SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY: OBJECTIVES AND STRANDS OF ACTION
CAMPUSHABITAT5U is inspired by the definition of a sustainable economic model based on a pattern of balanced growth, which has three mutually reinforcing main priorities: smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
These three priorities require that borders be crossed, whether geographical or institutional, in order to coordinate strategies and make the right decisions. Because smart solutions require cooperation.
Therefore, the CAMPUSHABITAT5U’s commitment to fostering growth of this nature will be founded on the following strategic objectives:
- To advance toward a consolidated and sustainable economic model, increasing productivity and competitiveness in the territory
- To promote innovative economic activities in Habitat and Territory through collaboration between the business world and the university community
- To foster the coordinating nature of the campus to contribute to the revitalization of socially cohesive settings
Universities as agents of social and economic revitalitzation
The Valencia public university system (SUPV) can be described as large and diverse, both in terms of the individual institutions and the system as a whole. The activities these universities undertake absorb a significant amount of public and private resources, while the results they produce represent important contributions to the society that sustains them and within which they exist. Their relevance has become even greater in the current developmental atmosphere, where knowledge is considered an essential component in the transformation of productive structures.
Based on the report “The Socioeconomic Contributions of Valencia’s Public Universities” produced by the Valencian Institute for Economic Research (IVIE), a summary of some of the figures related to SUPV’s socio-economic impact is presented below:
- Nine out of every ten university students in the Valencian Community study at one of the universities that make up the SUPV.
- In the Valencian Community, the SUPV manages 49% of the financial and human resources dedicated to R&D, and generates 19.2% of the region’s patents and 36.4% of the European patents developed by universities in Spain.
- In the last decade, 200,000 students have graduated from public universities in the Valencian Community. Currently, 434,000 university graduates are working within Valencia’s economy. This means that the university educated workforce has grown by 2.6 times since 1995.
- Economic Activity:
- For Valencia’s economy, the SUPV each year represents:
- 1,956 million euros in income
- 54,638 jobs
- For Valencia’s economy, the SUPV each year represents:
- Provision of productive resources based on knowledge(human capital and technological capital):
- The human capital generated by the SUPV has contributed to raising the employment rate in the CV by 1.34%, while reducing the unemployment rate by 0.35%. This is equivalent to generating 56,000 jobs per year.
- Contribution to the economic development of the Valencian Community:
- The SUPV has contributed an average of 0.95% per year to the economic growth of the CV.
These figures support the efforts that bind the CAMPUSHABITAT5U project as a unified and solid source of social and economic revitalization. Along these lines, the following summary describes the contributions made by CAMPUSHABITAT5U to promote advancement towards a sustainable, consolidated economic model that will reinforce the project’s efforts to increase productivity and competitiveness in the territory:
- Creation of the Habitat Observatory: in order to respond to the many questions that arise from the action of inhabiting, it is first necessary to emphasize the close link between the verb to inhabitand the way we live our lives. Today, habitation takes place in a myriad of ways for the members of a great variety of fluid social groupings, within a context of constant life changes. This indicates the need for study and for the launching of innovative projects and proposals that offer solutions and responses to real situations. Within this new and increasingly competitive social context, information that is useful for helping institutions and businesses along the path to innovation has become a fundamental tool for gaining strategic advantages in the marketplace.In order to specify and detail this information, which is of high strategic value for this specialized research areas and alliances of CAMPUSHABITAT5U, the Observatory of Habitat Trends (OTH) has been integrated in the project, and is already widely known among businesses in the Valencian Community. The OTH, created through three of the technology institutes affiliated with CAMPUSHABITAT5U (AIDIMA, AITEX and ITC), makes a system available for generating and disseminating knowledge related to habitat trends that is multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral in nature.This Habitat Observatory will:
- identify and characterize habitat trends;
- serve as a useful tool for improving strategic business decision-making;
- provide support for companies in terms of adapting to changes and trends related to habitat;
- catalyze the creation of highly innovative and differentiated products, both by following existing trends and by acting as trendsetters;
- channel and translate the knowledge generated on campus to serve identified needs;
- assess and market innovation linked to new habitat-related products or services, in order to anticipate new developments and provide communication and distribution strategies for new innovations that will increase competitiveness on a global scale.
Sinergies between the SUPV and the productive sector
The SUPV and the productive sector share a long history of developing synergies together. CAMPUSHABITAT5U aims to continue its efforts to ensure that universities effectively contribute to driving innovative economic activities in Habitat and Territory, achieving a long-lasting and effective commitment to cooperation with the business sector.
There are currently 34 business-sponsored chairs linked to the specialized area of Habitat and Territory, which represent good examples of strong and effective university-business cooperation.These chairs strengthen campus-industry relationships through the generation and diffusion of knowledge and the education of future professionals in areas of common interest. The following are just a few of these cooperative relationships.
- The CEMEX Sustainability Chair: Its goal is to promote knowledge of energy valuation and adequate waste management by means of the educational activities organized by the chair.
- The Bancaja Habitat Sustainable Architecture Chair: Its goal is to promote research on the principles that should guide the teaching and the creation of architecture committed to sustainable development.
- The Lladró Architecture for the Habitat Chair: The objective of this chair is to promote and diversify the use of porcelain in architecture and in the habitat through collaboration in R&D activities.
- The GESFESA Sustainable Construction and Biourbanism Chair: This is a university-business chair that demonstrates the effectiveness of working together in an interdisciplinary manner in order to achieve urban construction and development that is more integrated with its surroundings, as well as more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
- ASCER Inter-university Ceramics Chair: This chair establishes a specialized university-business collaboration through the ASCER Ceramics Chair Network and a variety of architecture schools in Spain. In the CV, the UJI has a ceramics lab, the UA has a ceramics workshop and the UPV has a ceramics group linked directly to the University School of Architecture.
- City of Valencia Chairs: These chairs focus on providing access to the city of Valencia’s economic, social, urban and environmental realities for students and lecturers by means of activities related to teaching, research and sharing of results, while at the same time deepening relationships between the universities and the city.
- Sustainable Municipalities Chair: Its goal is to develop and promote initiatives that will support the implementation of sustainable policies, while also contributing to teaching in the university community and the promotion of a culture of environmental sustainability.
An effort is consequently being made to consolidate this cooperation through the creation and development of a coordinated strategy for business-sponsored chairs in the area of Habitat and Territory though the formation of strategic alliances created in the framework of the CAMPUSHABITAT5U project. This includes:
- Educational activities:
- Collaboration in the development of elective courses and master’s degree programmes
- Pre-doctoral and postdoctoral grants and fellowships
- Award competitions for final projects and work projects, or design contests
- Conferences and seminars
- Promotion of educational cooperation
- Collaboration in developing training plans for businesses
- Visits to companies
- Activities related to dissemination of research results and the transfer of knowledge:
- Organization of seminars to share technical and technological advances
- Publications on subjects of interest in the area of Habitat and Territory
- Publicizing the activities of the chairs
- Promotion of collaboration at scientific and technical events
- Research activities:
- Promotion of the development of new lines of research
- Support in the preparation of doctoral theses
- Support for research projects
- Promotion of meetings among experts
- Activities involving cultural or artistic creativity:
- Organization of cultural events
- Seminars and teaching workshops for artistic production
- Award competitions
CAMPUSHABITAT5U: A driver of urban and rural regeneration
Public universities in the Valencian Community drive the economic and social revitalization of the region’s urban and rural environments, favouring the establishment of best practices that can develop into new trends and modes of habitation, in harmony with the model of economic sustainability mandated by recently approved national legislation.
In this respect, the University Institute of Local Development (IIDL) (see area 2.5 Alliances) represents a key component of the campus. This is especially true given that diagnoses and forecasts of the future situation point to the territorial variable as a clear strategic component. In this way, the local development and regeneration of urban and rural environments is now the context into which policies and strategies must be incorporated. These must be effective not only from an economic perspective, but also from a social standpoint and they must be based on long-term sustainable development.
A driver of urban regeneration
CAMPUSHABITAT5U promotes advancement in urban regeneration and innovation by means of an essential collaborative undertaking, relying upon better coordination of efforts to revitalize neglected neighbourhoods in the cities of the Valencian Community. Some of these efforts are described below:
- Active participation in the RIVA Russafa Plan: Since 1992, Valencia’s historic city centre has suffered from accelerating processes of urban, social and economic decline. To confront this situation, the municipal and regional governments of Valencia created a joint effort agreement in order to carry out an Integrated Plan for the Rehabilitation of Valencia (the RIVA Plan), with the objective of revitalizing this neighbourhood.The plan follows an innovative approach based upon the experiences of a pilot project involving five residential blocks, and has two objectives:
- Providing the neighbourhood with resources and urban restructuring that will significantly improve environmental quality, and consequentially the lives of its residents.
- Testing methods, techniques and solutions that could serve as models suitable for more extensive use in the rest of the Valencian Community and in similar urban contexts in other cities in the world.
This is part of the CAT-MED project (see area 2.3, Transformation of the Campus). For this reason, a series of sustainability indicators will be incorporated, which will allow comparisons to be made with the advances of pilot projects from other Mediterranean cities in the network.
The active participation of CAMPUSHABITAT5U also involves developing theoretical analyses, studies and proposals, as well as innovative practices to improve the process of revitalization in the neighbourhood as well as to establish collaborative alliances for coordinating the educational content of the master’s and doctoral programmes offered in this field by the various universities.
- Contribution to improvements in the El Cabañal neighbourhood: CAMPUSHABITAT5U is committed to the improvement and rehabilitation of urban areas, and is participating in the revitalization of the El Cabañal neighbourhood in Valencia as part of a special committee formed to study the best steps to be taken in this direction. The campus will first analyze the neighbourhood’s current situation, identifying its needs and developing proposals for urban regeneration. Furthermore, possibilities for collaboration on specific activities are also being considered, such as the application of new technologies or analytical and diagnostic work performed though contacts with local companies. This is contributing to knowledge of how the university can best become involved in these necessary improvements.
- Regeneration of urban spaces in the city of Valencia around the Botanical Gardens: CAMPUSHABITAT5U aims to work in cooperation with the Valencia City Council in drawing up a common strategy to remodel certain urban areas of the city, contributing to improving the quality of the architecture and urban development of an area of the city located in Valencia’s historic quarter, next to the popular Barrio del Carmen neighbourhood.
The revitalization and urban regeneration of this area will be built on the foundation of this cooperation agreement, and the research, preservation and dissemination activities of the Botanical Gardens will be strengthened. The agreement includes the transfer of an extensive plot of land to expand the gardens as well as several former farmhouses, whose rehabilitation will contribute to the creation of the Museum of Natural History next to the Botanical Gardens. CAMPUSHABITAT5U will approach this project through the implementation of a Local Sponsorship Programme.
- Involvement of CAMPUSHABITAT5U in the Meetings of the Architectural Collective (AACCs): The Architectural Collective (Arquitecturas Colectivas in Spanish) is a network of individuals and groups interested in the participatory construction of the urban environment. This network represents a key framework for collaboration on projects and initiatives. “Comboy a la Fresca. Meetings of the Architectural Collective” is the name of the conference taking place in July 2011 in the city of Valencia, to promote exchanges and develop joint initiatives. One of the innovative urban projects to be presented at the meetings is the Neighbourhood Initiatives Centre (CIV). As its name implies, this is a collaborative space where processes related to research and praxis can be generated, in pursuit of a more sustainable, participatory and inhabitable city.In the short term, the CIV will serve as one of the settings and points of visibility for the 2011 Meetings of the Architectural Collective.
- An urban observatory for study and research involving the city of Valencia, managed for the public benefit
- A centre for knowledge transfer and collaboration between the CAMPUSHABITAT5U project and the public in Valencia
- A trans-disciplinary team for consultation and assistance for neighbourhoods and neighbourhood associations
A driver of rural regeneration
CAMPUSHABITAT5U is also a driving force for rural regeneration, and for sustainable development outside of the Valencian Community’s urban areas and economic centres. This can be demonstrated by the various university extension programmes that the campus project runs, as well as the overall involvement and interaction of CAMPUSHABITAT5U in the surrounding territory.
This is based on the idea that knowledge is one of the essential components in the positive development of rural areas.
It is essential to take advantage of the technologies and abilities associated with the CAMPUSHABITAT5U project to promote education and the acquisition of skills, as a way to optimize the involvement of the local population in the development process.
The following three measures are being undertaken, all of which involve the participation of the universities that make up CAMPUSHABITAT5U:
- Expansion of the Observatory initiative created for the rural socio-cultural development of Castellón to the set of territories associated with the CAMPUSHABITAT5U project: The observatory for the rural socio-cultural development of Castellón was created as a result of a university extension programme. It represents a permanent strategic institution developed to study the province’s socio-cultural realities, in order to obtain integrated, shared knowledge regarding the rural world by means of the broad network of relationships that have been created through university extension projects in the region.CAMPUSHABITAT5U has this precedent in mind, and wants to take advantage of a similar type of synergy in order to extend this approach to the set of territories that make up the provinces within the Valencian Community, and to involve the five universities in the alliance. This project aspires to create a single observatory focused on knowledge and scientific study of the rural world as well as the generation of reflection and debate in order to design future scenarios for sustainable development and integration that will have the ability to respond to new socio-economic trends.
- Recovery of traditional crafts and trades in the habitat of Valencia:
CAMPUSHABITAT5U takes as its starting point a proximity to the rural reality of the CV and to its cultural heritage, which must not be undervalued. Therefore, the campus places marked importance on the recovery of traditional crafts and trades in order to adapt them to new uses linked to local economic development projects. One means to this end involves generating tourism oriented towards authentic cultural activities in the Valencian Community’s rural interior areas, through the use of the resources in the territory linked to its traditions (art and craft schools, local museums, professional associations and guilds, among others). This is all conceived under a strategy for promotion of cultural heritage and generation of cultural identity. Traditional craftsmanship should incorporate input from other fields and disciplines as well regarding design, functionality and possibilities for innovation with new materials, in order to create products with an integrated vision and with commercial potential, while still maintaining their traditional roots. CAMPUSHABITAT5U is highly capable of terms of leading these activities, since for years the SUPV has organized the “Summer Course in Recovery of Traditional Handcraft Production in the Rural Environment”, which is now holding its 24th event.
- The Aras de los Olmos Local Development Laboratory:
The municipality of Aras de los Olmos in the interior of the province of Valencia, through collaboration with various parties including universities, is implementing a new model of local development. Its approach is based on the intensive use of knowledge in all of its dimensions to promote a new dynamic in this location with a high capacity for the creation of well-being.Specifically, several components come together in Aras de los Olmos, including the Universitat de València’s Astronomy Observatory, paleontological and archaeological sites where important discoveries have been made (researched by the corresponding university departments), and recovery of the agricultural environment of the Arab era through the creation of a botanical garden with medicinal plants. Other projects related to tourism in the interior are also underway, such as those involving sporting activities and the creation of a centre for the study of local development.