The Zaragoza Alta Velocidad 2002 corporation was created in the year 2002, between the Ministry of Development (GIF and Renfe), Government of Aragon and Zaragoza City Council for the urban development of the areas around the former “El Portillo” station and around the new AVE or high-speed train station.
Within the framework of this strategic agreement, in 2003, Zaragoza City Council suggested that it would be advisable to prepare a productive specialisation programme for the two development areas (area around the former station, El Portillo and the new station, Delicias), included in this operation to favour the transition from the local productive fabric towards the so-called Knowledge-based Economy: the Milla Digital. The Master Plan for this project was presented in 2004 – prepared by McKinsey with the collaboration of Telefonica, Endesa, Siemens, Indra and Samsung-. This has been completed with the study conducted by the Engineering Research Institute of Aragon (13A) of the University of Zaragoza on the cutting-edge telecommunications network of the area and the domotic needs of the residential and tertiary uses and with the study conducted by the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) entitled “designing a new century public realm”, which defines singular and original urban design elements. With its study, the MIT shows that the new technologies and ideas of urban design provide opportunities to improve the economic competitiveness of Zaragoza, its social character and its unique cultural identity.
The Board of Directors of Zaragoza Alta Velocidad approved the objectives and strategies proposed for Milla Digital at its meeting of March 2005. The minutes of this meeting made known ZAV’s agreement with the Milla Digital programme master plan, expressed in the “adoption of the Milla Digital concept and strategies as a productive specialisation and promotion platform applicable to the areas managed by Zaragoza Alta Velocidad, in coordination with Expo 2008”. Its agreement was also expressed in other more specific aspects such as the incorporation of the appropriate technical requirements into the AC19 and AC44 conceptual planning for them to be equipped with the necessary communications capacity, the possible provision («always in agreement with the market’s receptiveness to these offers»), of advanced domotic systems in the houses of the area, and the installation, in coordination with Expo 2008, of the necessary specialised facilities, «especially in connection with providing telematic services to all the citizens, promoting the creation and location of companies, and fostering higher education and R&D activities». The incorporation of the urban design proposals made by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , in collaboration with Zaragoza City Council, was also agreed, «all of them within the framework of the urban development project that the Corporation must plan and construct».
An important milestone within the project development was the definite approval of the urban planning of area G1 9/1 (El Portillo) and of area G44 (AVE-Delicias neighbourhood). These planning schemes include, among other different elements, very advanced technical requirements regarding domotic equipment for houses and offices and regarding the general telecommunications infrastructure. The urban planning objectives are aimed at improving the Zaragoza’s integration and level within the European network of cities and its opening up to external activity flows, in order to:
The urban development projects of the two areas were commissioned to:
In October 2006, tenders were invited for the first urban development works of the Delicias Station Area. This work must be finished before the start of the Expo (June 2008).
Once the two areas have been developed, the public facilities and the residential and office buildings will be constructed.