Of Norwegian and French origin, Christopher Bockmann is married to a Spaniard. The couple have two children and they have lived in Barcelona since 2020. Bockmann spent part of his childhood in Africa and has also lived in several other European countries. He now coaches management teams, helping them with strategy, transformation, and team dynamics.
Why did you choose Barcelona?
One of the things that attracted me the most was the diversity of the population, a feature that can’t be found in every city. And seeing the sea every day is a gift.
What are the city’s strengths?
I think we can all agree on the great quality of life here. Barcelona’s climate, gastronomy, culture, and architecture speak for themselves. The city also has excellent flight connections with Europe and the rest of the world.
I should also mention the people, who have a strong identity, and are informal, relaxed, curious, and entrepreneurial. They also welcome those from outside Barcelona who have chosen the city as their home and are keen to integrate. Barcelona is a city that aims to be progressive in many respects.
Lastly, I would like to highlight the urban planning policies that involve balancing private transport with public transport and bike lanes and opening up access to the sea.
What aspects of the city need to be improved? How?
I believe that the city administration should be more user-centred and less organized around its own needs. Citizens’ trust is undermined by the fact that the administration is so complex that one needs a gestor to deal with it.
In terms of development, train connections with the rest of Europe could be improved, which would also be more sustainable. I also think we need to rethink our dependency on tourism. But I know from my work how complicated it is to manage the change of mentality and behaviors, so perhaps we need a new “psychological/responsibility contract” with citizens about the future we want for our city.
What do you expect from Barcelona in the coming years?
I hope that Barcelona will always lead the way and continue to be open to the world, and I would like it to take more advantage of its own unique character and set an example of how people with such diverse interests can live together and collaborate. Collaboration is the only solution to our challenges.
Where do you feel most at home? What do you miss the most?
My ideal city is a combination of the features of the cities I know – Amsterdam’s human scale and progressive nature, Paris’s brilliant past and its successful, elegant and culturally diverse future, the cosmopolitanism of Brussels, Prague’s freedom from large-scale tourism, and Oslo’s connection with nature. What I love about Barcelona is that there are people here who represent each of these cities. Having traveled so much, I am confident that I have found the ideal place; I am here to stay!
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