top of page


Mapping the wood stocks in El Poblenou’s buildings


About the pilot area



Nestled within the vibrant city of Barcelona, the El Poblenou Neighborhood is a thriving cultural haven. The share of green space in the neighborhood is 11.6%, amidst a population density of 20,466 people per square kilometer. Due to its coastal proximity, some of the significant environmental challenges it faces include marine littering, loss of greenspace, and the increasing generation of construction and demolition waste due to the surging real estate development driven by gentrification.


El Poblenou is an important player in the city's circular ecosystem, functioning both as an innovation hub and a center of learning. At the heart of the neighborhood, you will find the La Escocesa building, a former production site for chemicals used in the textile industry.


Today, La Escocesa has transformed into a dynamic creative space and a meeting point for artists. 

Fab Lab Barcelona and IAAC have set out to map local makers and wood resources in Barcelona’s former industrial hub El Poblenou to spot opportunities for a circular urban transformation. The goal of urban ecosystem mapping in El Poblenou is to showcase the wood resources hidden in the neighborhood’s urban mine and draft out policy proposals that support the recovery and reuse of demolition waste wood by local wood industries.


Barcelona's urban challenges

  • Housing: in Barcelona, rent is over 43.5% of household income

  • Waste: Barcelona’s citizens generate between 400 and 500 kg of waste per year

  • Water Stress: Barcelona is in a drought emergency, expecting severe water shortages

Which insights have been gathered by our local context detectives?

Read through our gallery of local anecdotes, research findings and in-depth analysis 

Urban Mining Analysis



What was this analysis about?

This analysis mapped the potential wood stock which is hidden in the building structures of El Poblenou’s current building stock. It highlights the underutilized potential of urban wood resources of buildings that might be demolished or renovated in the future.

How did it support building a circular community?

  • Key element of public policy engagements

  • Key element to engage local stakeholders in discussions on the opportunities and challenges for local wood reuse

Which data sources were used?

  • Building registry of Barcelona

  • Metabolic’s urban mining model

Parallel to Barcelona’s efforts to understand city and neighbourhood-wide urban challenges, the team has embarked on a journey to get to know the local manufacturing ecosystem - especially with a focus on the wood sector

Urban manufacturers and craftspeople

Educational institutions (Fab Labs)


Who was mapped



  • To build a strong network of makers in Poblenou

  • To be able to visualise to other who is working in the area
  • To map and communicate possible connections between local stakeholders

How was it useful for the Barcelona pilot team?

  • The pilot team uses their KUMU map in meetings with stakeholders to better communicate their work

  • They also shared an interactive version of the maps in local exhibitions 
  • The process of interviewing stakeholders helped build new connections 

The mapping of makers in El Poblenou was done by a dedicated team member who used an interview guide in informal conversations with makers

What local resources were mapped?


Waste streams

Tools & equipment

Used industrial processes

What else was asked?

  • Barriers to the circular economy

  • Production capacity 

How was data collected?

  • Interviews, using a survey

Lessons learned

  • It is useful for our narrative to combine top-down mapping with a detailed understanding of resources and opportunities from the bottom-up

  • Customizable platforms like KUMU allow for in-depth exloration of the local context, stakeholders and circular materials

  • The methods use are helpful in weaving connections between stakeholders, materials and processes while fostering collaboration and promoting circularity in urban ecosystems

Which circular opportunities did we find for Barcelona's productive community? 

Opportunities for a circular wood economy

  • Saw dust for 3D experimentation in Fab Labs

  • Wood chips for urban gardens

  • Wood waste for material development

  • Storage and recovery of demolition wood

Fab Lab Barcelona has organized roundtable discussions at the POBLENOU FÁBRICA exhibition in which the opportunities for local wood reuse were explored together with Guild associations of furniture makers, wood workers, urban planners and researchers. Public panels with experts and stakeholders are a great way to exchange ideas, build new partnerships but also identify the practical challenges of a local circular wood economy.

barcelona-Step 5 - Poblenou.webp

Showcasing possible wood waste reuse synergies at the POBLENOU FÁBRICA exhibition

Hungry for more? The CENTRINNO Living Archive collects local stories & histories on Poublenou's makers & their experience. Here, you'll find stories on women in woodbiomaterial innovators, jewelry makers or wood carvers.


Building types (1)
Neighbourhood types - Barcelona
Industrial zones in Poblenou
Wood waste estimates
Wood stock in Poblenou's buildings
Land Use Change
bottom of page