- The director of Territorial Planning and Urban Agenda of the Basque Government and coordinator of Opengela, presented the urban regeneration project being developed in the Basque Country to the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI).
- The conference held at the Palacio de Villasuso in Vitoria-Gasteiz brought together institutional representatives who explained what is expected at European, national and local level in terms of regulations and support plans focused on energy efficiency.
- In addition, attendees had the opportunity to visit the refurbishment works of the pilot project being carried out in Otxarkoaga (Bilbao).
The renovation of the building stock and the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings is one of the objectives pursued by the European Union. To this end, it has set up different regulations and financial support systems such as the Next Generation funds. The conference ‘Basque property owners on board’, organised by the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI), brought together institutional representatives on 28 October in Vitoria and Bilbao (Basque Country) to put into context what is expected at EU, national and local level in terms of regulations and support schemes focused on energy efficiency.
One of the speakers was Ignacio de la Puerta, director of Territorial Planning and Urban Agenda of the Basque Government, who stressed the need to intervene in the housing stock «to improve the living conditions and health of citizens». De la Puerta also had the opportunity to present Opengela, the project to set up neighbourhood offices to promote urban regeneration that is currently being carried out in five neighbourhoods in the Basque Country – Otxarkoaga (Bilbao), Txonta (Eibar), Aramotz (Durango), Basaundi (Lasarte) and Pasaia. «With the Opengela project, we are working on the one-stop shop model for the integral attention of citizens in urban regeneration, with the aim of extending this model to the whole of the Basque Country», he explained.
The Opengela coordinator also pointed out the importance of the neighbourhood offices already operating in Otxarkoaga and Txonta to reach out to citizens: «It’s about providing a support service where the fundamental thing is to gain the trust of those who are going to be affected by the interventions, and to convey in simple terms the benefits of these works, which are not only related to energy efficiency, but also to improvements in living conditions».
Visit to Otxar Opengela
The attendees had the opportunity to learn first-hand about the work carried out in the neighbourhood offices set up by Opengela, with a visit to the Otxar Opengela in the Otxarkoaga district of Bilbao. Regarding these offices, Ignacio de la Puerta highlighted their capacity to act as a multifunctional space: «We also use this space as a space for knowledge, where, for example, courses can be given and new employment opportunities can be developed».
The day ended with a visit to the Otxarkoaga buildings where rehabilitation work has begun. Opengela serves the neighbourhood of 16 portals and 240 homes in the neighbourhood, where the old shopping centre has also been remodelled and entrepreneurship initiatives have been launched in premises that were previously closed.