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Luis Felipe Serrate: Without forgetting our roots, we are evolving towards a city of knowledge

Luis Felipe Serrate: Without forgetting our roots, we are evolving towards a city of knowledge

An interview with the mayor of Huesca, in Spain

Luis Felipe Serrate (Huesca, 1962) has a degree in Political Science and Sociology, and a Diploma in Social Work. He has been a councillor in the Huesca City Council since 2003, serving as Mayor in the 2010-2011, 2015-2019 mandates and currently.

He was Deputy and Spokesperson of the Socialist Group (PSOE) in the Provincial Council of Huesca in the period 2011-2015. He is also Secretary-General of the PSOE Local Association of Huesca.

Mr Mayor, how would you describe Huesca in your own words?

Huesca is a city for everyone, a city with a high quality of life, welcoming and inclusive, in which we work every day so that our neighbours have their rights assured.

We are a city with a strong historical identity that is also totally open to the future. Without forgetting our roots, we are evolving towards a city of knowledge that is committed to technology, innovation, research and uniqueness as a way of developing. And all of this also through providing adequate training for our current needs.

In addition, Huesca is a city that encourages public spaces and in which one of its most recognized neighbours is Nature - we are one of the Spanish cities with the most square meters of green areas per inhabitant.

What are the main economic sectors in your municipality and how have they been affected by the Covid crisis?

The crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all social sectors. From the City Council, we have worked from the first moment to help our neighbours to overcome the difficult times that we have lived through.

When the pandemic began, we acted quickly to provide solutions together with the different social entities to alleviate the social emergency caused by the confinement. Then we started a direct aid plan and different initiatives, such as discount vouchers for all kinds of purchases and services, in order to especially help small businesses in the city.

Now is the time to bet on recovery and innovation in order to continue creating jobs in the city and thus reactivate all economic sectors. In addition, with the arrival of new projects such as the construction of an Amazon Web Services data centre or the reopening of the Sancho Ramírez Barracks, we are sure that Huesca will continue to improve its assets and its economic situation.

Could you tell us more about the third major urban transformation of the city centre that has recently been proposed?

The start-up of the Harineras project is one of the most important news for our city in recent years. Years ago, the area was occupied by a flour factory, but for 20 years the site has been abandoned and paralyzed. Now, the construction of 1,300 homes in this area will order and give life to an area of ​​more than 8 hectares that is in the heart of the city.

Now, finally, we will see a real change for the city at all levels: image, physiognomy, mobility, etc. In addition, there will also be a response to one of the most common needs of the citizens: the need for housing.

But this third great urban transformation of the city is not only limited to Harineras, it is also accompanied by the recovery of other areas such as the site where the Textil Bretón company's warehouse was located or the future expansion of the train station.

Are there other projects or initiatives underway that have caused transformations in the economic, environmental and social matters of the city?

Huesca is currently immersed in a very interesting process that will improve the city in the future. It consists of urban changes and housing construction, the commitment to the environment, the implementation of various projects to create an innovative and digital city, the arrival of new projects and companies...

All these initiatives in which we are working, together with the promotion of other aspects such as outdoor sports or the recovery of emblematic historical spaces of the city, such as the old Seminary, will make Huesca an increasingly attractive city at all levels.

What is the importance of green heritage for your municipality?

Huesca is, without a doubt, a green city that is committed to the environment and is working hard to meet the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.

Today, we boast impressive data with a city that has 125 landscaped hectares and more than 180 green areas inventoried with more than 18,600 trees. Huesca has, therefore, more than 23 square meters of green area per inhabitant, when the range recommended by the WHO is 10-15 square meters per inhabitant.

Finally, how is the vaccination campaign going in your municipality?

During the last months we are seeing how vaccination is slowing down the pandemic and the number of cases of people affected by Covid-19 is decreasing among the social sectors that have been vaccinated. The arrival of vaccines is what is setting the rate of inoculation and from the City Council, we are collaborating in everything we can with the Department of Health of the Government of Aragon so that vaccination is carried out in the most efficient and rapid way possible.

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