It’s well known that the future of urban design and transportation will support the mass use of bicycles. Still, some cities are slow to catch on to this. In Spain where cycling is not nearly as popular in colder northern parts of Europe the city of Seville is leading the charge into the future.
How Seville became such a great cycling city is a far out tale:
“As soon as the building work was finishing and the fences were removed the cyclists just came. The head of the building team, who’d been very sceptical about the process, called me and said, ‘Where have all those cyclists come from?’ That’s when I knew for sure it was going to work. The came from all over the city.”
The net result is not Dutch or Danish levels of cycling, but nonetheless impressive. The average number of bikes used daily in the city rose from just over 6,000 to more than 70,000. The last audit, about a year ago, found 6% of all trips were made by bike, rising to 9% for non-commuter journeys.
Spain makes use of a plethora of energy sources and they are leaders in Europe when it comes to utilizing solar and wind energy. Energy policy is always under debate in the country and hopefully they will continue their overall trend of helping sustainable energy develop.
Wind accounted for 20.9 percent of the country’s energy last year — more than any other enough to power about 15.5 million households, with nuclear coming in a very close second at 20.8 percent. Wind energy usage was up over 13 percent from the year before, according to the report.
The news is being hailed by environmental advocates as a sign that Spain, and perhaps the rest of the world, is ready for a future based on renewables. But the record comes at the end of a very rocky year for Spain’s renewable energy sector, which was destabilized by subsidy cutbacks and arguments over how much the government should regulate renewable energy companies.
Despite the flaws in Spain’s system, the numbers are promising for green energy fans. The renewable push brought down Spain’s greenhouse gas emissions by 23 percent, according to another industry report from Red Electric Espana (REE).
Madrid made a very wise urban planning decision and buried a highway to make room for people and nature. Thanks to a lack of foresight, the Rio Manzanares was surrounded by concrete and industrial spaces that made for depressing scene. The smart people in Madrid decided to change that and make the area along the river a place for people to enjoy and bring back nature to the space.
They added more pedestrian space, bike lanes, and room for public transit. To make things even better they supported surrounding buildings in sustainable renovations to improve their carbon footprint!
Here’s a great video explaining what they did and how the project drastically improves the city:
The planning management of the project was first sub-divided into two phases due to its technical complexity and the high amount of investment required to complete the project. The two phases focused on different objectives which were:
1. Madrid Calle 30 (Phase 1) – to bury the M-30 highway, and
2. Madrid Río (Phase 2) – to treat the area surrounding the river by building parks, playgrounds, infrastructure, and other facilities.
In a project as big as this one, the objectives were met step-by-step through smaller projects that were carried out to focus on specific areas that would be affected. For example, one project would deal with the areas of Casa de Campo and Manzanares districts, while another would execute the project in areas of Palacio-Puerta del Angel districts. The planning of many focused projects such as these under one big project, displays the work breakdown structure (WBS) of the whole project as well as the divergence and convergence of the work paths that would occur in the process.
Bull fighting is animal cruelty that has some legitimacy in Spain, but that has started to change. For many years animal rights activists have been championing the safety and good-treatment of bulls and in Catalonia the last bull fight happened a couple days ago.
With any luck, the rest of Spain will follow suit and ban bullfighting.
Hundreds of anti-bullfight protesters gathered outside the bull ring carrying posters reading “RIP,” “Goodbye” and “A great day for the bulls” under the watchful eyes of squads of police.
“It is a small victory, but the thought of having it in the rest of Spain and still having Correbous (local fiestas) here does not make me happy. I am here because six animals are going to be tortured here today,” said an anti-bullfighting activist who gave his name as Luis.
The law banning bullfighting in autonomous Catalonia was passed by the regional parliament in July last year after a citizens’ petition. It comes into effect in January but Sunday was Barcelona’s farewell as it is the end of the season.
The Republican party in the USA has been trying to defend the drilling of oil despite an ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, nothing new there. They have also been arguing against progressive economic reforms to make the American economy more efficient and powered by renewable sources.
Thanks to the Republican incompetence I have stumbled across good news from Spain. They tried citing a report that they thought was against green reforms, turns out those reforms have turned a region of Spain from a place of economic misery to a haven of productivity.
Sixty-five percent of the electricity used in Navarra comes from renewable sources — primarily wind — built over the last twenty years. Over those years, the region went from having the highest unemployment rate in Spain to having the lowest rate, today.
“Under President Obama’s leadership,” the report concludes, “the United States’ decisive support of renewable energies…will aid in rapidly overcoming the current economic crisis…”