Barcelona is an important case study. It is a major European city which has undergone massive economic transformation during the past three decades after the advent of democracy in Spain. It makes a substantial contribution to the regional Catalan, Spanish national and European economy. It operates in a decentralised policy making system with powerful regional government being more important than either national or local government. It also operates in a complex multi–level territorial governance system. Barcelona is a good test of the challenges of developing policy for successful cities and a good model for non-capital cities across Europe.
This study is based upon original data collected in our field work with extended interviews with key figures in the public and private sectors in Barcelona and Cataluña. But it also draws heavily and freely upon existing research and consultancy studies which analyse the development of Barcelona, its history, economy, governance arrangements, social structure and territorial significance.