One of the most visible examples of the property crisis in Valencia, Sociopolis, is soon to be completed, The Valencian has discovered…
Almost 18 years have passed since the start of the Sociopolis project, a development in the La Torre area intended to change this part of the city. But, with the onset of the real estate crisis in 2008, the building had been stopped and the project had been abandoned.
Out of the 18 planned skyscrapers, only five were built and, since then, weeds and deterioration have taken over the site. The most emblematic symbol of this plan today is the concrete skeleton of the graffiti-covered tower that can be seen driving from the airport to the Alicante Highway.
This part of the city has become a ghost neighbourhood. What was meant to be a symbol of Valencia’s prosperity, with 2000 new homes being built, has become a symbol of degradation.
Almost two decades later, the Housing Department decided to reverse this trend. A strategic plan for the area has been drawn up, and work will begin again. When finished, 2,600 homes will be put on the market and most of them will be labelled “social” apartments. According to the plan, Sociopolis will be integrated into the old town of La Torre, bringing additional green space to the village.
The total cost of the project is estimated at €260m. Some funds are available in La Comunidad Valenciana, the Generalitat, but most of the money is coming from the European Union. The original project will be slightly modified in order to comply with the new European regulations requiring ‘sustainable space,’ a large number of green areas and the new ’15 minutes urban planning’ initiative in Valencia, which will ensure that the residents of La Torre have quick access to all the services they need.
Sociopolis was one of the most interesting architectural projects of that time. It was designed as a result of the collaboration of 13 architects, including world-renowned names such as Toyo Ito and Juan Herreros. The project had an interesting aim of integrating the Valencian Huerta into a sustainable urban context. Some unsuccessful attempts have been made to restart the building in 2012 and 2016, but this is the most serious to date.