Phase 3a · Article · PICH

1 Introduction

Appears in the city the necessity to give continuity to the internal areas more degraded and abandoned by the city. After a growth against the suburbs of the city, the historical centre and adjacent neighborhoods where in freefall, was it due to the inhabitants left to live in areas which satisfied better their necessities or because they were abandoned by the corresponding authorities.

In this study case it’s presented an urban intervention that tries to unite all the agents in the neighbourhood and the authorities to modify the working system and the exterior image of the area, by creating new equipments or regenerating the existent.

2 Context

The city is placed around the Ebro River, in the medium of the Ebro Valley, where two other affluent disembogue, which also come through the city. The river was one of the greater elements in the city evolution, they helped in the transport and the irrigation of the terrains around the old city.

The neighbourhoods around which this plan is generated are the historical centre and it was increased to include the Arrabal (zones A-G and I for the historical Centre and zone H for the Arrabal)

The population during the period of 1996 to 2004 grew more than a 17% in all the city, due to the arrival of immigrants which augmented a 25% in the 17-45 y/o range.

The population during the last years has been decreasing, increasing the medium age against the rest of the city, producing a reduction in the masculine tax inside the neighbourhood, while it increases in the rest of the city, generating an older neighbourhood and less active than in other areas of the city

On the other hand, the immigration tax in Zaragoza is 15% of the total, increasing a 150% in the last ten years, being Delicias (23%) and the historical centre (25%) the ones with the biggest foreign tax. We can see that the state of the neighbourhood is relatively similar to Carolinas Bajas, due to the fact that it counts with similar taxes of elderly and foreign people.

Even with this aging of the population and the abandonment to other residential areas of the city, the high tax of immigration has maintained the medium age of the neighbourhood, allowing this area to keep being inside regular parameters, reducing the danger of complete abandonment of the historical centre, becoming this centre a place with a really wide range of populations (1 of each 4 citizens are foreign)

On the morphologic aspect of the neighbourhood, historically it was a roman city, with the squared structure, and the two main roads, which is why in the central area of the historical centre they still keep rests of the roman avenues, which, later, changed with the medieval growth, generating a dense fabric with reduced public space. On the image above we can see in yellow the abandoned plots of the city, which nowadays is one of the biggest problems in the intervention area, while the green areas are almost non-existent and reduced to the historical city centre morphology.

From the socio-economical point of view, the historical centre counts with a huge amount of administrative equipments (from the city hall, the regional commandment and the Aragon’s community) which is why the neighbourhood has lost the residential area, but without achieving a fully institutional image becoming an economical trade centre, making it really independent of the residential areas of the city.

Major entities (agents)

On this actuation intervene a total of 36 entities, including neighbours associations, foundations with and without economical income, sportive groups…

Each one of this associations counts with a series of elements that bring to the revitalization of the neighbourhood, by means of public activities, by means of economical incomes to the plan (receiving publicity or favours in the contracts) and or by means of providing spaces and services.

This way, they can be grouped in this way:

Cultural and educative associations:                

Barrio Verde
San Vicente de Paul

Environmental associations:                

Neighbours associations:
Lanuza Casco-Viejo

Association by social groups                

El gancho club de futbol
ASZA (agrupación de personas sordas de Aragon y Zaragoza)
Cooperacion por la paz
Amasol (asociación de madres solas)
Salam (de mujeres árabes)
Consejo de juventud


La caridad
Federico Ozanam
Ramón Rey Ardid
Secretario Gitano

General services Associations:                

Reas Aragón
Asociación de comerciantes profesonales Conde Aranda-Portillo
Hijas de la caridad
Coop57 Aragon
Asociacion financiación solidaria

Companies and local business:       

Base digital
La veloz ecomensajería

3 Cronology of the strategies

    1. Artistical intervention in empty spaces, promoting the urban art festival “En la Frontera” (2006)
    2. Program “estonoesunsolar” as a prolongation of the festival, taken in advance of the citizenship interest after the festival. The public institutions take care of the abandoned spaces by means of temporary acts.

  1. Employment program with a 1000000€ budget, including:
      1. Refurbishment of five empty spaces
      2. 40 new city employees
    • Strategy
      • Identification of the empty space
      • Propietary contact
      • Renting for one year of the empty public space during 1 year
      • Implementing on more lots
  2. Cultural guide for events (2008)
    • Financiation
      • Consorcio EXPO
    • Management
      • Patronato de Turismo y cultura
    • Collaboration
      • Estate
  3. Archaeological campaign in the City centre’s lots (2007-2012, 30000€/year)
    • Financiation
      • DGA, City hall
    • Management
      • City hall
    • Collaboration
      • Cultural area
  4. Musical encounters (2007-2012, 35000€/year)
    • Financiation
      • DGA, City hall
    • Management
      • Citizen participation
    • Collaboration
      • Cultural area
  5. Medieval market (2007-2012, 48000€/year)
    • Financiation
      • City hall
    • Management
      • Patronato Zaragoza Cultura
    • Collaboration
      • Citizen Participation
  6. Open Air cinema (6000€/year)
    • Financiation
      • City hall
    • Management
      • Citizen participation
  7. Cinema Cycles (2007-2008, 9000€/year)
    • Financiation
      • City hall
    • Management
      • Citizen participation
  8. Sociocultural projects (2007-2012, 6000€/year)
    • Financiation
      • City hall
    • Management
      • Citizen participation
  9. Theatre events (2007-2008, 3000€/year)
    • Financiation
      • City hall
    • Management
      • Citizen participation
    • Collaboration
      • Cultural area

Due to the huge amount of social and dependency of the equipments in the area, in the pass of time that has lasted this (and the last) plan, a series of controversies have been produced with people who accessed this equipments: drug addicts, prostitutes, people with mental health problems… on one side and on the other side with elderly people, immigrant population, … but some of these problems have been resolved by the program little by little, which hasn’t been well seen by the local population, who thinks that they haven’t been attacked by a general and continuous point of view, the problems have been solved in the intervention points but not in the general areas, and they think that this should be intervened in general on the whole problem.

On the other side, the city council has helped also the consolidation of other neighborhoods, more attractive to the citizens, which is why a big amount of the inhabitants have moved to these areas. This is in the prejudice of the people of the historical center, which think that, even with the plan, they feel abandoned by the city council.

Finally, from the citizen’s point of view, the program is unknown by the majority, they don’t even know of the existence of this plan, which can be seen as a publicity problem which help the program be seen as part of the city and themselves, and an obligation by the city council and not just as an opportunity for the political party.

4 Conclusions

The objective was to create employment and a good environment for life, while complexing the neighborhood through events and equipments, to draw the interest of the citizenship. With this, the public spaces have been shown as a possibility and not as a flaw in the city.

                Environmental plan:

For the environmental plan, they generated a series of interventions to reuse the empty and/or semipublic spaces to green spaces while maintaining the historical’s center image, trying not to lose this touristic and identity sign

                Sociocultural plan:

Through the interventions in the city they would help increase employment in the city, using new equipments or helping the actual economical system, generating new economical areas or allowing other kind of economic exploitation.

On the other hand, this sociocultural plan included an intervention in the cultural and social action area, producing new programs for drug dependency, generating new elderly equipments and/or resting areas and playgrounds and green spaces for teens and children.

Historical centre re-valuation plan:

They generated an improvement in the city centre’s image, so that they would force the touristically historic image, to improve the area’s artistry, this way, the image for cultural tourism and even the own citizens would help them identify different areas of the historical centre.

The two neighborhoods, CAROLINAS BAJAS and the CITY CENTRE of Zaragoza have big similarities, enclosed space, big amount of immigrants, unemployment, lack of empty spaces, lack of events and complexity. The reasons for studying this project is the way small activities have been used to start giving an identity to the neighborhood while re-starting the comerce and rebuilding the trust in cooperation by the neighbors.


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