A preview of the new Plaça de l'Ajuntament in Valencia - much greener and featuring an urban beach, Source: Ajuntament de Valencia

Turn the city’s central square fountain into a beach? Valencia’s on it

Turn the city’s central square fountain into a beach? Valencia’s on it

Two years after the Plaça de l'Ajuntament was redesigned to cut traffic away from it, and already a new metamorphosis is in the works

Yesterday, the Valencian authorities revealed the winning project proposal for the new transformation of the Spanish city’s central square - Plaça de l'Ajuntament. The jury had decided that the Re-Natura project best captures the administration’s set criteria for naturalization, inclusion and accessibility.

The most captivating among the proposed upgrades of the square is the suggested rethinking of the square large water fountain as an urban beach, where citizens will be able to go and cool their feet in the height of summer. To achieve this, the water body will feature a more accessible, flattened and sloping surrounding, which draws people to interact with the water. The plan is to transform the fountain from a “contemplative ornament” to an interactive feature of the urban landscape.

A serious contender for the European Green Capital 2024

The winning bid overall aims to preserve the integrity of the square and its triangular shape as it is. In fact, only two years ago Plaça de l'Ajuntament underwent renovation works, which saw its conversion to mostly pedestrian space.

Mayor Joan Ribó, who was at the presentation, recalled that before 2015, the space in the square reserved for private vehicles was 57%, while today it is only 18%, and pedestrians enjoy the remaining 82%. In addition, before the closure of the square to traffic, 10,000 cars passed each day, while today thousands of people walk through it. He concluded that the design of the future square will be "quality, modern and, at the same time, respectful of its past".

With that, he meant that the urban space would continue to be the focal point of the major city events and celebrations, such as the famous Fallas festival – a cultural icon of Valencia.

Another thing that will change, in line with the naturalization requirement, is the number of trees, which is expected to go upwards to create a veritable green oasis in the city centre.

The announcement of the new square re-designing is by no means random as the Spanish city is one of the two finalists for the 2024 European Green Capital title (the other is Cagliari, on the Italian island of Sardinia). The winner will be announced on 27 October.

The execution of the project would likely take between 12 and 15 months, plus 6 months for drawing up the remodelling, which means that it can be completed at some point in 2024.



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