This week we have been in Madrid attending the 2018 National Environmental Congress (CONAMA), with the intention to nurture ourselves with new ideas, concepts and experiences that can help us to propose transformation projects towards more sustainable societies with an eye on 2030 since “in the next decade the great transformations will accelerate”.

Over the course of these days we have collected the state of the art in environmental matters and urban regeneration of the national environment. With a certain degree of alarm at the situations we are facing and those that are yet to come, the congress gave rise to the feeling that now is the time to generate ideas and projects capable of altering the unsustainable course of unlimited growth. The 8,000 attendees received a clear message: the need to change urban habits and developments by adapting them to the biocapacity of the environment is urgent and we must make radical decisions to improve sustainability.

In this context, approaches based on the reuse of water, the rush to implement return systems that avoid the generation of waste, denuclearization and the immovable entry of renewables (Climate Change and Energy Transition Law), the importance of public spaces and cities designed for citizens, the possibilities of integrating adaptation to climate change in local economic sectors (Life Clinomics), the New Spanish Urban Agenda 2030 (2050, in the case of Euskadi), the forest certification as an adaptation mechanism, fiscal instruments such as centimo forestal or employees for rehabilitation of buildings, for example.

Speakers from across the national scene such as Teresa Ribera (Minister for the Ecological Transition), José Domínguez Abascal (Secretary of State for Energy), Miguel Baiget (Ministry of Public Works), Lola Ortiz (Ministry of Finance and Public Administration), José Ignacio Asensio (Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa), Gorka Urtaran (Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council), Elena Moreno (Basque Government), Ignacio Lapuerta (Basque Government), Mari Mar Alonso (IHOBE) , Jon Such (Urbact), Pedro Marín (Málaga City Hall), Antonio Serrano, (Fundicot), José Fariña em> (Polytechnic University of Madrid), José María Ezquiaga (Ezquiaga Arquitectura), Santiago Ochoa (Goiener), Efrén Feliú (Tecnalia), among many others, they fed us with experiences, difficulties, tools, methodologies, indicators, forms of governance and financing instruments with great potential for replicability in our territory.

Now it is time to get down to work and compose ambitious projects capable of responding to the socioeconomic challenges of the territory, complying with the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agendas.

We leave you some of the loudest messages delivered during the congress:

  • “Citizen participation is needed, but also social leadership in urban regeneration projects” “breaking the citizen’s sense of customer” @angelmarinero @DGCyL
  • “Life expectancy is directly linked to the vulnerability of the residential stock” Ignacio Lapuerta @Gob_eus
  • “Cities will be asked to monitor the indicators of the #ODS included in the Agenda Urbana 2030″ #MiguelBaiget
  • “Radical decisions must be made to improve sustainability, we are facing an urgent situation” Malaga
  • “After the rehabilitation of the buildings, a proactive way of being neighbors has emerged” @jordi_mas
  • “Urban renewal is a great opportunity to adapt to Climate Change, the excavator is coming” @Ihobe_Eus
  • “All municipal services must be impregnated with adaptation to climate change” @MADRID
  • “For every euro invested in natural solutions you have a benefit of €940 in health”
  • “What better than owning your own energy?” @Ecooo_
  • “The model for the future is that of urban regeneration, we must work on what already exists” @JmEzquiaga
  • “We have to plant 30,000 trees to reach the levels indicated by the WHO” (minimum of between 9 and 11 square meters of green spaces per inhabitant)
  • “Citizens helped us restore an illegal dump and transform it into an ecological park”
  • “Let’s not see green as a luxury, but as a necessity”
  • “The biocapacity was exceeded and now we have to distribute making what we have work better”
  • “We must reduce the transport of people, large-scale tourist trips are unthinkable”
  • “Let’s create spaces of proximity”
  • “Cities and neighborhoods contextualized with their surroundings (two cities from different parts of the world should not be the same)”
  • “Cities must be rethought towards pedestrians”
  • “We must introduce “entropy” disorder in the city through nature. And create stable structures of participation”
  • In the neighborhood of Igualada, Barcelona, ​​”old factories have been used to host fashion festivals, preserving the industrial heritage” @bcn_ajuntament
  • “The useful life of landfills is going to be very short, we have to go back and start doing it now”, Igor González @eurocontrol_es @ComunidadMadrid
  • “Ecosystem services and goods generated by the rural world must be paid for as a way to sustain rural depopulation and reactivate rural areas” @fundicot