The Internal Reform Special Plan for the Urban Rehabilitation and Regeneration of the Urban Area of San Andrés del Rabanedo, was initially approved on December 5, 2018 – Promoted by Junta de Castilla y León. Launched as a pioneer plan, the objective was to obtain proposals that could alleviate the increasingly pressing problems of the elderly, which affect not only the quality of citizens but also the community's own resources. The initiatives that are suggested in this project promoted by the regional administration aim to cover an absolute necessity in Castilla y León: taking care of the aged population by adapting their traditional urban habitat, with the use of the available urban rehabilitation and regeneration instruments. A series of measures that will facilitate the integration of different genders and ages in the municipal urban structure, providing a healthy, active and dignified old age to its residents and reducing the social and economic costs of creating adapted residential infrastructures
On the short-term horizon, there are doubts about the ability to cover current pensions and related health benefits for the protection of the elderly - especially in Castilla y León. The need to incorporate economical measures that could complement the current offer is becoming increasingly real, hence this pilot plan is driven by Consejería de Fomento de la Junta de Castilla y León.
In Spain, 93.97% of the population over 65 years of age prefers to stay in their home for as long as possible, with 88.70% of the population with more than 65 years owning a house. However, most of the dwelling stock in which they are staying is more than 36 years old. On the other hand, the economic situation for most of the elderly people is precarious. The average pension in Spain is € 985 while the prices of the different types of accommodation for the elderly are higher (€ 1,200 - € 1,500 on average) making impossible the assistance out of home. This situation results in growing economic and social problems. All these data have been valued and have significantly influenced the logic of this project.
It is clear that to develop an active ageing with a good quality of life, enjoying old age in one's home is an option not only desirable, but recommended. Therefore, the purpose of this SPECIAL PLAN is to RE-THINK - not to transform - a neighbourhood with labour roots in order to generate an EXPERIENCE OF NEIGHBORHOOD FOR THE ELDERLY THAT WILL BE PROVIDED PROGRESSIVELY WITH ADAPTED DWELLINGS AND URBAN SPACES THAT ENCOURAGE A COMMUNITY MODEL FOR THE ELDERLY. This proposal will allow the elderly to generate benefits, since it will improve their quality of life; avoiding the psychological impact of making them leave their home. The project would be also positive for the society in general, due to the considerable savings of not executing new infrastructures to accommodate the aged population, leveraging the existing ones.
Specifically, the particular objectives of the project would be:
- Alleviate the serious problem of aging assistance, facilitating a home-assisted program in which urban rehabilitation and regeneration serve to provide the necessary measures to improve the quality of life of the elderly.
- Avoid the execution of new infrastructures for aged people in charge of public funds; using and adapting existing homes.
- Promote the implementation of new companies and jobs linked to the elderly care sector.
- Attend mobility needs, with the creation of new garden areas, the optimization of the existing ones, and the improvement of the quality of road sections, pedestrianizing or resizing them, depending on the situation.
- Given the majority in dwelling ownership, it is suggested to establish a Company.
- Adapt the small surface of the houses. The average area is less than 65 m2 built, finding flats of 40 m2 - This fact makes that, even improving the conditions of the building and public spaces, the dwellings are not habitable nor attractive to accommodate family units of more than three people. The project will offer measures for make couple or individual life possible for the elderly people with reduced mobility.
- Remove the horizontal and vertical architectural barriers, demolishing the current stairs in the buildings that requires it, replacing them with others that would incorporate an elevator.
- Improve the thermal insulation of the existing buildings, in order to enhance comfort levels and energy savings. The dwellings must be provided by appropriate telecommunication infrastructures that allows the monitoring of the elderly residents.
- Create more pedestrian spaces, by reducing existing oversized traffic vials; transforming them into coexistence vials restricted to emergency vehicles.
- Boost the creation of green spaces and permeable areas. Reduce the surface of hard pavements and increase areas of natural shade.
- Improve the lighting system of public spaces, optimizing energy consumption and enabling easier access to telecommunications and data networks.
We consider that this project is a special opportunity to re-think a neighbourhood. A chance for reduce the socioeconomic vulnerability of the aged population by using urban rehabilitation and regeneration tools. Operations that would make a significant positive impact not only in their inhabitants but also in society at large.
Óscar Miguel Ares. He obtained his degree in 1998 at the Higher Technical School of Architecture of University of Valladolid.
Since March 2012 he has been leading his office under the firm Contextos de Arquitectura y Urbanismo. As an architect he has won several competitions and his work has been awarded at the XIV Spanish Architecture and Urbanism Biennial 2018; selected for the 11th Ibero-American Architecture and Urbanism Biennial; in the FAD 2018 Awards; Spanish Architecture Awards 2017; American Architecture Prize (New York, 2017); International Architecture Awards 2018 granted by The Chicago Athenaeum / Europeen (Athens, 2018); The Plan Award, (Venice 2018, Milán 2019); the Architecture Awards of Castilla y León (2009, 2011, 2016 and 2018), as well as in the Sustainable Construction Awards of Castilla y León (2017 and 2018). His works have been published in national and international magazines, among which stands out Arquitectura Viva, Tectónica, Domus or Baumeister.