Cities have always been a focus of vitality thanks to the power of their streets to connect people, ideas, creativity and prosperity. Much of this vitality is linked to commerce and to the activity that it develops as catalyst and tractor not only in the sale of goods and services, but also in its social and construction aspects of the city. Even so, the role of urban commerce has experienced several revolutions throughout history and the current situation is not an exception.
During the symposium entitled “The future of the high streets: from local commerce to integral urban economic development”, we discussed the challenges faced by the urban economy – broadly understood in terms of actors involved – and, in particular, on the introduction of governance models that allow the self-management of the commercial zones of the city to make them more competitive, accessible and attractive.
The symposium, organized by the Department of Commerce of the City Council of Barcelona and IESE, took place on March 21st & 29th and May 3rd. The first workshop focused on working on the transition from the high streets to BIDs (Business Improvement Districts) and analyzing the benefits for the different economic and social actors in the city to form part of. The second workshop focused on more operational aspects such as what the BID’s management and participation model should be or how to involve the major international brands in the design and creation of these BIDs. Finally, the last day we openly discussed the future of trade and self-management models in areas of urban economic promotion.