Transforming the cities of tomorrow

In the fourth public forum of El Día Después on 29th April, Mayors and Mayoresses from 15 Spanish cities shared solutions for the post-COVID-19 scenario.

Madrid · Valencia · Gijón · Bilbao · Sevilla · Santa Cruz de Tenerife · Cáceres · Murcia · Barcelona · Lugo · Palma de Mallorca · Gavà · Arnedo · Riba-Roja

The proposals are focused on three actions: expanding public spaces for mobility, as well as recovering trust and safety on public transport; collective attention for the most vulnerable; recovering  productive, commercial and supply capacity, by activating the culture sector as the main axis.

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In order to respond to the challenges of mobility, social attention, economic alternatives and generating employment proposed by the event’s moderator, RTVE journalist Carlos Franganillo, the Mayors and Mayoresses explained their proposals and invited municipalities from different areas and the population to collaborate effectively to carry them out. 

The Mayor of Seville, Juan Espadas, echoed the common points of the interventions from the Mayors and Mayoresses to point out that “the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals must continue to be the roadmap to face the risks we are dealing with”. “Local governments have shown that we are able to achieve a large, collective, unitary, global and unique response to this crisis”, he indicated, referencing the initiatives shown by the councillors.

We spoke about climate change and paradigm change at COP25, but we were not aware of the planet and society’s fragility. Now we have the chance to make this change a reality, we have shown we can act together.

Juan Espadas

Mayor of Seville

During the event, 2,500 people connected and all interventions had different ideologies, but were based on the fact that few things will go back to how they were after this COVID-19 crisis. They agreed that there is a global agenda that can help to define the new roadmap, the Sustainable Development Goals, and an agreement of the European Commission to achieve a sustainable economy and environment, the Green Deal.

The interventions of the municipal representatives coincided in the capacity of their cities to lead leaving confinement and achieve collaboration between citizens, SMEs, companies and local governments to anticipate more sustainable, inclusive and care-based cities.

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The first block involved social actions from local governments, including interventions by Patricia Hernández, Mayoress of Santa Cruz de Tenerife; Luis Salaya, Mayor of Cáceres; and Juan María Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao. The second block focused on changes in urban mobility and included interventions by José Francisco Ballesta, Mayor of Murcia; Joan Ribó, Mayor of Valencia; José Hila Vargas, Mayor of Palma; and Laia Bonet, Third Deputy of the Barcelona Town Hall. Finally, solutions to the challenges of economy and employment were addressed by José Luis Martínez Almeida, Mayor of Madrid; Lara Méndez, Mayoress of Lugo; Raquel Sánchez, Mayoress of Gavà; Roberto Raga Gadea, Mayor of Riba-roja; Javier García, Mayor of Arnedo; and Ana González Rodríguez, Mayoress of Gijón.

After the representatives of the cities intervened, the El Día Después platform gave the floor to several experts in urban sustainability to contrast the proposed initiatives.

...Building a new normality requires spaces for radical collaboration open to incorporating several and diverse stakeholders who work together for the same purpose.

Julio Lumbreras

Technical University of Madrid and member of the European Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities.

The majority of problems from this crisis are concentrated in the cities and town halls, but that is also where solutions must be found.

Mikel Landabaso

Director of the Joint Research Centre for Innovation and Growth of the European Commission. 

The challenges that cities are beginning to face in this crisis are the right to roots, which goes beyond decent housing and refers to staying in it, or having a decent job; the right to diversity, as large cities tend to build in weaker neighbourhoods; and, finally, the right to creativity, so that citizens can have not only the ability to decide, but also to exercise power.

Rosa Jiménez

Expert in innovation and social design

The session “Transforming the cities of tomorrow” is promoted by Madrid Deep Demonstration Healthy and Clean Cities of EIT Climate-KIC, whose aim is to decarbonize the city of Madrid by 2030.

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