The Secretary for Urban Habitat and Territory, Agustí Serra, and the Dean of the COAC, Assumpció Puig, today chaired the meeting of the Strategic Council of the National Urban Renewal Programme (PNRU) at which the Catalan Government and the 14 technical and municipal bodies involved in the programme signed the Declaration for a PNRU.
This kicks off the process of developing the PNRU, which aspires to provide a frame of reference for agreements on urban renewal policies over the coming years, including aspects such as sustainability, energy efficiency, mobility associated with new technologies, and new governance instruments.
The document is intended to address the needs of the ageing Catalan residential stock, 70% of which is now more than 40 years old, and the urban areas that, despite being magnets for innovation and opportunities, are also beleaguered with social and economic inequalities and environmental imbalances. Added to this are the changes stemming from new economic models and climate change.
The answer to these new changes must therefore entail the rehabilitation, renewal and improvement of the existing fabric in line with sustainability criteria while putting a premium on people's quality of life, something that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus.
A multi-sector approach
In order to stimulate the renewal of this urban fabric, in 2019 the Catalan public administration earmarked a total of 50.6 million euros in the form of grants and investments to facilitate the renovation of 29,016 homes, as well as opening a line of credit with the Catalan Institute of Finance to the tune of 100 million euros for renovation costs.
However, according to data from the COAC, building renovation in Catalonia is still very incidental in overall terms. The building renovation projects approved in Catalonia account for just 26% of the total approved building area, and most of them are non-residential projects.
In view of this situation, and as stated by the Dean of the COAC at the meeting of the Strategic Council of the PNRU, "there is a need to address this situation more strategically, allowing the sector to play a greater role in the country's economic recovery and to respond to the challenges and commitments with the Urban Agenda, especially our response to climate change, prioritizing urban renewal projects with policies and instruments that make this possible".
Thus the PNRU, which is expected to see the light of day in the spring of 2021, aims to address the renovation of buildings from different angles, ranging from the connectivity of communities to new types of housing, accessibility, energy improvement and the incorporation of new building materials. The integration of all these perspectives would not only improve residents' quality of life but also help to redirect the construction sector, which has traditionally focused more on new build projects.
Strategic Council of the PNRU
The Strategic Council of the PNRU comprises: Govern de la Generalitat (Departaments de Territori i Sostenibilitat, Cultura, Salut i Vicepresidència i Economia i Hisenda), Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya, Ajuntament de Barcelona, Associació de Promotors de Catalunya, Associació Catalana de Municipis (ACM), Associació de Micropobles de Catalunya, Col·legi d'Enginyers Industrials de Catalunya, Col·legi d'Administradors de Finques, Consell de Col·legis d’Enginyers Graduats i Enginyers Tècnics Industrials, Col·legi d'Aparelladors, Arquitectes Tècnics i Enginyers d'Edificació de Barcelona, Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya, Col·legi de Camins, Canals i Ports de Catalunya, Federació de Municipis de Catalunya, Gremi de Constructors d'Obres, Institut Català de l'Energia and Institut de Tecnologia de la Construcció de Catalunya.