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“Walking the streets!” – “Haciendo la calle!”

By Maria Jesus Del Blanco

Experiment “Walking the streets!” was carried out in Bilbao La Vieja, San Francisco y Zabala neighbourhoods in the framework of the Human Cities project in Bilboa.

This participatory process for the neighbours and socio-cultural agents in Bilbao La Vieja is an opportunity to recognize each other, share experiences and work on the design of the shared strategies that contribute to improve the neighbourhood in a more sustainable and inclusive way.

By participating in several citizen laboratories, the neighbours of the area have proposed some creative solutions of intervention in the public space meeting specific desires or needs identified by them.

One of these solutions is related to the need to connect the three neighbourhoods that make up what is commonly named Bilbao La Vieja. For this, the participants proposed to create some designs for the public space that draw an itinerary to link these neighbourhoods and, at the same time, highlight the intangible heritage of the area (the collective memory, the value of its network of associations, its culture, the contribution of women to its development…).

Bilbao La Vieja is the most intercultural area of the city with many agents working for creativity and a strong associative structure that aims to solve the problems of these neighbourhoods (social exclusion, unemployment, etc.).

The initial goal is to develop, from a bottom-up perspective, a project that responds to an urban need of the area of Bilbao La Vieja by mixing disciplines and overcoming the stereotypes of the relation between urban planning and citizen participation.

The dialogue opened within the frame of this project between the neighbours, the socio-cultural agents and the City Council, has made possible to design and produce a VISUAL GUIDE with recommendations for future interventions in the public space that will serve to inspire to socio- cultural agents and policy makers.

By the end of the Human Cities project in Bilbao we are working on:

– Ten artistic interventions that highlight different aspects of the intangible heritage of the community of Bilbao La Vieja.
– One urban itinerary that will show the artworks and link the three neighborhoods of this district.

Once the project has been finished the strategy will be useful for other urban initiatives.


  • Bilbao Bizkaia Design Council (Bilbao Ekintza + BEAZ)
  • Civersity,(Social Urban Research Group of the public university of the Basque Country)
  • Culture Department of the Basque Government
  • Bilbao City Council


LIST OF THE HUMAN CITIZENS (human citizens´associations that have taken part)

  • Bilbao Historiko, (Retailers Associations of the neighbourhoods involved in the Project)
  • The Coordination of Neighbourhood´s Associations
  • Xake Association
  • Wikitoki
  • Local artists
  • International experts


Citizenship / Participation / Creativity / Local culture / Collaborative Culture / Heritage / Memory / Social Innovation / Public Space / Urban pedagogy