visible and gaining strength, raising the debate about how to include the Sustainable Development Goal 5 into municipal policies.

The city of Barcelona, in Spain, launched a program which supports the creation and growth of women-led businesses

Launched earlier this year, the EU’s Gender Equality Monitor (GEM) is one of the tools that measure women’s disadvantage relative to men in many regions. The early conclusions already point to a clear direction: countries, regions and cities that invest in gender equality are richer and less corrupt than the ones that don’t. The Monitor shows that GDP is higher in regions where women are less disadvantaged and that a government is of a higher quality when more women are involved. A research conducted by the University of Gothenburg, in Sweden, presents evidence that female representation is strongly negatively associated with both grand and petty corruption.

Creating space for women’s voices and needs is then an essential step towards building better cities and regions – governments with more women involved can perform better by investing wisely in minimizing inequality. Be it deconstructing damaging stereotypes, changing budget allocation or supporting female entrepreneurs, there are many ways cities can support gender equality. The new report Gender Equal Cities, published by the EU, highlights innovative initiatives that are simple to replicate and have already been implemented in several European cities.

For example, in Cascais, Portugal, the city council provided training for all public staff in its communications department on how to avoid reproducing traditional, outdated gender stereotypes in their digital and print materials.

Yet, these projects are not only about direct gender discrimination – they plan to include more women in community projects and help them occupy more urban spaces. In Bologna, Italy, the city recruited, trained and empowered young women to act as ambassadors against minorities discrimination, namely Roma, Sinti and Camminanti communities, while in Romania, the city of Râmnicu Sărat took inexpensive measures to include more women into their municipal sports facilities, which were disproportionally used by men: After consulting female citizens, they changed the way they advertise the services and provided women-only sessions to make them feel more welcome.

By its very nature, gender equality is a long-term goal. Rather than offering ready-made solutions, it’s a starting point: a trigger for the right questions to be posed to support all urban policymakers in improving gender equality in Europe.’ says report co-author Sally Kneeshaw.

City leaders

While making up for more than half of the population, women are underrepresented in regional assemblies (28,6%) and municipal councils (36%) in Europe, which only has 15% female mayors. The traditional gender equality issues continue to raise attention: women are paid 16% less than men, perform more unpaid work and experience more gender-related violence. By working with city leaders, the EU has been transforming existing knowledge into clear recommendations that drive the gender-equality agenda with 5 pillars: Representation & Participation, Governance, Economic Equality, Public Services, Planning & Public Space and Migrant Integration.

Regarding Economic Equality, for instance, the city of Barcelona, in Spain, launched Lidera31, a program which supports the creation and growth of women-led businesses, as well as empowers women to reach more senior roles in their professional careers. The initiative has trained over 1000 women in skills development, business support and networking, aiming to close both the entrepreneurship gap and the pay gap.

What can your city do?

The report ends on a provocative note to all policymakers: what can cities do to move forward with the gender equality agenda? The answer lies in exchanging experiences; promoting open dialogues that respect different perspectives; raising awareness, bringing marginalised women’s experiences to the fore and continuing to identify, capture and share why gender equality is important and what actions can drive change.

Gender Equal Cities must continue to be addressed and communicated as a fundamental right, and then makes cities good places for all.

A recently launched documentary shows how a couple of artists is changing the landscape of the dying rural ‘pueblos’ in Spain

The documentary is directed by Alfonso Kint

After many years living in the city, Alfonso and Lucía were tired of the busy, dirty streets, the noise and the lack of connection that define virtually any metropolis in the world. Like all artists, they needed inspiration and space to create – also like most artists, they didn’t have much financial means. Then, Lucía has discovered herself pregnant and that changed everything. After little Greta was born, the couple moved to Torralba de Ribota, a 100 inhabitants’ town in Aragon, Spain and went to live in an old house that belonged to Lucía’s grandmother.

How many of us have a country side heritage?”, asks the recently launched documentary “Soñando un Lugar” (In English, Dreaming of a Place), presented this week to a selected audience in CCCB, in Barcelona. Through the 7-year filming and editing process, Alfonso has realized he was telling a bigger story than his family’s: the one of the dying pueblos, small rural Spanish towns that are almost deserted.

Fields are not worked anymore, as the young people moved on to more “reputable” jobs in the city. The dry earth is shown as a scar of old times, when the land provided all the food: potatoes, beans, nuts. Some of the remainders still breed bees and goats, but they are few. There are not enough hands anymore.

Full of empty houses and kept alive by the old neighbours’ memories, Torralba de Ribota had no children, though no future. The arrival of the small family started to shake things up – as Alfonso filmed the documentary, Lucía was creating an innovative project that aimed to transform the ancient pueblos in stages for artistic residencies and projects, while little Greta built her own fantasy world among hills, art and meaningful conversations with the elders. After them, many others came: musicians, performers, painters started to search for houses in the town. One of the biggest challenges was to find houses to buy: telephones didn’t work anymore, people were not reachable. Most buildings were kept closed and empty. Many of them remain so.

As the project “Pueblos en Arte” flourished, the life of the town has changed – connections between old and new started to be made, artists had space and time to create, children had access to nature and played ‘like the old times’. More towns were added to the project, that now has 6 ongoing projects, a patronage funding plan and high hopes for the future. “We want to start a dialogue between city and town”, said Alfonso, who’s now touring though Spain to promote his film.

Horyou, the social network for social good, promotes artistic projects with social impact related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The documentary “Soñando un Lugar” helps communities and cities to become more sustainable and self-sufficient (Goal 11).

Artificial Intelligence means new perspectives for governments and corporations… and everybody else

Technology has answered many humanitarian challenges, trying to foster inclusion at a pace that was unimaginable only a few decades back

After years of covering some of the most important technology events in the world, I was happy to witness the rising of AI for Good. While 2018 saw a burgeoning approach to Artificial Intelligence as it became the central theme of a few panels in major global forums and conferences or a key resource in innovative projects developed by a still modest yet resilient number of blue chip corporations, 2019 has obviously given the subject its momentum. AI is a market expected to grow from USD 21.46 Billion in 2018 to USD 190.61 Billion by 2025, and AI for good seems to be the new frontier to explore, according to a McKinsey studyFrom startups to established tech operators and from governments to social entrepreneurs, it suddenly seemed like the whole tech industry was finally on the right launch pad to propose devices and services that improve both our lives and natural or manmade environments and, ultimately, preserve the planet.

Education is one of the industries that have been positively impacted by AI and has potential to grow 38% per year, reaching an approximate market value of 2 billion USD by 2023. Gamification, along with assessment and tutoring programs are being widely implemented by corporations and governments to boost learning ratios, even in remote impoverished or isolated communities while reducing costs and, eventually, helping attain the related UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4). Now quality education seems indeed a reachable objective where it is most needed. Robots are taking center stage in educational projects, whether to teach students about coding and AI or to coach them, thus improving their level of interest in technology-related topics.

For governments, AI has proven effective in security projects, helping cities to secure big events through improved surveillance, using connected devices including drones, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices to better control road traffic or the air quality. Cities like Barcelona and São Paulo have been forerunners in that regard, while making sure their policies meet the aims of the related UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG11), specifically recommending the implementation of smart city policies.

Another major concern relating to sustainable development being population welfare, especially regarding food security, smart farming strategies are at the center of many country agricultural sustainable improved productivity programs, one of the biggest concerns of our times. AI for farming, include IoT, is a promising market and, only in the US, is adopted by 250,000 farmers, who are collectively spending almost 1 billion USD. And that’s in line with the UN SDG2. Producing food for an ever-increasing population in times of dramatically severe climate change certainly is the ultimate challenge of our society – and AI is indeed offering a highly estimated contribution. Companies that monitor crops and livestock, and those that are in the business of optimizing the efficiency of health plans, are part of the same trend, which otherwise rely on complex microclimate predicting algorithms and communication tools reaching out to farmers, providing them with more accurate information.

In a nutshell, AI for Good is good. In times when competitiveness, productivity and transparency are inevitably defined in terms of sustainability, they have no other option but to be intrinsically connected to smart, clean and socially impactful devices and services. Technology has answered many humanitarian challenges, trying to foster inclusion at a pace that was unimaginable only a few decades back. It is now the appropriate time to look at AI, as well as at its developers, and consider them as allies in the process of shaping a better world.

Join us! If you want to showcase your product, service or project in AI for Good, apply to speak at SIGEF 2019.

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