Bilbao, at the forefront of European urbanism
Bilbao has been named European City of the Year at the 2018 Urbanism Awards given by The Academy of Urbanism. European cities are recognised every year by the Academy, whose experts judge a number of urban, environmental, social, technological and cultural factors.
At the award-giving ceremony, held 8 November in London, David Rudlin, Chair of the Academy, praised Bilbao for having morphed from the post-industrial degradation of the 1990s into a cosmopolitan, super-modern city.
‘Bilbao is a great example of the wholesale transformation of a former industrial city – not just physically, but socially, economically and culturally. The rejuvenation it has achieved over the past 30 years is nothing short of remarkable. All of this has been achieved through bold and effective leadership,’ said Rudlin.
The Basque city beat Vienna (Austria) and Ljubljana (Slovenia), two European cities that were also assessed in areas such as infrastructure, services, culture, quality of life, sustainability, environment, connectivity and commercial success, among others.
The award helps Bilbao expand its international reach and enhances the international prestige of its architectural environment, reflected in the high number of awards given to the city.
From the Guggenheim Museum to Zorrotzaurre
Since the Basque city bid on the construction of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao twenty years ago, new spaces and projects have been planned and developed, many of them along the Nervión estuary.
Some of the projects developed recently are the Bilbao underground, the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, the renovated Alhóndiga – awarded by the ULI 2017 Global Award for Excellence –, the refurbished La Ribera Market, the recently developed Miribilla neighbourhood and the urban renewal of the peninsula of Zorrotzaurre, designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid.