The Basque Integrated Home Renovation Services, Opengela, has opened a new expansion chapter via the BIRTUOSS project funded under the LIFE programme of the European Commission. Following up on the success story of the Opengela model of urban regeneration, the new project will reinforce the urban regeneration process through the integration of social, economic and environmental aspects.
In 2019, and for almost four years, the OPENGELA management model developed a network of one-stop-shop offices (named Opengelas) that accompany the citizens in the refurbishment of their buildings, providing expert advice on technical and financial matters, with unique proximity and trust during the entire renovation process. The starting point was the two pilot neighbourhoods of Otxarkoaga (in Bilbao city) and Txonta (in Eibar municipality) and the model is currently being extended to around twenty neighbourhoods in the Basque Country.
The success of the first Opengela project and its replication to other municipalities has been key for the European Commission to renew its confidence in the Basque model of urban regeneration. In this project (…) we will provide a more systemic approach, implementing innovative formulas so that, in addition to the intervention in the buildings, other actions are incorporated with the aim of improving the quality of life in the neighbourhoods.Ignacio de la Puerta, director of Territorial Planning and Urban Agenda of the Basque Government and coordinator of the BIRTUOSS project.
The aim is to achieve improvements in the social, economic, and environmental aspects of city life. For this, OPENGELA resumes with 14 experienced public, private, and not-for-profit partners. As a 1st test bench, the project will use Torreurizar, located in the Irala neighbourhood of Bilbao where the local office will try different formulas in the social, economic, and environmental fields. The refurbishment of the 25 house numbers and 264 homes has begun and the office is already up and running.