Cities — Bilbao All Cities
City Information

Bilbao aims to become an international hub capable of capturing companies that work in the new economics sectors related to design and creative industries: fashion, video games, audiovisual, product design, graphic design and digital contents. Bilbao always promote them. Beaz/Bilbao-Bizkaia will represent this city for the Human Cities project. Beaz will provide BiDC with a suitable area for hosting the Bilbao-Bizkaia Design&Creativity Council’s head-offices and operations in Bilbao. The purpouse of BIDC is to foster creativity and design as driving forces for economic development and projection of Bilbao Bizkaia.

Its values include aspects such as respect to cultural and ideological diversity, integration, freedom of speech, equal opportunities, access to information and knowledge, or assisting minorities.

BEAZ strategic action hub of activities include among others to:

• Provide support for the Bilbao strategy as an open, cultural and knowledge-focused city.
• Provide support for the territory economic and social development.
• Be a reference of excellence in its scope of action.
• Keep itself as an economically responsible social organisation.
• Support innovation and technology.
• Take part in the building of international and transversal co-operation networks.

Bilbao is located on the Eastern Atlantic seaboard, in the Spanish State, and stands 19 m above sea level, covering a surface area of 41.6 km2. It has important transport infrastructures that provide connections to the main cities in Europe by land, sea and air. The capital of Bizkaia/Biscay stands at the heart of a metropolis with over 1,000,000 inhabitants. Founded in 1300, it is the main axis of socio-economic development and the key factor in the modernisation of the territory.

Towards the end of the 20th century, as a result of industrial restructuring, Bilbao has to make a radical change to its economy. After years of economic uncertainty, the city recovers its dynamic nature and becomes a service city, totally committed to environmental and urban regeneration. Industrial land becomes the space for internationally awarded spatial transformation (Abandoibarra) that has positioned Bilbao as a powerful tourist destination.

The great emblem of this “New Bilbao” is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, although many other factors have contributed to this regeneration and profound change. Over 25 years Bilbao has gradually been shedding its industrial skin and rehabilitating emblematic areas of the city. The recovery of the historic town centre after the brutal floods of 1983 is one of the great achievements made. Today, the Old Quarter (Casco Viejo) is a first class tourist area that preserves the traditions and identity of the city. Be sure to visit this area, where it is essential to stroll, mingle and enjoy some local tapas (pintxos) washed down with good wine.

In addition to the brilliance of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao titanium, the transformation of Bilbao is environmental as well as urban, displayed in the recovery of the estuary, the soul of the city and silent witness to its history, the backbone for communication and trade. The cost of this operation was 800 million euros, some 6 times greater than the construction of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and it was financed through an increase in the rates for water consumption.

The clean-up of these estuary waters has enabled Bilbao and its residents to live looking towards this waterway and for the most important urban projects to be built on banks that have become some of the most sophisticated spaces in Europe, where buildings and works by the best architects and artists in the world are found, magnificent riverside walks where you can also enjoy a host of leisure, sporting and cultural activities.

Completing the strategic project for the transformation of Bilbao are the new bridges, the metro, airport and tram. These infrastructures, many of them designed by renowned architects (Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava, etc.), form an excellent mobility network, connecting Bilbao and its neighbourhoods with surrounding communities and also internationally.