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Sustainable urban development in Zaragoza Spain (Eco Ciudad Valdespartera)

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Published on Apr 1, 2009

The urban area of Zaragoza, the eight in Spain in terms of population (almost 700,000 inhabitants) has in recent years demonstrated its will to make the most of its strategic position in the peninsular - on the one hand the Madrid-Barcelona axis and on the other, the Valencia-Bilbao axis, through strong investment in infrastructures, renewing its productive structure through sustainable urban development in the shape of a series of projects which have are giving excellent results.
Investment in infrastructure has taken the form of various projects, both highways and a network of peripheral roads, motorways and fast lanes, the extension of routes to the airport in the last few years and particularly the start-up of the high speed train covering the Madrid-zaragoza-Barcelona route. In relation to this latter project, Zaragoza is part of the high speed cities network, among whose objectives are: defining joint promotion and development strategies and exchanging experiences and information.
Also, without ignoring the intense concern for, and the activities carried out in relation to, conservation and intervention in the historic city, of particular note in terms of sustainable development in Zaragoza in the last few years is the so-called Ecociudad Valdespartera (eco-city). In 2004 the Council of Ministers authorised the transfer of government land (Ministry of Defence), which allowed the construction of around 100,000 homes, of which 97% were social housing, and out of these a total of 3,547 were on land provided by the government.
Ecociudad Valdespartera, which was designed on the basis of sustainable development: social and typological integration, endowment planning and research, bio-climatic arhcitecture and the encouragement of renewable energies, collection and processing of waste, as well as the promotion of protected housing, has been internationally recognised and is evidence of the results that can be achieved when there is cooperation and agreement between the different levels of the government.
In other areas, of note as a result of its impact on the future development of Zaragoza is the holding in this city of the 2008 international exhibition known as EXPOAGUA whose axis is the debate on the relationship between water and human communities: Water and Sustainable development. This event will mean significant investment in infrastrcuture and development areas for the city, as well as integrated renewal of the Ebro river axis.
Amount other activities and projects in Zaragoza we should make special mention of: the promotion of tourism committed to certified quality, the logistic platform of Zaragoza PLAZA and the so called DIGITAL MILE, an area of urban developmen around the intermodal high speed train station, which is aimed at encouraging innovation and is aimed at the knowledge society through technological planning.
The university of Zaragoza plays an important role as an institution which serves society, which takes shape both in its cooperation with government in the definition of numerous projects, among which of particular note is the extensive technical support in the Valdespartera project, and in the definition of an educational structure and flexible and open knowledge based on domestic and international exchanges.

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