- They will have neighborhood offices, following the European Opengela model project.
- The Territorial Planning Department will provide 93 million euros to expand the urban regeneration program for neighborhoods. After adding these new projects will reach a total of 21 municipalities.
- The Labor and Employment Department will allocate eight million euros to promote training and employment in these same neighborhoods.
The Basque Government will act in 14 vulnerable neighborhoods in the Basque Country to address their integral regeneration from an urban, environmental, social and economic perspective. The Basque Government’s Heads of Labor and Employment, the Vice President of the Basque Government, Idoia Mendia, and Territorial Planning, Iñaki Arriola, met today with the city councils where these neighborhoods are located in order to address the plans with which they will simultaneously promote the energy transition, the improvement of the habitability of buildings and housing, as well as the promotion of the labor insertion of its inhabitants. The aim of the interventions is that the advances in the fight against climate change and the new social challenges reach all people in the Basque Country, regardless of where they live and the resources they have.
The new neighborhoods will have neighborhood offices, following the European Opengela model project, where people will be able to go for help and consult on housing reform actions in terms of accessibility, habitability or energy efficiency. In some of the neighborhoods, the project incorporates the rehabilitation of public buildings to generate facilities for the neighborhood. In Alava work will be done in the Zaramaga neighborhood in Vitoria, in Bizkaia in three neighborhoods in Bilbao (Párroco Unzeta, Torre Urizar and Uretamendi), in Bermeo (Iparragirre and Txibitxiaga) and in Sestao (Vista Alegre); and in Gipuzkoa in Arrasate (Santa Teresa neighborhood), San Sebastian (Altza), Eibar (Hijos de Gabilondo), Elgoibar (Sigma housing), Errenteria (Beraun), Leaburu (Txarama), Soraluze (Ezozia) and Irun.
These actions are part of the Inter-institutional Strategic Investment Plan (PIIE) approved by the Regional Executive and the three Provincial Councils for the 2022-2024 time period. In this context, the integral urban regeneration of vulnerable neighborhoods is considered a priority, a plan on which the Basque Government has been working for more than six years and which, by adding these 14 neighborhoods in twelve localities, reaches a total of 21 municipalities. To address the actions in these localities, 101 million Euros will be allocated, eight by Labor and Employment and 93 by Territorial Planning.
Idoia Mendia, the Vice President of the Basque Government, highlighted the value of this «new program, different from others that we are promoting, but which has a common characteristic with all the others, the alignment between the different fields of government, in this case two departments of the Basque Government and the city councils«. She assured that it provides «new answers to new situations, in this case to the challenge of energy transition and urban transformation, which is also a social transformation«, in addition to offering opportunities for people with employment difficulties, for companies looking for suitable profiles, and for municipalities that want a friendly and sustainable environment for their neighbors.
The Labor and Employment Department, with an initial budget of eight million euros, will be responsible for the training, recruitment, guidance and accompaniment of 167 people available for employment and adapted to the new requirements of the construction sector. This experience will be open to job seekers in each municipality, but with priority to people receiving income guarantee rent or minimum vital income who reside within a radius of 50 kilometers of the municipalities participating in the project, and who are long-term unemployed.
In particular, they will receive specific training for two months, during which they will continue to receive their guaranteed income entitlement as appropriate, and will then have a 10-month training contract in alternation, under the terms of the latest labor legislation. The alternating training contract will devote 35% of its duration to training and 65% to employment. The minimum remuneration to be received will be 75% of the total gross salary. In addition, during the whole process, they will have guidance, accompaniment, counseling and professional information for the search of employment.
The Territorial Planning Councilor, Iñaki Arriola, has indicated that «according to the characteristics of the projects presented, around 1.700 families will be able to receive subsidies of between 70% and 100% in the most vulnerable cases, with the objective that all of them will have an opportunity to face the decarbonization of their homes and improve their life quality, with more habitable homes and urban environments adapted to the new social and environmental challenges. These measures also combat inequality and promote greater social cohesion in our towns and cities«.
Neighborhood by neighborhood
Arrasate will promote the regeneration of the Santa Teresa neighborhood by improving building envelopes, heating systems and accessibility, including elevators in both buildings and public spaces. In addition, photovoltaic panels will be installed, advancing in the constitution of shared self-consumption communities, and equipment will be implemented in the urban environment to promote electromobility. Territorial Planning will contribute 7.37 million euros to the project and it is estimated that 96 homes will benefit from the project.
Bermeo will act on Iparragirre and Txibitxiaga group, where work will be done on buildings and homes to ease accessibility problems and promote energy rehabilitation. These works are expected to reach 90 dwellings. In addition, urban renewal will be addressed in the area of Kurtzio, Zarragoitxi, Itxasbegi and Iparragirre, an area declared as a degraded zone, where streets will be redeveloped, accessibility improvements will be made and a sustainable drainage system will be built, among other issues. Territorial Planning will provide 5.84 million euros to promote the project.
Bilbao will act in Párroco Unzeta in Santutxu, in the Torre Urizar group, a complex with a marked cultural and historical character in the neighborhood of Irala, and in Uretamendi with the implementation of a proximity office. In total, Territorial Planning will invest 16.53 million euros in these three neighborhoods of the capital of Biscay. The forecast points to rehabilitations in 399 homes.
Eibar will convert the Hijos de Gabilondo factory-house into an equipment building. New green spaces, pedestrian areas and improved lighting will be created in the surrounding area. This is a commitment to enhance the value of the industrial heritage while at the same time promoting urban regeneration, with an investment of 4.98 million euros by Territorial Planning.
Elgoibar will address improvements in the Sigma housing district, promoted in the 1960s by the company of the same name, for its workers. It will incorporate renewable energies, accessibility actions -with an elevator outside a house and another inside- and the construction of balconies, as well as boosting the environment by renewing the lighting and rehabilitating parks or creating traffic calming areas. The Territorial Planning budget is 3.27 million euros and improvements are planned for 72 homes.
Errenteria will promote urban regeneration and the improvement of energy efficiency of housing in Beraun, where the proximity office will be installed to accompany the communities in the rehabilitation processes. It will also address the improvement of accessibility and the creation of energy communities for self-consumption. In public spaces, progress will be made in terms of accessibility, sustainable mobility and safe areas for pedestrians. This pilot experience will have an investment of 3.25 million euros from Territorial Planning and is expected to reach 102 homes.
Irún, as part of the Vía Irun urban and railway regeneration project, is going to remodel the old Customs building into the core of its innovative urban district. It is a group of old warehouses and a head building that will be a public facility and for which accessibility and energy rehabilitation -wind energy, renewable energies- need to be promoted. This project will receive 4.98 million euros from the Territorial Planning area.
Leaburu will activate the eco-sustainable rehabilitation of buildings and homes that may be deteriorated in the Txarama neighborhood, in order to improve the habitability of these communities. It will also carry out an urban intervention to calm traffic and a second one to restore the road network and recover the riversides and fluvial margins. With 1.5 million euros from Territorial Planning, the actions in the residential buildings are expected to benefit 78 families.
San Sebastián will address the first phase of the urban transformation of the Altza neighborhood. It will improve the energy efficiency of the buildings by acting on the facades and incorporating photovoltaic panels -with a pilot project for an energy community-. These will be complemented by redevelopment, accessibility and green infrastructure interventions in which the squares will be renaturalized. A sustainable drainage system will also be incorporated and contaminated soils will be reclaimed. Territorial Planning will allocate 9.46 million euros to this project, which is expected to reach 124 homes.
Sestao will act on the Vista Alegre neighborhood by improving the energy efficiency of its buildings -envelopes with more advanced insulation, renewable energy production- and its accessibility. It will also promote the urbanization of its surroundings, with improvements in lighting and parks, incorporating new pedestrian areas, creating sustainable drainage systems and energy facilities on a neighborhood scale. There are 4.39 million euros from the Territorial Planning area to reach 110 homes.
Soraluze-Placencia de las Armas will work in the Ezozia neighborhood with the integral rehabilitation of buildings, actions for the placement of elevators, the recovery of a space of former industrial use covered to be used by the citizens next to the river (Sapa). The public space will also be improved by improving lighting and pedestrianizing streets. The Territorial Planning investment amounts to 5.84 million euros and it is planned to support improvements in 132 homes.
Vitoria-Gasteiz will regenerate the Zaramaga neighborhood through energy efficient renovations of the building stock (façade envelopes, efficient heating systems, etc.), improved accessibility (elevators), increased green infrastructure and the first phase of the installation of a waste heat network. Bicycle pathways and pedestrian areas will be improved and electric vehicle charging points will be installed. It is also proposed to create an accommodation and day care center for the elderly and the opening of a care center and a coworking facility. In addition, actions will be carried out to promote the installation of photovoltaic panels on municipal roofs and pergolas in public spaces for partial transfer to housing. The project will receive 25.59 million euros from Territorial Planning, and requires the participation of the neighbors to be able to intervene in around 500 homes.
Third phase for the extension of the integral urban regeneration plan for vulnerable neighborhoods in Euskadi
These 14 neighborhoods join those already working to make integral urban regeneration of vulnerable neighborhoods a reality in the Basque Country. The project began six years ago with the creation of pilot programs in Txonta (Eibar) and Otxarkoaga (Bilbao), where neighborhood offices, known as opengelas, were installed thanks to European funds.
After the good reception of these first initiatives, other neighborhoods have joined: Aramotz in Durango, Basaundi-Bailara in Lasarte-Oria, and Andonaegi in Pasaia. In recent months, other neighborhoods have joined the plan, such as Peñucas (Abanto-Zierbena), La Florida (Portugalete), San Andrés (Valle de Trápaga), Aurora Vildosola (Santurtzi), Landata and Dolores Madaria (Orduña) and Goikolarra (Amurrio).