Processes, urban impact and evaluation of the high-speed rail in the city of Zaragoza, Spain
The city of Zaragoza experienced during the last decade the major urban transformation of its history. Two events made it possible, acting like “leverage effect” through strategic urban projects: the arrival of the high-speed rail in the year 2003 and the celebration of the International Exhibition in 2008. These two events, closely linked, allowed finishing a lot of former urban needs in strategical locations.
The rail infrastructure was a widely debated topic during the development of the General Master Plan, since 1997 to the definitive approval in 2001. This process proved an unexpected public participation, changing the location of the rail station and covering the rail lines.
For the development of the new rail infrastructures and the urban projects relate, in March 2002 was signed an Agreement by the Ministry of Public Works, the Regional Government and the City Council of Zaragoza to create a public company that became the responsible for the management of the urban transformation, that is still working.
The election of Zaragoza as the host city for the Expo 2008 in December 2004 boosted the execution of many infrastructural works and urban projects. But after the event, the real estate and economic crisis impeded the implementation of the post-Expo projects creating a great paralysis that has not been unblocked until today.
The paper analyzes the processes, the management and design of the strategic urban project since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the role of different stakeholders in the process, the urban impact of the built works and the decisions after the real estate crisis in 2008. In the end, it evaluates the limited resilience of the city facing this new scenario and the lack of leadership and capacity to find a way to continue the unfinished projects.
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