We have the pleasure to invite you for the SPS SEMINAR of Andrés Fernández-Ges , Associate Professor at the University of Zaragoza on April 21st at BOUWKUNDE (TU Delft, Julianalaan 134, Delft) at 12h30 in ROOM 00WEST290

Strategic Urban Projects and the current urban paradigms.  A study case of the Zaragoza urban transformation: Expo 2008 and Digital Mile.



Aerial view of the area of the Expo in Zaragoza. Source: www.agenciarespira.com

A new type of urban projects started in the decade of the 80s and were developed during  the 90s until the beginning of 21st century. These projects had similar characteristics: big scale, public initiative but developed by public-private partnerships, related to strategic areas but hoping to have synergic effects to the rest of the city, focused in urban design but with some elements of strategic plans and an ambiguous relationship with planning. Portas (2003) called them “urban projects of the third generation” or “plan-projects” and Monclús (2003) named them as “strategic urban projects“.

The urban transformation of Barcelona could be considered the precedent of the strategic urban projects, whose success became the paradigm of urban renovation across Europe, in cases such as Euralille, Kop van Zuid in Rotterdam, La Confluence in Lyon, or more recently, Hafen City in Hamburg or Zurich West. In Spain, we can find strategic urban projects in developments such as Ría 2000 in Bibao, or Expo 2008 and Digital Mile in Zaragoza.

During the economic crisis different paradigms have been established in urban planning such as sustainability, social cohesion and public participation, from an integral approach. Strategic urban projects have been criticized by different reasons, such as being too costly, for being an instrument for speculation, for boosting social inequality, for their low territorial impact or for avoiding investments needed in other areas of the city. Nevertheless, a detailed analysis of these projects prevent a general negative evaluation. In fact, according to their strategic and planning condition it could have a better adaptation to the changing cultures of planning.

The lecture focuses in the study case of the urban transformation of Zaragoza, Spain, as one of the last Strategic Urban Projects, analyzing the referents, the process, the main stakeholders, the urban impact of the built environment, the resilience to cope with crisis and the possibilities in a new and changing culture of planning.


Andres-GesCurriculum Vitae:

Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design in the School of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Zaragoza, Spain, since 2010.

PhD candidate in Urban Design and Planning at the Polytechnic University of Madrid. Diploma of Advanced Studies (Doctoral Studies), 2009-2011.

Architect in Zaragoza Alta Velocidad 2002, S.A., company in charge of the urban railway transformation of the city, since 2006.

Chief of Technical Section in the Urban Planning Department of the City of Zaragoza, 2002-2006.

Founding Partner of ZAZ Architects, 2000-2002, with several first prizes in architectural and urban competitions.

Blog (in Spanish): urbanismouz.blogspot.com.es

Current research areas:

Processes and impact of strategic urban projects and megaevents.

Innovative use of ICT technologies in urban planning.

New productive uses areas and the rise of mixed used urban developments: From CBD´s to Digital districts.

Urban regeneration of former railway landscapes.

Energetic efficiency and sustainability in urban regeneration and new urban developments: Ecodistricts.

Current international research projects:

SEHUD Research Project (Architecture and Sustainable Development based on Eco-humanistic Principles and Advanced Technologies without Losing Identity) in TEMPUS Program funded by EACEA of the European Comission, between five Ucranian Universities (Kiev, Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk) and seven European Universities ( Cambridge, Lyon, Guarda, Varna, Athens and Zaragoza) all of them coordinated by the Politecnico di Milano, 2013-2016.

“New challenges for Spanish Cities: the legacy of the Modern Housing Estates and options for their urban regeneration. Particularities and similarities with European models”, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, within the State R&D Research Programs “Excellence” and “Research Challenges”, 2015-2018.




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