“It is within cities that policies’ successes or failures are measured. We are already able to see how the SDGs for the planet can either become effective or not depending on the policies we develop in our urban centres where population is mostly concentrated. From a governance point of view, our goal must therefore be to promote a participatory process that would make our cities models of shared places. We should also primarily promote social inclusion in our policies and make sure that no one is left behind”
Mayor Juan Espadas Cejas
Juan Espadas Cejas was born in Seville and grew up in the Miraflores district. When he was 22, he graduated from the University of Seville with a degree in Law. He also has a degree in Business Management from the Institute of San Telmo. In 1997 he joined the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and was appointed Federal Coordinator for the Environment, a post he held until 2009. He was the Minister of Housing and Planning for the Government of Andalusia from 2008 to 2010, where he participated in laying the foundation stone for 583 subsidised housing units (VPO), promoted by the Foundation for the Development of Southern Europe. He was a senator from 2010 to 2013 and he has served as mayor of Seville since June 2015.
Seville is in the process of launching the Seville Breathes Plan (Respira Sevilla). With a 60 million euro budget, the plan aims to generate healthier, more habitable areas with limited circulation of private vehicles and an expansion of the Metrocentro. The plan aims to tackle climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions through the expansion of 30km/h speed limits on city streets, reclaiming spaces for pedestrians, boosting public transport and promoting more sustainable forms of mobility such as walking, cycling and the use of electric cars.
The Seville Breathes Plan is an initiative of the Strategic Plan Seville 2030, launched in 2020, that aims to support Seville in reaching the SDGs and the new Green Deal promoted by the European Union.
In the Municipal Housing Plan, Seville has committed to prioritising the availability of rental housing in the city by introducing measures to reduce the rise in rental prices, responding to existing social demands with the promotion of new public flats, and reducing the number of private apartments left vacant. The plan promotes housing cooperatives and provides a reference price index for rentals. New regulations around tourism-related use of properties that will limit tourism activity have also been proposed to relieve pressure on certain neighbourhoods.
Seville is tackling homelessness by providing overnight accommodation in a new night centre for the city’s homeless population. The city published a tender in 2020, for the facility to be built by 2022, and has allocated 1.5 million euros to the project. The night centre will provide overnight shelter, food, shower facilities, and social and psychological assistance.
Seville has provided 200 000 euros of funding to deliver 26 projects led by associations and federations of traders to support local small businesses. The agreement will enable involved businesses to access bonuses, financial aid, promotional campaigns and receive special treatment with regards to regulations and municipal ordinances. The programme aims to establish mechanisms of support for merchant associations throughout the city and implement specific actions to promote their activity, help them attract customers and modernise themselves. Initiatives include advertising and promotion campaigns to attract new customers, merchandising, dynamisation of social networks and websites, and the digital transformation and promotion of associations between businesses.