The Basque Country receives 1.7 million from the EU for two pilot projects of urban regeneration in the neighbourhoods of Txonta (Eibar) and Otxarkoaga (Bilbao)

  • The main objective is to set up an office in each neighbourhood which will act as a one-stop-shop and provide advice and support to the community throughout the whole process of renovation of the apartment buildings: from the paperwork to dealing with energy services contractors or the provision of financial aid.
  • The project is called Opengela and has the support of the Horizon 2020 programme for three years. Hopefully this model can be replicated, first in some fifteen Basque municipalities, and later in other places in Europe.
  • The plan is headed by the Department of Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing of the Basque Government, but there are also eight partners participating, among them the Energy Agency of the Basque Government and the Basque Urban Regeneration Societies, Viviendas Municipales de Bilbao and Debegesa.

The European Commission has taken note of the urban regeneration plans of the Basque Country and has decided to contribute 1.7 million Euros to the Opengela project. This concerns a novel concept of neighbourhood offices in two places which have been selected for a pilot test: Otxarkoaga (Bilbao) and Txonta (Eibar).

These offices, which will work as one-stop-shops, will help the community of neighbours with every type of procedure related to the process of renovation of their apartment buildings: from administrative paperwork to dealing with energy services contractors or the channelling of financial aid.

The pilot project has received support from the Horizon 2020 programme for the next three years. During which time, the offices will deal with the neighbourhood community while at the same time looking for ways to replicate this very same model in some fifteen Basque municipalities, and in the future, in other places in the European Union.

The offices, which all share the name Opengela, will guide and advise the homeowners about the grants and subsidies that are available to them in order to carry out the work and improve their quality of life. 

The final goal is to encourage integrated renovation of the apartment buildings in the neighbourhoods of the Basque Country which are the oldest or which have the greatest needs. The objectives also include better energy efficiency, with universal accessibility and the incorporation of basic systems of protection and safety against fires. All of this with a social component, that is to say, “putting the spotlight on the people and the communities, making them a real part of the process”, explains Ignacio de la Puerta, director of Territorial Planning, Urbanism and Urban Regeneration of the Department of Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing of the Basque Government, which heads the project.

Almost 500 homes in Otxarkoaga and Txonta

In Otxarkoaga, in Bilbao, this will take place in five apartment buildings encompassing 16 house numbers with a total of 240 homes. The office which will house the one-stop-shop will be set up in the former nursery of the BBK. From there other courses of action will also be undertaken, such as the refurbishment of the old shopping centre and the launch of business initiatives and ventures in premises which are currently empty.

In the neighbourhood of Txonta, in Eibar, the renovation work will follow current standards of energy efficiency and accessibility. The pilot project means the intervention in 221 homes encompassing 17 house numbers. It is about giving priority, above all, to the participation of the people actually living in the neighbourhood.

To carry out the pilot experiences the Department of Environment, Territorial Planning and Housing of the Basque Government, is joined by eight other partners: the local urban regeneration societies of the two municipalities (Viviendas Municipales de Bilbao and Debegesa from Guipúzcoa), the Energy Agency of the Basque Government (EVE), consultants who are specialists in finance (GNE Finance), in European affairs (Zabala) and in communication (Gabineteseis), and two European organizations with headquarters in Brussels: the European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment (Fedarene) and the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing (Housing Europe).

For more information:

Eduardo Ortiz de Arri

prensa@opengela.eus

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Bandera de la Unión Europa

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 846707.

Otxar Opengela

Address: Avenida Pau Casals, No. 16, Otxarkoaga, Bilbao (In front of Plaza Kepa Enbeita)

Telephone: 944 13 24 00

E-mail: otxaropengela@vvmm.bilbao.eus

Txonta Opengela

Address: Calle Txonta No. 3, ground floor, Eibar

Telephone: 688 77 97 37

E-mail: txontabulegoa@eibar.eus

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