“In June 2015 I had the honour of becoming Mayor of Bilbao, my native city and a city with a strong personality that has reinvented itself in the most complicated moments of its history. The crisis of traditional industry and the worst flooding suffered 30 years ago was the beginning of the new Bilbao that we relish today, the Bilbao of the Guggenheim Museum; the Bilbao of the 21st century, a model of urban development based on sustainability, social justice and a focus on education, talent and innovation. Because urban and human development are for me two sides of the same coin”.
– Mayor Juan Mari Aburto
Juan Mari Aburto was born in Bilbao in 1961. Married and father to two children, he received his law degree from the University of Deusto. For the last 20 years he has held different public offices, mostly related to the promotion of employment and social justice. Among those worth a particular mention are his time at the Social Action Department of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia (2003-2011) and his work at the head of the Employment and Social Affairs Department of the Basque Government (2012-2015). He was elected Mayor of Bilbao three years ago as the candidate of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV). From the moment he took office he made clear that “improving the quality of life for the men and women of Bilbao is the first and last goal” of his job: “The dignity of the people and the common good are matters that must shape all political action”.
In early 2017, Mayor Aburto launched the participatory process “Bilbao, Balioen Hiria”, a ground breaking initiative with the collaboration of the University of Deusto. The goal is to identify, share and promote the values that dignify us a people and society, applying them to future projects, programmes and actions.
As a starting point, an initial decalogue has been established that includes the following values: respect for human rights, solidarity, trust, participation, creativity, gender equality, environmental sustainability, commitment, social justice and diversity. Incorporating contributions from citizens, associations, media, institutions, companies, political parties and entities of all kinds, Bilbao aspires to become the 1st city with a Charter of Values.
More Information: Balioenhiria.bilbao.eus
The future Zorrotzaurre Island of Talent and Knowledge combines residential development with public leisure and culture spaces; companies of high technological value and leading infrastructure such as the smart services for industry laboratory As-fabrik and the European headquarters of the DigiPen Institute of Technology.
Zorrotzaurre is destined to become a new international benchmark for recovery and development of land and industrial facilities in disuse, preserving the historical heritage of the area and promoting strategies for intelligent specialisation and sustainable urban development.
More Information: www.zorrotzaurre.com
Since 2016 Bilbao City Council has sponsored a Participatory Budget, offering citizens the chance to carry out specific proposals for improving their neighbourhoods in any sphere of municipal competence. This initiative boasts investment of 2 million euros, in addition to another 12 million for work and actions to improve all of Bilbao’s neighbourhoods. They are prioritised by the District Councils of Bilbao, where citizens are represented through the city ‘s associative movement.
More Information: www.bilbao.eus