Abandoibarra, the Zorrotzaurre peninsula, Ametzola and Barakaldo are some of the areas which have experienced the greatest urban developments in Bilbao’s transformation process. The Leaders Programme agenda devoted the afternoon of the first day to visiting those areas, accompanied by an architect.
Each area is representative for its own reasons: the most impressive transformation, a reconversion into the city’s tourist centre, or even the solution to the communication or isolation problems of certain neighbourhoods. This variety of achievements gave the Leaders first-hand knowledge of various processes, states and solutions for the management of urban development.
The Zorrotzaurre peninsula is one of the main projects the city is currently undertaking, and once this is done, the area where the remains of long-gone factories stood, will become an island linked by bridges, featuring both housing blocks and business parks. The Indian Leaders were particularly interested in the percentage of public and private housing and in how developers work together with the City Council to carry out these initiatives.
The Indian Leaders were particularly interested in the percentage of public and private housing
The building projects in the neighbourhood of Ametzola and its new train station also attracted the delegation’s attention. The refurbishing of the tracks and the rail station, as well as the construction of the surrounding houses, gave rise to plenty of questions, as it is an excellent model to prevent railway tracks from isolating populated areas. The architect guiding the visit explained the project’s construction phases.
The city of Barakaldo represents another type of recovery as an area far from the centre of Bilbao. Visually, the planning is less impressive, but the benefits for the citizens have been just as important. In this case, former industrial areas have also been reclaimed for the construction of housing, parks and squares and the river has been recovered and integrated into the city’s urban landscape and daily life.
Lastly, the group visited Portugalete, where they saw Puente Bizkaia, the first transporter bridge in the world with a metal structure. Inaugurated at the end of the 19th Century, it has been replicated in as many as thirty places around the world and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
5th Indian Leaders Programme report.
Indian Leaders profiles.
More images in the Gallery.