Maria Arana, is an architect who cofounded Urbanbat, an urban innovation office located in Bilbao which offers support in regional planning groups, communities and local governments. Through its work (participatory processes, workshops, interventions in public space …) it develops social innovation and urban creativity in order to promote a culture of citizen participation that contributes to the care and improvement of the environment.
URBANBAT gathers architects, urbanists, and people dedicated to social sciences, communication and education. Thanks to a multidisciplinary approach based on networking, it mediates between the parties involved in planning projects and urban regeneration.
These urban innovation office provides assistance and advice to municipalities and administrations in management of participatory processes related to urban regeneration, cultural development and social innovation.
They also mediate between civil society, private initiatives, organizations and institutions to carry out ideas that can improve the city, making it easier to bring together stakeholders in various formats: workshops, consultation sessions, conferences, films and other cultural activities.
The organization helps municipalities, governmental and non-governmental organizations, planning offices, community groups and citizens’ initiatives to share their activities, present their achievements and projects and disseminate their results.
URBANBAT develops programs of urban pedagogy in order to explore the multiple dimensions of the educating cities. One of them is Arkitente, a platform to bring the knowledge of the city and the architecture closer to children. On the other hand for the last five years, it has organized Urbanbat, the annual festival of urban and social innovation.