Sunrise or Sunset: Is Barcelona on the slide? Featured
For some, the current economic gloom in Europe is a disaster. For others it represents an opportunity.
Companies who want to expand into or across Europe may not find fertile fields of credit or cash-rich customers awaiting them but there is an abundance of commercial property at competitive prices and a lot of available, skilled workers.
Those thinking about seizing the moment may consult the most recent Cushman and Wakefield report on the relative attractiveness of the top 36 European cities. The 22nd survey from the international commercial real estate company is based upon opinions polled from corporations and breaks desirability down into various categories such as each city's reputation, the commercial real estate market, transport links, telecommunications, quality of life, languages and local workforce.
Barcelona is still firmly in the top ten but it has found itself slipping this year to sixth place after dropping two places in two years. During the same period, eternal rival Madrid has moved up to seventh. London came top of the list, followed by Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Berlin.
The Catalan capital was, for the fourteenth consecutive year, rated highest for quality of life. It was also judged to be second only to London for promoting itself as a business centre.
As one of the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) nations that are considered the economically weakest of the Eurozone it is remarkable that Spain still has two cities in the top ten. It is the only country to do so. The economic reputation of the country in the international business press has been less than stellar but it is obviously not a deal-breaker when it comes to relocation decisions.
Credit must go to Barcelona's entrepreneurs and business people as well as to the agencies responsible for promoting Barcelona overseas. Keeping the gloss on the city's reputation during these difficult times is a herculean task and one which requires constant effort.
The image of Barcelona as a place where the work-life relationship is seen to be balanced seems to be key to the buoyancy of its popularity. Can a city reliant on being percieved as a pleasant place to live survive the strains of cuts, high unemployment and possible social unrest? And is its slip down the rankings a sign of decline or a blip caused by circumstances? What needs to be done to keep Barcelona relevant as an international centre for business?
Let us know what you think...
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Tuesday, 18 October 2011 15:23
Some good points in this article...
Barcelona is certainly quite unique combination of climate, culture and business, that's hard to beat: kind of European California dream, so to speak.
And has expressed interest, to attract talent through "Do it in Barcelona" initiative. Well, talent brings good ideas, those bring added value and rise of economy and new jobs. And last but not least, talent attracts capital...
So, what is holding me back?
1.When creating a start-up, also talented people must survive somehow, till they can get funded. In time o prosperity, this is not such a problem, but now even local people in BCN have problems to find a job. So not enough emphasizes is made on "Landing"...There are numbers of possibilities with Europeans funds...A lot could be done upfront on internet, but only recently the attending of "welcome session" was made possible that way. There's intense fear, one could get stranded in foreign city without real possibility for income..
2.Quite a lot of people have advised me not to move to BCN due to excessive street crime...Almost anybody, who's been there, was, or (at least knows someone), who was robbed there. For a tourist it's bad enough, but if laptop or smart phone get stolen from someone like me, it's a professional disaster. Excuses, laws are to soft are quite lame. Mossos and Guardia Urbana were hard on peaceful demonstrators (with legitimate democratic claims), but soft on criminals. Shouldn't be the other way around? Looks like mixed priorities to me. If criminals would be confronted with same decisiveness as towards demonstrators, criminals would quickly back off. I expressed my opinion on that already here: http://www.robbedinbarcelona.com/2011/05/10/guest-post-why-should-the-honest-adapt-to-survive/
Besides, if people don't carry money or credit cards, how should they spend their money?
And downplaying the problem will make it only worse. Someone should tell that to politicians. It's hard to see that from BCN, but they should decide: Talented people or criminals...it will be difficult to have both.
3. BCN is getting competition. And not only cities are looking for talent. It seems, everybody has run out of ideas and is desperately looking for new ones. UK is doing that through British Council and Germany through Goethe Institut. I've been recently approached by both. You could argue, at least in terms of climate they're not comparable, but there are fewer uncertainties. BCN should seriously do something, to clarify them...And if they are looking for talented people, perhaps it wouldn't be such a bad idea, to ask them, what they actually thing...
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