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Next week the Euskal Hiria congress will mark the keys to where the future of Basque cities is heading

  • This forum organized by the Basque Government and UN-Habitat, which is now in its 20th edition, brings together experts at the European, Spanish, regional and local levels. It will be on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30 in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
  • Specific examples such as Paris and "the city of 15 minutes", experiences of urban planning in places like Somalia or Yemen, will be known, and the keys to the future of Metropolitan Bilbao, the Basque coast and Álava will also be revealed.
  • Among the 200 attendees and international speakers are Katja Schäfer (UN-Habitat advisor), Councilor Iñaki Arriola, Carmen Sánchez-Miranda (head of the UN-Habitat office in Spain), Shipra Narang Suri (head of the Practices Branch Urbanas de ONU-Habitat), Carlos Moreno (IAE Paris-Sorbonne), Valentina Corsetti (European Commission), David Lucas (secretary of Urban Agenda and Housing in the Government of Spain), Dolores Huerta (Green Building Council), Cristina del Pozo (Rey Juan Carlos University) or José Moisés Martín (Red2Red).

The future of the Basque Country is outlined in forums such as Euskal Hiria. This congress turns 20 years old and this time its focused on how to “achieve a green socio-economic recovery”. With a program entitled ‘Intervention in the city as an instrument to achieve a healthier territory’, it is organized by the Department of Territorial Planning, Housing and Transport of the Basque Government in collaboration with UN-Habitat. It will be held for two days, on Monday 29 and Tuesday 30, at the Europa Palace in Vitoria-Gasteiz. The congress can be followed in person and online.

The 200 experts who will attend the congress will put on the table numerous examples of good practices. Some come from the closest environment: Euskadi is considered an example of planning and of applying advanced methods oriented towards sustainability in its urban planning. Other experiences will come from different communities, and also from other European countries. After the opening, on Monday, by the counselor Iñaki Arriola and the head of the UN-Habitat Spain office, Carmen Sánchez-Miranda, there will be a presentation by Sara de la Rica (Professor of Economics at the UPV / EHU) and another from Katja Schäfer, interregional advisor for UN-Habitat, who will be able to tell about her experience as an urban planner in places as complex as Somalia or Yemen, as well as the Arab Region and failed states.

Euskal Hiria will have a European, state and autonomous vision, accompanied by an accent on the social and environmental aspects related to intervention in the city. The congress will revolve around four thematic axes: 'urban regeneration and recovery plans',' city and territory, key challenges', 'urban transformation in a social key: health, equality, culture, employment' and 'in a green key: mitigation and adaptation to climate change '.

Concrete experiences

Attendees will be able to learn more about how the recovery funds will be applied, with the presence of Valentina Corsetti, program manager of the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy, of the European Commission for Spain and Portugal, as well as David Lucas, Secretary General of Urban Agenda and Housing of the Government of Spain, and the Deputy Minister of Territorial Planning and Urban Agenda, Miguel de los Toyos, among others.

The congress will also serve to learn first-hand specific cases such as that of Paris and ‘the city of 15 minutes’, by Carlos Moreno, scientific director in the Chair of Entrepreneurship, Territory and Innovation at IAE Paris-Sorbonne. He will participate in a round table together with experts such as the consultant Juan Requejo, the architect José María Ezquiaga, Idoia Garay (Diputación de Bizkaia), Idoia Postigo (Bilbao Metropoli 30) and Paul Lecroat (Planning Agency of the Metropolitan Region of Paris). Tuesday's session will open with Joan Clos, former director of UN-Habitat and former mayor of Barcelona. It will lead to a session in which they will talk about how to transform the city into a social key.

Urban regeneration will play a leading role with experiences in Europe, in the Basque Country, Extremadura or Madrid. In the environmental aspect, initiatives such as the green footprint in buildings will be known, as well as plans at the local and regional level. Among others, the Sectorial Territorial Plan (PTS) for the protection of the Basque Country coastline, or the Partial Territorial Plan (PTP) of Metropolitan Bilbao will also be announced, which will mark the future for the next 20 years of that area that covers 35 municipalities and almost half of the Basque population. The future of the plans for Álava Central and Rioja Alavesa will also be addressed. The congress will be closed by the head of the UN-Habitat Urban Practices Branch, Shipra Narang Suri.

Basque Urban Agenda

Euskal Hiria is celebrated one year after approval of the Urban Agenda, called Bultzatu 2050, the document prepared by the Basque Government that sets the guidelines for where the future of Basque cities and towns is heading, where 8 strategic priorities are outlined that are articulated in 31 intervention axes and 105 lines of action. With him, the Basque Country has established itself at the forefront of territorial planning and sustainable policies. Basque planning is aligned with both European guidelines and those set by UN-Habitat, hence its collaboration with the Basque Government in organizing this congress.

The Programme is being prepared