Check out the 1st Newsletter of the OPENGELA project!
Illustration : Original Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
The local offices set up by the Opengela project in the neighbourhoods of Otxarkoaga (Bilbao) and Txonta (Eibar) have opened their doors for residents to come and share their questions, doubts, or requests regarding the renovation projects in their neighbourhoods.
The project, launched in May 2019 with funding from the European Commission Horizon2020 programme, looks to establish a system of district offices that can be replicated in many other municipalities in the Basque Autonomous Community. The context of our environment is favourable for the development of this kind of office since the European Union is promoting the development of ‘One-Stop-Shops’ as a mechanism of connecting large urban regeneration projects with neighbourhood action. This model is expected to be replicated as a result of the economic injection provided by initiatives such as Next-Generation EU -the post-pandemic aid- or the recently proposed ‘Renovation Wave’ to promote large-scale urban regeneration.
Opengela’s office staff is made up of professional experts (architects, sociologists) who provide advice on the different areas of action for renovation projects. It includes retrofit recommendations and works, technical solutions for accessibility in the rehabilitated buildings, financing conditions or plans for the regeneration of the neighbourhood.
The road has not been easy for the offices to be able to operate with guarantees, prior work is necessary to comply with administrative, financial, and technical requirements. Also, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a considerable obstacle affecting the operating conditions, and as a result, it is now necessary to make an appointment in advance to carry out face-to-face consultations.
Despite the hardships, the Opengelas have opened their doors and are ready to welcome the residents. You can visit the offices at 16 Avenida Pau Casals in Otxarkoaga or at 3 Calle Txonta in Txonta.
Ignacio de la Puerta
Director of Territorial Planning and Urban Agenda of the Basque Government