Zaragoza: Comité Internacional de Expertos

Hacia la Sociedad del Conocimiento

English Version

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  1. Executive Summary
  2. Context
    • 2.1.Growth, productive structure and technological change
    • 2.2. Technological policies
      • 2.2.1. eEurope
      • 2.2.2. Españ
      • 2.2.3. Initiatives in Aragon
    • 2.3. The techno-city
    • 2.4. Strategic analysis
      • 2.4.1. Diagnosis of Ebropolis
      • 2.4.2. Other documents
  3. Saragossa´´s project
    • 3.1. City model
    • 3.2. Delay, opportunities, differentiation
    • 3.3. Our vision
    • 3.4. General objective of the Plan
    • 3.5. Strategic objectives
    • 3.6. Principles
    • 3.7. Working areas
    • 3.8. Acting programs
    • 3.9. Tools
    • 3.10. Planning
  4. Specific actions
    • 4.1. Electronic City Hall
    • 4.2. Digital Mile
    • 4.3. Citizens Wireless Intranet
    • 4.4. Free software
    • 4.5. Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation
  • Appendix: Digital Mile


A process under way

The aim of this document is to express the general criteria that the new municipal government of Saragossa wants to apply in relation with new technologies, the economic promotion of the city and the advance towards Knowledge Society.

These are concepts and ideas collected through an informal debate of several months in which a relative wide group of people has taken part (professionals, businessmen, specialists, technology entrepreneurs or simply hackers1). Many of them come from free software communities who have added to the debate the invaluable teaching of showing that a cooperative, selforganized, unselfish and, why not?, amusing work constitutes a source of creativity and knowledge generally unbeatable, as it can be realised every day in the world of software and it is worthwhile testing in other fields The document is also the reflection of the commitment made to the electorate by the parties which has formed the municipal government after the elections of May 2003 and is inspired also in the strategic reflection made in this field by different institutions and entities.

In any case, this is the beginning of a process that pretends to be open, shared and able to generate its own mechanisms of correction. This preliminary work will be enhanced in the next months by the contributions of different specialized technical helps, the opinions of the newly created Sectorial Board of Science and Technology with a wide representation of citizens, and the wisdom of a Committee of International Experts. All this should culminate in the passing 1 This is a good opportunity to rehabilitate the use of the word hacker in its true meaning, which has no relation with computer criminals usually refered to with that name Saragossa towards Knowledge Society by the Municipal Plenary Session of an action plan for Saragossa related to Knowledge Society. In this process that is pretended to be developed along the last four-month period of the year 2003, some of the proposals raised here could be modified. It exists also the possibility of adding other ones not envisaged here, not only coming from the City Hall but also from other agents.

Ricardo Cavero Arcéiz

City Councilor of Science and Technology
Saragossa City Council
September 2003


The city of Saragossa -620.000 inhabitants, located in the north-east of Spain and capital of the Autonomous Community of Aragon- begins the XXI century with great expectations. Its good quality of life, low unemployment level, a considerable degree of social cohesion and important projects of urban transformation (high speed train, new ring roads and accesses, the Expo 2008, the logistic platform, construction of thousand of state-subsidized houses, new transport networks with subway and tram, etc.), constitute a solid base to boost a new era of growth and welfare.

We must take advantage of this boost to develop all the potential that Saragossa has in the sector of advanced business services, insufficiently represented in its present productive structure. That would allow to create skilled jobs, one of the lacks in the labor market of the city.

To carry out that strategy of economic diversification it is advisable that Saragossa could adopt an adequate profile as city technologically innovative, to increase its national and international projection and to have more capacity to attract investment and talent. This objective matches the strategic advice that identifies that opportunity as included in the advance with strong determination towards an Information or Knowledge Society.

The urban transformation that Saragossa is experimenting is also an opportunity to outline new spatial configurations that cities will adopt in the information age, not only in houses but also in places for working and leisure. The process of change that the globalized society is living opens an age of new citizen rights. The information technologies can contribute to make more efficient, transparent and shared governments, and also that people can have a bigger capacity of social interaction and professional development. Anyway, 5 these are objectives of general interest which are not implicit in technology but in the use that we can do of that technology.

Objectives and actions

Saragossa faces this process of social and economic transformation with the will to turn into one of the European cities leading that inevitable transition towards a digitalized economy. With that aim, it has been proposed the launching of an action program to develop Knowledge Society with the following main objectives:

  • Carry out the establishment of innovating companies, to boost economic growth and the creation of skilled jobs.
  • Use of new technologies to give more efficient public services.
  • Guarantee to every citizen, entity, company and institution the full exercise of the right of access to communication networks.
  • Take advantage of the technologic change to develop a new urbanism to consolidate the city and create economic opportunities.
  • Turn Saragossa into a national and international reference thanks to its attitude facing the phenomenon of innovation and new technologies.

To achieve those important objectives it is proposed an action program formed by four parts:

  • ZGZ (Zaragoza) Connects: measures oriented to turn into reality and guarantee the right of access of every citizen to electronic services and the Internet
  • Digital ZGZ: measures adressed to create opportunities for business investment in the field of technology and to develop urban models encouraging innovation
  • Open ZGZ: creation of a “technological environment” able to boost transparency and the inclusion of every social group, with an integral electronic Administration as main driving force
  • ZGZ Networks: mechanisms of cooperation with other cities and with many other institutions and entities of any kind in order to multiply the projection of the city and the transformative power of the projects.

From the group of initiatives proposed, the fundamental weight with regard to impact and appeal focus on five remarkable actions:

  • Electronic Administration
  • Digital Mile
  • Citizens Wireless Intranet
  • Free Software
  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation

Finally, these organizational organs will be established to start all the measures included in this document:

  • Councilorship of Science and Technology
  • Sectorial Board of Science and Technology
  • International Committee of Experts
  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation
  • Municipal Telecommunications Company


2.1.- Growth, productive structure and technological change

The city of Saragossa begins this XXI century with great expectations: its good quality of life, low unemployment level, a considerable degree of social cohesion and important projects of urban transformation that have been (or are going to) put into practice (high speed train, new ring roads and accesses, the Expo 2008, the logistic platform, construction of thousand of state-subsidized houses, new transport networks with subway and tram etc.), constitute a solid base to boost a new era of growth and welfare.

Nevertheless, its limited national and international projection and the insufficient tertiary sector of its productive structure hinder the aspirations of the city to turn into a European reference among medium size cities and for attracting investment and talent.

In particular, the limited representation of the sector of advanced business services have resulted in the paradox that Saragossa has to turn to foreign workers to occupy low skilled jobs whereas many of its graduates are pushed to emigrate by lack of enough professional opportunities. The statistics on hiring of the INEM (National Institute for Employment) reflect that in the year 2002 this phenomenon is also reproduced in the exchange of workers between Aragon and the rest of Spain: there has been a negative figure of 1,842 people/year in high skilled employments; on the other hand, in low skilled jobs 7,696 people arrived from other regions of the country2.

Some economic researches show that, comparing Aragon (Saragossa province concentratres 76% of the services sector of the region) and the ten wealthiest regions of Europe, the main differences, -reaching 19 per cent of 2 José Antonio Báguena in “Heraldo de Aragón” ( August 31, 2003). disadvantage in Aragon- takes place in the sector of business services3. It is important to stress that the experts consider that this sector of increasing importance in the economies of Europe and the USA is characterized by a high capacity to create steady and skilled jobs and with high levels of female workers. Precisely these three features represent the main deficiencies of the labor market in Saragossa.

A research study carried out recently for the BBVA Foundation by professors Cuadrado Roura and Iglesias from the University of Alcalá de Henares, estimates that Spain will create between 1,04 and 1,56 millions of high skilled jobs until the year 2006. The majority of these jobs in companies from the services sector. According to this research paper, the creation of skilled employments in the industrial sector in the same period, will be ten times lesser.

Undoubtedly, the industrial specialization in Saragossa and its metropolitan area is a valuable active that must be kept and improved as a driving force to create wealth, but also rises doubts on the possible exhaustion of the present model of economic growth of the city taking into account the gap between the productive structure of Saragossa and the referential cities of the world, and the unsustainability of any way of growth not based on an increase of productivy obtained through innovation and technological development. If an energic correction policy is not applied, that gap could increase in the next years considering also the changes that the most advanced economies of the world are adopting.

That process of economic, social and cultural change is controlled by the establishment of a new technological paradigm that professor Manuel Castells, emeritus professor of the University of California at Berkeley, calls “informationalism”. According to his world-known researches, we find ourselves in a transitional period, with different degrees of advance according to the countries, going from the paradigm of industrialism (characterized by the factory, the big company, bureacracy, centralized services and urban processes at a big scale) to the informationalism, with recognizable features such as the companynetwork, alliances, individualized work and a cultural kaleidoscope. All these factors form part of a new social structure called Network Society.

One of the main forces acting as a catalyst of that change -referred for others as the establishment of an Information or Knowledge Society- are the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), with the Internet as the greatest exponent due to its extraordinary power as tool to create new ways of personal, social, scientific and business relationships. Even though it exists a certain academic discussion on the importance of its impact, it is generally admited that the ICT´s are having a multiplier effect on the productivity of the economies where they are introduced and this could be one of the main reasons to explain the important growth that the USA keeps over the European Union from more than a decade.

2.2.- Technological policies

From the end of the nineties, many countries, regions and cities of nearly every continent has implemented a specific plan to speed up the change to the Information Society because they understand that this attitude will guarantee a competitive advantage providing their citizens with new technological skills and opportunities for new businesses.

2.2.1.- eEurope

A fundamental reference in this field are the actions put into effect by the European Union from the year 2000 forming part of the program eEurope. In that date the European Council of Lisbon decided that the EU should aim at turning by the year 2010 into the most dinamic knowledge-based economy in the world.

The first of the action plans (eEurope 2002) put the emphasis on the extensión of the Internet, starting from three objectives:

  • A cheaper, faster and safer Internet
  • Investment on training and human resources
  • Boost the use of the Internet

On the other hand, the second action plan (eEurope 2005) sets out a more ambitious and sophisticated action field. The aim of eEurope 2005 is “to “create a favorable frame for private investment and to create new employments, boosting productivity, modernising the public services and offering to everybody the possibility of taking part in a universal information society. So, eEurope prentends to encourage the safety of services, applications and contents based on an easily available broadband infrastructure”.

To achieve those objectives the plan expresses the need that in the year 2005 Europe should rely on:

  • · modern online public services
  • · electronic administration
  • · electronic learning services
  • · health electronic services
  • · dynamic environment of electronic businesses

2.2.2.- Españ

That European boost has given as a result In Spain the passing by the Government of a plan of promotion of the Information Society -Info XXI- that began with very ambitious aims but that did not give the expected results, partly by a lack of adequate instruments of management.

For the devising of the second plan of promotion of the Information Society, the Science and Technology Office relied on the advice of a commission of experts -the so-called Soto Commission- which issued a final report with suggestions from which it can be stressed that the failure of the initiatives on this subject has been provoked by not dealing with the problem of “how to achieve that things could happen at the pace wished”. To try to avoid this, the Special Study Commission for the Development of the Information Society proposed among other things that new plans should be realistic, rely on very important political leadership, an organization devoted and endowed with enough means and a good plan of communication. Among specific actions, the Commission highlights the importance of training and electronic Administration. Based on the conclusions obtained from the first plan and the advices of the Soto Commission, the Council of Ministers passed in July 2003 the plan Españ, a program of actions for the years 2004 and 2005 with a budget of approximately 1,029 millions of euros.

Españ considers these three main points:

  1. To reinforce contents and services encouraging the demand.
  2. To improve the accesibility in the widest sense, offering points of public access and making an effort to train and broadcast the advantages of the Information Society.
  3. To connect small and medium size companies, increasing its business relations through the Internet with the aim of having access to the services of the Society of Information, with the resulting improvement in productivity and economic growth.

To achieve these three big objectives, the plan outlines six specific action programs:

  • - This is the first stage on the introduction and boosting of the Electronic Administration in the General Administration of the Nation.
  • - Investment in information technologies (EIT) in public schools of Spain in three big fields: infrastructures, facilities for teachers and contents.
  • - Program to integrate in the information technologies and Information Society those small and medium size Spanish companies of the least integrated sectors.
  • - Search for integrating in the Information Society through two action lines those citizens not connected to the Internet: creation of telecentres (centres of free access to the Internet with different added functions); training actions channelled through a foundation.
  • - It is divided into two actions: (digitalization, spreading and exploitation of the Spanish historic heritage); and, which includes other initiatives related to digital contents.
  • - comunicació A spreading campaign developed through three big points: creation of a trademark, informative campaigns to highlight the advantages of the Information Society and campaigns to widespread the measures of the program.

2.2.3.- Initiatives in Aragon

In contrast with what has happened in other Spanish autonomous communities, in Aragon has not been global plans to promote the Information Society, even though from different departments of the regional Government have been carried out in the last years interesting initiatives in the field of electronic administration (especially in the educative field), widening of broadband networks and business dynamization with the initiative Walqa as main example. Thanks to Walqa new projects such as the Technological Park and the Internet Excellence Centre have been developed in Huesca.

With reference to the City Council of Saragossa, the main actions carried out in this field have been the development of a municipal web ( with a wide informative content and which has obtained the acknowledgment at a national level for its quality (even though it does not have a transactional character because a system of digital signature has not been introduced yet), and the program Zaragoza @ccesible, with the establishment of more than two hundred points of free access to the Internet in the streets or in different municipal departments, and also different actions related to the training of citizens in new technologies.

2.3.- The techno-city

These institutional policies come in addition to others initiated in the 1980´s and oriented to the creation of technopoles following the success of the Californian Silicon Valley and which go beyond the idea of scientific and technologic parks to turn into true cities especialized in technological activities.

These public initiatives have had an unequal result, but it can be affirmed that, in general, they have had a relevant contribution to the international promotion of the cities and territories which have worked in that direction, many of them turned into role models studied in the whole world.

In view of the implementation of new policies on this subject, it is convenient to add to the experience obtained by the forerunners, some phenomenons that can have a direct influence on this kind of actions:

  • Increasing prominence of cities and metropolitan conglomerates as competitive and innovative agents. Due to the homogenization of the economic, financial and budgetary policies, the local factors are those which can establish differences as elements to atract investment (this phenomenon is specially marked in the European Union). Besides, big cities are showing to be the perfect place for activities related to innovation and businness creativity because these processes are closely related to the important social interaction produced in urban areas.
  • Importance of factors such as identity and associative wealth as key elements to adopt the new technological paradigm.
  • Use of technological projects as a tool to regenerate impoverished urban areas and keeping productive activities in the urban area of the traditional city.
  • Coming of the digital divide derived from a resistence/difficulty of wide social strata to adopt new technological forms.
  • Development of new civic rights (and the corresponding obligations for the public administrations) in relation to new information technologies which affects the participation in the public life, the transparency of the institutions, the electronic Administration, the access to networks and safeness and privacity of communications through the Internet.
  • Inrush of new technological phenomena (such as free software or wireless networks (Wi-Fi), linked to the actions of a new kind of social activism and urban communities.

2.4.- Strategic analisis

2.4.1.- Diagnosis of Ebropolis

Part of the reflections and suggestions included in this document are based on the conclusions reached by a wide group of experts called during the year 2002 for Ebropolis, the Association for the Strategic Development of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area, forming part of the Working Group on New Technologies. Ebropolis is an entity headed by the City Council of Saragossa which counts on a wide institutional, social and business participation.

This work has enriched considerably the panorama of tools of strategic planification to undertake an action program from the City Council of Saragossa related to Knowledge Society.

That document issued at the end of the year 2002, represents the implementation of one of the action lines defined in the Strategic Plan of Saragossa. The Plan8, passed in 1998 with a big social and political consensus, points out the main lines that should mark the development of the city. Among the objectives appear, forming part of an extent battery of advices, to boost “the attractive of Saragossa as an idoneous environment for firms, with criteria of innovation, total quality and environmental sustainability“, “encourage the incorporation of new technologies to society and in particular to human resources” and “dispose of a good level in infrastractures linking markets, firms, centres of technology and research, productive services and surrounding places

The Working Group on New Technologies and Knowledge Society was constituted in the spring of 2002 to develop one of those master points. The Working Group is formed by about fifty experts and professionals of the city coming from sectors such as technology, administration, education, telecommunications, finances and media. This work starts designing the strategy to “incorporate Saragossa and its metropolitan area to Knowledge Society in a balanced way, taking advantage of this opportunity as a tool of economic and social development“.

The debates of this Working Group gave as a result an SWOT analysis (strenghts-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) and an advice on actions to reach the objective above mentioned. With reference to the diagnosis, the conclusions were these:

-Potential in human capital and formative centres
-Geostrategic situation of Saragossa: excellent life quality an systems of communications and infrastructures within the North corridor
-Availability of potential resouces suc as land, water and energy for the creation of Technological Parks
-Development of linked fields:logistic or advanced services of transport (High Speed Train…)
-Firms and initiatives in ICT with contrasted experience and referential projects.
-There is neither coordinated project form the public administrations nor enough public resources.
-Lack of a basic structure and coordination of the sector:excessive weight of individualism
-Ignorance of the demands of individuals and firms
-It does not exixt a system to boost a minimum and continuous training of citizens and a rapprochement to the Internet
-Inadequate products for old people
-Lack of wokable solutions in the market to make more dynamic and boost the small and medium size firms in the use of new technologies
-Low connection between University and firms which makes difficult a t ransfer of information to people in general
-Lack of existence of a strong audiovisual sector to promote the development of quality contents in the fields of leisure and entertainment
-Lack of institutional support and normative development to the display of adequate networks and infrastructures
-That Saragossa can dispose of a technological profile as one of its identity marks in the XXI century, taking advantage of the boost of the process Pro-Expo 2008
-Take advantage of the driving force behind new communications, logistic and recycle activities and infrasturctures to boost the firms of the sector and attract new ones
-That the sorroundings of Delicias intermodal station, El Portillo area and the place of the Expo 2008 could be multifunctional spaces favoring the development of a technological park
-An intensive use of new technologies to improve public services for the citizens
-Social changes and the increase in the use or the electronic commerce
-Putting into effect the National Centre of Professional and Occupational Training in Saragossa, specialized in New Teechnologies and Information, and Artistic expressions
-Passive attitude before technological challenges
-Lack of specialization and collaboration between companies to compete in a global market
-Fragmentation of efforts, dispersion of objectives and compartmentalization of policies in New Technologies on the public institutions´side.
-Lack of incentives and rigidity in the administrative processes can accumulate an irreversible technological delay in the transition to the digital economy of knowledge.
-Lack of a specific plan adequate to deal with the necessities in New Technologies of the poputalion of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area.
-Lack of an innovative culture which provokes the lost of opportunities in the creation of projects related to New Technologies

On the other hand, the advices related to the measures to be accomplished point out to five different fields:


  • Boost the R & D & I (innovation) of Aragonese companies in collaboration with the University of Saragossa and private technological centres of R & D without profit motivation in mind, including the participation in European projects.
  • Promote the use of the Internet in public administrations of Aragon as element of relation with the citizens and social dynamization, to improve public services and the establishment of knowledge society.
  • Administrative coordination to define a plan to speed up the authorizations of the design of broad band telecommunication infrastructures.
  • Boost, regulate and keep procedures to facilitate the investment in the EIT sector
  • Creation of a forum for dialogue and coordination of all the public administrations related to Knowledge Society.
  • Integrate in a single portal the on-line services of the public administrations in Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area, which can offer services with common interface, to facilitate to the user the access and relation with public institutions.
  • Promote a specific program for Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area for the development of new technologies of information. The program will select advanced projects in different areas (networks, social impact, electronic administration, business encouragement) to endow the city with a technologic profile that the arrival of the High Speed Train, the logistic platform PLAZA, and the Expo 2008 and other infrastructures can help to spread and give credibility.
  • Organize and coordinate the information points of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area to improve the access of firms to helps and subsidies through campaigns to raise public awareness and information. That will promote the development of R&D, of products and services, and will contribute to the expansion of business inside and outside the area.


  • Carry out informative campaigns on the use of information and knowledge technology using an image close to the daily life of the citizens.
  • Lay out a permanent offer of basic training in the use of new technologies for all the citizens, increasing computer culture from the first courses of formal education arriving to the sectors of population without experience in the use of new technologies.
  • Promote the use of new technologies of information and the access to the Internet of social organizations and indviduals through the existent social fabric.
  • Boost the creation of a network of public and free access points to the Internet.


  • Carry out in Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area advanced projects in the use of the EIT organized by public institutions in collaboration with research centres of the city and specialized firms.
  • Encourage companies to improve and innovate their business practices making use of the ICT´s.
  • Take advantage of the potential of the sector through systems of coordination and/or common projects to generate synergies, encouraging sectorial platforms oriented to the ICT?s, with the participation of the administration and the new technology firms.
  • Support business initiatives to encourage the development of the sector and its associationism. Promote the development of products and services to export.
  • Encourage concrete applications of new technologies in public and private organizations to get a bigger efficiency.


  • Promotion from the public sector in collaboration with financial institutions of the creation of capital-risk societies for the small and medium size firms specialized in high technology.
  • Develop specific plans to integrate the most impoverished sectors of society in Knowledge Society.
  • Create platforms to encourage the participation and integration of disabled people in Knowledge Society.
  • To lay out experimental projects to boost the citizens participation in public life through the ICT´s.
  • To create interactive leisure and culture programs in the civic centres (youth, old people, toy libraries, etc.) to help a ludic use of new technologies in the social sectors with more difficulties to accede to them.


  • To promote the creation of a “City of Knowledge” in the new multifunctional urban areas made available by the intermodal station and the old El Portillo railway station, encouraging the development of technological centres with special emphasis on the sector of contents and audivisual production.
  • Program to attract investment in the field of software development, taking advantage of new urban spaces, the creation of business parks and communication facilities.
  • Endow the Expo 2008 area with high technology infrastructures. Link its development to the rest of initiatives in this field and define the “post-Expo” as a space for Knowledge Society.
  • To promote and extend as soon as possible a telecommunications network plan in Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area, paying special attention to industrial areas.

The conclusions of the Working Group on New Technologies and Knowledge Society which form part of the Strategic Plan for the City, represent a valuable work that the City Council of Saragossa regards as an essential action plan that is going to be proposed. In this sense, it must be pointed out that the work of Ebropolis provides enough elements of diagnosis and strategic reflection to present a first action plan of Saragossa in the Information Society, moreover taking into account that the Parliament of Aragon has supported unanimously the conclusions of this forum.

2.4.2.- Other documents

Besides, that stage of the analysis relies on other elements that enrich even more the strategic vision of the needs and opportunities that Saragossa has in the Age of Information. Among them, the Integratic 2003 Plan , a strategic plan to incoporate the small and medium companies of Aragon to the Information Society and that has been carried out by the business association CEPYMEAragon.

Even though this plan is logically oriented towards the situation and specific necesities of companies, it contains very interesting elements of general strategic reflection. In this sense, it is remarkable the appeal made to the fundamental role that public Administration must play for the establishment of new technologies in the whole of society.

Another forum that habitually is worried by questions of the Information Society is the Economic and Social Council of Aragon, which from 1998 devotes in its annual report a section to analize the state-of-the-art in that field. Besides, the CESA published in the year 2002 what probably can be considered as the most complete sociological study about the Information Society in the Autonomous Community.

With a more sectorial perspective, the own City Council of Saragossa organizes an annual conference on electronic Administration which has allowed to create a knowledge base and a wide interest among many of the municipal employees.


3.1.- City model

The present government team of the City Council of Saragossa headed by Mr. Juan Alberto Belloch considers as one of the strategic aims of his term in office to encourage a qualitative jump to provide the city with a bigger national and international promotion, and also the ability to attract talent and investments to the emergent economic sectors.

Saragossa wants to have the characteristics of big cities - creativity, innovation, capacity to prescribe-, but tha goal must be achieved guaranteeing at the same time the preservation of a compact and revitalizing - not exceeded by the sprawl that threatens to ruin and impoverish irreversibly the old quarterecologically sustainable, with high levels of safety for the citizens, efficient public services and a firm social unity.

To achieve that aim, one of the fundamental tools must be to endow the city with an outstanding innovative and technological profile. Saragossa needs to boost in a decided way policies for the Information Society. Doing this, the city will reinforce its change process towards an advanced tertiary sector of its economy -key to approach the productive levels of the wealthiest regions of Europe, as it has been pointed out before-, creating qualified employments and opening new ways of economic growth. Besides that, Saragossa will find a great opportunity to develop the city model that pretends thanks to the compatibility between new intensive productive activities of knowledge and residential uses.

That urban integration will allow a complete consolidation and regeneration of the city, which will approach us to the aristotelic ideal of the perfect city; a city with a size which does not prevent that everybody can know each other and can take part in the forum. Today, the Internet and the telematic networks make possible that ideal model of participation and interrelation among all the citizens.

Saragossa is a city with more than two thousand years of history which has passed different moments of splendor in different ages of its long and productive past. In the last fifty years its population has doubled. But that economic and social dynamism maybe has not come with a proportional increasing in its relevance in the Spanish and European context -cultural, business and technologic relevance, in other words as an innovating area-, and all this has happened precisely in a moment in which the competence among cities to attract the attention of big firms, training centres and cultural creators has increased. This is the reason why it exists in the city a certain consensus about the need to achieve a bigger projection and presence in the world of the XXI century that also includes the Internet.

3.2. Delay, opportunity, differentiation

In any case, the change from industrialism to informationalism is going to take place. This is not an option. The choice is between passively assist to that inevitable process or try to get advantages from a fast adaptation through the utmost exploitation of the resources of the city. For the first time we are before a socioeconomic model in which the main raw material, knowledge, can be generated in an endogenous way. A proactive attitude will allow to generate economic opportunities and prominence. Also, why not, this will give the opportunity to minimize the negative effects (new ways of social exclusion, increase of social differences, restriction to personal freedom due to the abuse of technological capabilities, etc.).

At the same time, that prominence of municipal projects in the field of science and technology will contribute to create a new trademark for the city and will help the people of Saragossa to perceive the new course taken to a more open, sophisticated and participative city, maybe even towards a new “golden age” as those described by Peter Hall in his history of the cities in civilization.

Nevertheless, it is important to admit that Saragossa is going to incorporate itself relatively late to this new type of urban policies that the most dynamic cities of the world are already applying. That involves the indirect advantage of having the possibility to accelerate the learning process through the analysis of the experiences obtained by other cities (a rigurous task of benchmarking that in any case is essential). But in short, that delay means that the city should make an enormous extra effort , that will have to rack its brains searching for new ways to shorten as soon as possible the time wasted.

In view of this situation, it would be advisable to search for some differential elements for the local project, and also to support this with the best possible resources that can be found in the own socioeconomic context. In that sense and taking into account the debate that informally is being developed in the last months, one of those distinguishing marks of the innovating Saragossa that wants to be boosted must be the active implication in the whole process of citizens, collectives, institutions and companies which have been working separately from a long time. An implication that means an active protagonism of society, subsidiarity by the municipal Administration, permanent participation and capacity to evaluate the different initiatives.

Besides, the municipal policies in this field should be based on the strong assets that the city has to tackle this process of change: a University with a substantial level in technological fields and a group of companies of the ICT sector very innovative but burdened by the scarce weight of the local demand. It is important to highlight the existence in Saragossa of a notable group of welltrained professionals - specially in sciences, biomedicine and technologythanks to the Univesity of Saragossa and other private and public educative institutions. Likewise, the city has a number -reduced but brilliant - of successful entrepreneurs in fields such as telecommunications, software, Internet, multimedia or domotics.

Apart from that, it is pretended specially to take advantage of the boost that Saragossa will experiment in land communications with the arrival of the high speed train Madrid - Saragossa - Barcelona -an extra incentive for attracting investment-, and also the urban transformation that the city will experiment with that important infrastructure, directed toward advanced services and the technological sector.

Lastly, it is also important to search for specific elements in the own evolution of technology to provide Saragossa with the opportunity to take in time the last train of progress: Wi-Fi wireless networks, PLC technology (access to the Internet through electric networks), free software for public administrations, distributed computing systems (GRID), etc.

All this forming part of the initiative eEurope of the European Union and the new national program Españ, which offer interesting opportunities of cooperation and funding for local projects. And especially in close collaboration with the projects launched by the Government of Aragon with which there is many points in common related to the general objectives and concrete initiatives.

3.3.- Our vision

“Saragossa pretends to be a model of advanced city where new ways of working, learning and social relationships in the Age of Information can be carried out and experimented”.

The economies of the world are living an intense process of digitalization of unknown limits yet. Thinkers such as Jeremy Rifkin dare to suppose that the dematerialisation of the economy will be such that in the middle of this century only a 5% of the adult population will be enough to keep working the traditional industrial field.

That transition towards a light and networked economy in which the economies of scale will be replaced by economies of speed, is already provoking deep transformations in the organization of firms, labor relations and the role of work in the life of people. One of the most suggestive aspects of this emergent model is related to the changes implied in the physical configuration of the companies, possibly more interested in their physic and telematic accessibility that in geographical location. That rises important questions related to the organization of the social and working life in the cities, without being possible to ignore that those changes, added to those originated by the new capacities of domotic technology, will tend to modify our houses and the use that we make of them.

Also, it is a reasonable supposition that the transformation will not affect only to our way of working and living, but also to our social relationships and to our way of acting as citizens: the access to services, the participacion in public life, the relationship with other people. In this sense, the contribution of telematic networks creating a new space of social relationship, a new virtual city, is more evident. The cities will not be gauged only for the state of the streets and the quality of the houses; they will be gauged and judged also by the density and wealth of their local infosphere. And evidently, by the efficacity of the public services which will not be understood without a telematic provision that maybe before what we expect will be the only channel of access for many of them.

Those three big fields of the change -new digital urbanism, virtual community of citizens and electronic public services- constitute the three fundamental questions in which Saragossa wants to act to build its own model of city in Knowledge Society. Because, in accordance with the reflection of Mr. William J. Mitchell in City of bits, the main challenge are not infrastructures or contents, but “imagine and create digital environments for the lives and communities that we want to have“.

3.4.- General objective of the Plan

Saragossa pretends to become in the year 2010 one of the European cities with a bigger development in the Information Society and one of the most dynamic economies based on an intensive use of knowledge“.

Why the year 2010? Because this is the referential year that the European Commission has marked to reach the strategic objective agreed on the European Council of Lisbon in March 2000 : in that date, the European Union has to become the most dynamic knowledge-based economy of the world.

Saragossa must assume its own responsibilities to reach that objective that we share not only as Europeans, but that is specially adequated for the needs and expectations of our city at the present moment. This compromise implies an extraordinary effort of adaptation due to the relative delay that Spain accumulates in this field. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the reward will be very important in terms of competitivity of our companies, quality of public services, personal development of our citizens and European projection.

To that global definition of the objective to reach as final aim of these actions it can be superposed another “point of view” expressed maybe in a closest way presenting what Saragossa should become by the year 2010:

“A city where people connects from any place, wireless, to accede to any municipal public service and to relate to groups of citizens with which they share specific interests. A city where people understand technology and use it for their own benefit. A city with powerful innovative companies which sell their products in Spain and in the whole world. A city that houses the headquarters of important firms of advanced international services. A city with a first-rank University in the fields of research and development, with graduates who find multiple career opportunities in Saragossa. A city known by its enterprising spirit and technological concerns and which attracts the best talents of Spain and other countries

3.5.- Strategic objectives

  • To achieve the creation and establishment of innovative firms, especially in advanced services for companies and new technologies, to help the economic growth of the city and the creation of skilled jobs.
  • Use of new technologies to render more efficient public services and to establish an integral electronic Administration oriented to the users participation and transparency.
  • Guarantee to every citizen, entity, company and institution the right of access to the communication networks, not only to its physical display, but also to its capacity, cost and knowledge necessary for a good use.
  • Take advantage of the inevitable process of technological change, to develop a model of integrated city, with a new urbanism to regenerate impoverished areas, create new business opportunities, encourage participation, guarantee environmental sustainability and fight against any kind of social exclusion.
  • Turn Saragossa into a national and international reference for its attitude facing the phenomenon of innovation in new technologies and to acquire the capacity to attract talent from other places.

3.6.- Principles

In policies of medium and long-term, not only is important the definition of the estrategic aims and the general objectives. With the passing of time takes on special significance criteria and values which give internal consistency to the projects. We propose for the policy of innovation and technological development of Saragossa the following acting values:

  • Leadership. The Municipal Government of Saragossa headed by its mayor Mr. Juan Alberto Belloch, considers the actions included in this document as one of the estrategic pieces of the project of city and assures the political and personal support to the highest level not only in but out of Saragossa. This leadership will turn into the estrategic way of the project, the approval of concrete agreements, the acquisition of the necessary funds taking into account the possibilities of the city and the compromise to its spreading and sustainability in time.
  • Participation. In the network society towards we are addresing to, local governments -and public administrations in general- have the limited capacity to produce long lasting transformations in the social fabric. The City Council of Saragossa assumes the leadership to boost this process of change, but understands that only will be a success if it is obtained the active and permanent implication of all the agents concerned. The participation is not conceived as a help, but as a right to co-manage a transformation that will affect to every citizen, to evaluate the results really obtained and also to use the opportunities offered by technology to improve the conventional systems of participation of citizens in public matters.
  • Service to the citizens. Technology is important but only a tool. The aim of the plan must be to make useful things for the people of Saragossa. An orientation towards a service to the citizen is the best guarantee to help the knowledge and use of new technologies and encourage business development.
  • Cooperation with the University. No action with the idea of increasing the innovative capacity of institutions and firms can last in time without the essential help of the scientific and technologic knowledge that the University of Saragossa can provide. After more than four centuries of existance, its relation with the city is not yet all the close and productive that should be. The project to place the city in the vanguard of Knowledge Society provides, -and demands at the same time- the opportunity for Saragossa to use and help to evaluate the knowledge stored up by public University. The permanent and direct cooperation with the University of Saragossa and with other educative entities of high rank- wil be one of the identifying marks of this project.

3.7.- Working areas


From the point of view of the adressees and/or beneficiaries of the actions that should be put into practice to carry out the objectives of this project, the following acting fields should be considered.


The City Council of Saragossa considers that it is the responsibility of the public administration to guarantee equal opportunities for all the citizens to accede to new telecommunication networks and to know how to use them. In other words, for the right of access to be a daily reality in the shortest period of time.

In view of the increasing importance of networks for many personal, social and professional activities, the evidence that wide sectors of the population cannot or do not want to accede to the Internet and telematic networks, rise a problem of digital exclusion which can bring out social and economic risks. Public institutions should mobilize to fight against that digital divide. At the same time, the need of the city to rely on good communication infrastractures is essential to guarantee competitivity.

Specific objective:

Guarantee to all the people of Saragossa the right to accede and use telematic networks.

Electronic services

The establishment of an integral electronic Administration has turned into a necessity for avoiding the city to drop behind with respect to the strong impulse that the e-Government is taking not only in a European level but also in different Spanish administrations. Also represents an opportunity to modernize some administrative processes of the City Council and also to envisage in a proactive way its introduction in the field of public services taking advantage of all the existent technological channels.

Likewise, the process of technological change implies its exploitation to improve mechanisms of citizens´ participation and institutional transparency.

Specific objective:

Establish an integral, shared, transparent and accesible electronic Administration for all the citizens, and promote an intensive use of new technologies in public services, especially from applications developed by the scientific-business fabric of the city.

Business promotion

The diversification of the local economy of Saragossa through a biggest presence of the advanced services sector is essential to create skilled jobs and to increase productivity in an environment more and more competitive and global.

To get this, it is necessary to create the objective conditions to attract investments and companies of knowledge economy. Also, it is essential to activate the mechanisms of demand, funding and transfer of knowledge able to consolidate and make growth the powerful fabric of local companies of technological base.

Specific objective:

Support the development of the business fabric of advanced services and technological base, and also to increase the capacity to attract external investment in those sectors.

Technological development

No boost to create and attract firms will be lasting and dynamizing if it is not based on a search of competitivity based on technological innovation. So, all the actions projected must have as common denominator its contribution to a bigger technological development through a close cooperation with the available R&D resources.

Specific objective:

Encourage the development of the local network of R & D & I to endow Saragossa with an outstanding profile within the technological panorama of Spain.


The City of Knowledge will not be defined only by its communication networks or its innovative firms, but also should have its own urban side. Urbanism, as one of the main tools of social and economic transformation at the disposal of local governments, also has to play in Saragossa a fundamental role in the definition of the new conception of housing and working places in Knowledge Society.

Specific objective:

Use the opportunities coming from the development of new technologies to encourage the revitalization of the urban area consolidated through the combination of new productive activities with residential ones.


New information technologies must not serve as another instrument of social or personal segregation. On the contrary, its possibilites must be exploited in all its potencial to put into practice new ways of relationship, virtual communities, spontaneous groups of shared interests, forums of debate and participation. It is necessary to build a virtual Saragossa totally interrelated with the physical city and with a big density of contents and interactions. And must be constructed from the acknowledgement that this will be only possible spreading technological culture to the whole of society and creating spaces for the own society to build its own means of expression.

Specific objective:

Encourage activities of citizens networks of social interest, creation of local contents in the Internet, spreading of technological knowledge and identification of the people of Saragossa with progress towards Information Society.

Promotion of the city

Saragossa is building at the beginning of this century a new identity. An identity proud and respectful with its rich past but wishing to recognize itself in more contemporary and innovating profiles. Among them must appear all the activities related to technologies, knowledge and cultural creativity, not only by conviction that this is the expression more in accordance with the worries of the city, but also because the objective interest is to use that new profile as an element of marketing of this new Saragossa which wants to compete in the “European league” of emergent cities.

Specific objective:

To promote a new trademark of the city in which the name of Saragossa wil be associated with values such as technological and social innovation and entrepreneuring spirit.

3.8.- Action programs

In order to facilitate its coherence and general organization, the proposals presented in this document and other implicit in the objectives are arranged in four action programs.


It gathers actions to make reality the right of access. To that general objective are applied measures tending to guarantee that the city can rely on a number enough of advanced infoestructures and to encourage its use by the biggest number of citizens.

  • Wireless Intranet for the Citizens
  • Extension of the broadband to all the rural neighbourhoods
  • Extension of the program of fixed points of public access to the Internet
  • Installation of hot spots for access to the Internet in public places through Wi-Fi networks
  • Establishment of a neutral knot of the Internet network and teleports
  • E-mail service for every citizen
  • Hosting for associations of citizens and non-lucrative entities
  • Support the spread of networks by operators
  • Working out a local plan of telecommunication networks
  • Support the celebration in Saragossa of massive pilot tests of new communication technologies (Wi-Fi, UMTS, Ipv6, Gallileo, PLC, etc.)


The actions included in this paragraph are oriented to the objective of encouraging the creation and establishment of technology-based companies, diversify the productive structure of the local economy and spread the knowledge and use of new information technologies by small and medium enterprises. Also are included actions of urban contents to endow Saragossa with specific areas oriented to technological innovation.

  • Digital Mile
  • Free Software Centre
  • Capital-Risk Society to act as accelerator of firms
  • Program to attract firms with a technological base
  • Business incubator for technological microfirms
  • San P@blo Digital
  • Development of management tools in free software for business entrepreneurs


The technological change must have a social utility in order to make more free citizens and a clearest and sharing public administration. To get this, it is necessary to start a series of measures to make that orientation possible.

  • Electronic City Hall
  • eDemocracy experiences
  • Digital signature
  • Citizens Intelligent Card
  • Library of Technological Resources
  • Introduction of Free Software in applications of municipal use
  • Support the spreading and development of Augustux (local distribution of Free Software)
  • Free Technology Workshops
  • Initiatives of digital literacy
  • Special programs of technological support for disabled people
  • Advanced geographic information systems


This project includes measures such as encouraging the participation of Saragossa in cities networks, a permanent collaboration of the City Council with other institutions and the creation of intraurban networks to guarantee the permanent contact between all the groups and people linked to social and technological innovation.

  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation
  • Incorporation to Telecities and other national and international cities networks
  • International Congress of Digital Cities
  • Cooperation Agreement with the University of Saragossa
  • Cooperation agreement with the Association of the Internet Users
  • Centre of Distributed Quality in the Internet
  • Meeting Forum of the technological community of Saragossa
  • Web Platform for technological debate


3.9.- Tools

  • Department of Science and Technology
    This is a new area of Saragossa City Council depending directly from the Mayor´s office. Its objective will be the boost and coordination of the whole technological project.
  • Sectorial Board of Science and Technology
    Its creation will allow to have a permanent organ for consultation and social debate, in agreement with the provisions of the municipal regulation on Citizens Participation. In this organ will be represented residents associations, political parties, other public administrations, professional groups, business associations, trade unions, representatives from the academical and technological fields, etc.
  • International Committee of Experts
    This will be an organ that will advise directly to the Mayor in projects related to the promotion of Knowledge Society and technologic, urban and businness innovation. The organ will consist of a reduced number of academic personalities of international rank.
  • Municipal Telecommunications Society
    It will be considered the creation of a municipal telecommunications society as a possible manager of the public wireless network, and also the different initiatives adressed to guarantee an adequate spread of networks and the public access to them.
  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation
    This will be an entity of foundational character that will be constituted as an initiative of the City Council of Saragossa and to which will be invited to participate companies and financial entities, outstanding personalities in the fields of science and culture, and academic institutions. The main objectives will be the spreading and development of the Information Society, the fight against digital exclusion and the promotion of social and technological innovation in the city.

3.10.- Planning

Initial actions:

  1. Establishment of the Department of Science and Technology of Saragossa City Council.
  2. Drafting of the initial document of objectives and processes.
  3. Setting-up the Sectorial Council of Science and Technology
  4. Setting-up the Experts International Committee
  5. Setting-up the “task force” in the City Council for the electronic Administration
  6. Drawing up and passing by the Municipal Plenary Session of the Master Plan.
  7. Carry out demo projects of Wi-Fi networks in the streets of Saragossa
  8. Setting-up the Foundation for the promotion of Knowldege Society
  9. Setting-up and start the Telecommunications Municipal Society
  10. Setting-up the promoting society of the Digital Mile
  11. Establishment of the digital signature in Saragossa City Hall




4.1.- Electronic City Hall

The setting-up of an integral electronic Administration is one of the fundamental pillars of the technological project of Saragossa City Council. This project follows the path traced by the European Union with the initiative eEurope 2005 and the objectives of the Action Plan for the Boosting of Electronic Administration in Spain passed by the Government of the nation in May 2003.

Above all, the electronic Administration will allow to render more and better public services to citizens and companies which will get important benefits such as saving of time. But also represents an excellent opportunity to carry out a necessary re-engineering of the administrative processes - not only digitalizing the bureaucracy but also rendering more efficient services by other means- and to dispose of more powerful tools to manage the City Hall.

This is a task of great importance that demands the fulfilment of a big effort of sustained investment and organization during several years. On the other hand, to pass from the present stage reached for the municipal website of Saragossa to a totally transactional stage, it is necessary to solve as soon as possible the problem of the digital signature and the certification of personal identity. The next introduction by the Home Secretary of the electronic ID - due to be started in the year 2004- and the new legal regulation of the digital signature, afford the idoneous platform to resolve that bottleneck of the electronic administration in Spain.

The project of of Saragossa´s electronic City Hall has been studied taking into account these criteria:

  • Render by telematic way the biggest possible number of administrative formalities, including those implying the authentication of the citizen (signature) and/or payment of economic quantities.
  • Spreading of the electronic administration culture to all the municipal public services -transport, traffic, social services, libraries, sports, etc.-
  • Use of all the possible telematic channels: the Internet, citizens Intranet, mobile phone, interactive television, etc.
  • Use of new technological possibilities to increase the City Hall accountability and the direct participation of the citizens in affairs interesting for them (eDemocracy).

4.2.- Digital Mile

The arrival of the High Speed Train to Saragossa and the urban transformations in the surroundings of the new intermodal station represent an opportunity for the development of an innovating urban-technological project: the Digital Mile.

This initiative will give an answer to two of the structural lacks of the city: a lack of an area specifically devoted to innovation and new technologies, and the insufficient dimension of the sector of services for firms. Besides, it is in tune with the strategic advices of Ebropolis and with a new kind of urban initiatives started in the last years in some of the most dynamic cities of the world.

The Digital Mile is a new urban area of Saragossa which will make good use of the spaces which have come up with the arrival of the High Speed Train and the Expo 2008, to configurate a City of Innovation and Knowledge, in which houses, firms and facilities will share the same space under a common orientation leaned over intensive activities of knowledge, an urbanism of high quality and advanced infrastructures in telecommunications.

These are the basic objectives of the project:

  • To be a showcase of the city model proposed by new ways of living, learning and working in Knowledge Society.
  • Develop a project of “technological urbanism” able to constitute a national and European reference and to increase the international projection of Saragossa as innovating city.
  • Carry out the setting up of companies - local and foreign ones- of activities based on knowledge and contribute to the development of an authentic cluster of innovation through the incorporation of different facilities related to high level training and R&D.

One of the fundamental characteristics of this project is the total integration of residential and productive uses to create a totally urban fabric.

On the other hand, the Digital Mile will rely on its own organs of permanent management to stimulate the exchange of knowledge among firms and facilities related to R&D and innovation. Among the possible fields of specialization would be the high level training activities (academic and professional), the creation of digital and audiovisual contents and different technological subsectors with a knowledge base already existing in the city.

4.3.- Citizens Wireless Intranet

One of the most important ideas of the project of the City Council of Saragossa is the conviction that the process of change towards the Information Society implies new citizen rights (the so-called e-Citizenship), and the corresponding obligation of public institutions to promote and respect the exercise of those rights.

This new field of people basic rights spreads concepts of increasing importance such as safety, privacy, confidentiality and the authenticity of electronic communications. Nevertheless, all these concepts are subordinated to the access right: the guarantee for all the citizens that they can have access to telematic networks to satisfy their personal and professional necessities. It exists different interpretations about the concrete scope of those rights and the degree of compromise for their adequate capacity and stability, for example establishing an affordable price for the majority of potential users, or that those users can acquire enough knowledge to be able to connect.

In this sense, it is unquestionable the need to work in multiple fronts to favor the extension and use of new technologies among the people of Saragossa:

  • Creating online public services to motivate the citizens to get connected.
  • Establishing public access points to the Internet.
  • Making possible the “digital literacy” of the social groups with a bigger risk of being excluded from the Information Society.
  • Encouraging the spreading of networks by telecommunication operators.

In relation to those acting lines, Saragossa City Council relies on a municipal website which renders a high volume of information and services - placing the municipal website as the second best of Spain in the year 2003, according to the ranking of a specialized publicacion such as Ciberpaís- and with the program Zaragoza @ccesible, of installation of public access points to the Internet in municipal departments and public spaces. Both are initiatives that must be boosted for its capacity to contribute to the objective of extending the use of new information technologies among the citizens. But, on the basis of the work fulfilled to date, it is suitable to go a step beyond and to compromise for getting a more ambitious content.

Saragossa City Council understands that this access right supposes at least to guarantee a universal access to the electronic services that the institution can render. In fact, the accomplishment of an integral electronic Administration turns into the cornerstone of this new way of understanding the relationships with the citizens. Sooner or later, as it is foreseen by the European Commission or the own General Administration of Spain, all the public administrations will transfer a big part of their services to the Internet and/or to other telematic networks, considering the advantages carried out by a best quality of the own service, the convenience for the user and the efficacity of the bureaucratic machine. The City Council of Saragossa considers to achieve that objective as soon as possible but also taking into account the complexity and high cost of the process.

With the perspective of a City Hall rendering a big part of its services electronically, it is imperative the inexcusable conclusion that the obligation to guarantee the access to those services and administrative obligations of the citizens to the whole population corresponds to the City Hall. This implies to guarantee a free and unrestricted access, since the economic conditions (price barriers) cannot be an excuse to render a service that due to its nature must have a public and universal character. It would not be justifiable to build up an efficient and modern electronic administration only for being used by that part of the population that already knows and can accede to the Internet, on the same way that cannot be conceived the existence of a public hospital only accessible through toll highways. Besides, the duplication of services in the virtual and real world would constitute a waste of public resources.

One of the problems to carry out a rigorous diagnosis on the degree of development of the Information Society in the city of Saragossa is the absence of officially approved statistic gauges of periodic character about the use of new technologies having as field the cities. The most reliable data available are those provided by a survey carried out by the National Institute of Statistics and the Telecommunications Market Commission, but its geographic base are the autonomous communities. According to these data, in the year 2002 a 20,5 % of the Aragonese people older than sixteen are Internet users (1,8 points above national media), whereas the percentage of houses with computer reached a 37,1 %. It is reasonable to think that the data from the city of Saragossa are slightly higher than the percentage in the region. In any case, the rates are far from the European media and very far from the most advanced countries, in spite of the fact that these figures puts Aragon among the Spanish regions with a more extensive use of the Internet.

Personas que han accedido a Internet en los últimos 3 Meses


Disponibilidad de acceso a Internet en el hogar


Conexión de los ordenadores a Internet mediante Banda Ancha


Tasa de penetración de ordenador en los hogares (% de hogares)


Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística and Comisión del Mercado de las Telecomunicaciones (2003)

But carrying out that political will is a task subject to important restrictions of different kinds. It has been the own development of technology which has contributed to a new communication tool which can make easy the access right to be not only a theoretical concept for an important part of the population: the inrush of the Wi-Fi wireless technology. This is a communication standard between computers which act in a radio frequency band of free use, with a big capacity to transmit data from a minum power of emision, specially adequated to cover urban areas due to the simplicity and low cost of its deployment. In fact, these characteristics have made that this technology, as the Internet, are growing bottom-up through its use by citizen groups to interconnet with each other.

If Wi-Fi technlogy is supposed to solve the technologic-economic problem of building a network able to give access to a city of more than half a million inhabitants, the idea of guaranteeing an unrestricted and free access to the Internet rises, on the other hand, problems of regulatory kind. A recent pronouncing of the Telecommunications Market Commission , warned of the limitations to take into account by some City Halls which were considering the possibility of giving access to the Internet to its citizens. Basically, the CMT estimates that those initiatives must be conditioned to not supposing a disloyal competance for firms which offer the same services. Taking into account these determining factors, the division between the access to the Internet and the access to electronic public services can be the key to complete this jigsaw puzzle.

In this context and taking into account the ideas previously commented, Saragossa City Council puts forward the start of its Intranet as one of the fundamental projects to advance in a decided way towards Knowledge Society. Intranet Zaragoza will be the great intranet of the city, the infosphere where the people of Saragossa will have access to the online public services of the City Hall -which in this way will take on sense- and of other institutions which can join the project. All the citizens will have the possibility to connect freely their PC´s and other devices to accede to those services through the display of a Wi- Fi wireless network. In this way, it will be guaranteed the access right of the people of Saragossa to basic electronic services.


Intranet Zaragoza must carry out a second objective as important as the previous one: to hurry up and democratize the construction of the digital city, of that area of urban expansion through telematic networks which have increasing importance in the projection of cities and inner lives. Its wealth and complexity will depend on the capacity to be an important node in the networksociety.

The project of a municipal electronic Administration turns into the core of that Intranet for the citizens, as main service provider to the people of Saragossa.

But it is not only about creating an “official” space, but also of putting that communication infrastructure to the service of every group, association, institution, company and citizen which want to offer their services; and also to create the tools to facilitate the creation of virtual communities of citizens of any kind and for an interpersonal communication: e-mail, chats, forums, etc.

As a summary, we are facing the project of creation of an Internet of proximity (a local area opened to the world since all the contents of the Intranet will be easily accesible through the Internet).

Besides, a project like this, far from representing a competence for the telecommunication operators, gives rise to a great incentive for its commercial interests through the widening of the potential number of clients. The Citizens Intranet will be the door for many people of Saragossa that until now could not or have not experienced the interest to use telematic networks: from an easy use of reduced cost related to their daily interests, many of them will enjoy full access to the Internet once they feel at ease in the new city of bits.

To advance to that general objective it will be necessary to work in a parallel and simultaneous way in the following acting lines:

  • Progressive establishment of a municipal electronic Administration
  • Actions on digital literacy
  • Spreading of the network of public access points to the Internet
  • Progressive installation of “hot spots” (points of wireless access to the Internet) in public places of the city: university buildings, municipal departments, public squares, etc.
  • Progressive construction of a Citizens´ Intranet.

With respect to its technical and functional characteristics, the essential features that the big intranet of the citizens should have will be these:

  • Safety in the communications to allow a transactional use
  • Contents and services should be accessible throught the Internet as well
  • Encourage the installation of wireless cards to connect private computers
  • To allow a progressive deployment to check out its functionality in affordable conditions and to serve as informative demostration to the body of potential users
  • Technical cooperation with the University of Saragossa
  • To allow the use of the network to create virtual communities and other uses by the citizens
  • Use of the new protocol Ipv6 for the assignment of addresses
  • Encourage the incorporation to the Intranet of online services of other public adminstrations, especially the Government of Aragon
  • Encourage the creation of local contents through a hosting service for non- lucrative entities
  • Use of free software in the development of different software tools to boost local industry
  • Open the Intranet to non-free advanced services and contents


(*) Its possible integration in the Aragonese Network of Institutional Communication (RACI) will allow to open other access ways. Besides, all the services of the citizens Intranet should be accessible through the Internet and other networks of Saragossa (RTB, ADSL, cable, LMDS, etc.

4.4.- Free software

The free / open source software is reaching in the last years an indisputable relevance in the world of computing. In particular, public institutions of different European countries such as France, Germany and some Scandinavian countries are showing an active interest in the establishment of computer systems of this nature, matching the advices of the European Commission. In Spain, the Autonomous Communities of Extremadura and Andalucia have committed themselves to the massive introduction of free software in the educative system, a similar decision to the recently anounced by the government of the Community of Valencia. In Aragon, the executive agreed on February 2003 to boost and spread the use of free software in the public Administration and the educative system.

The City Council of Saragossa understands that this a phenomenon to which it is compulsory to pay attention from a triple point of view:

  • The obligations of the public Administration with respect to the neutrality in its relation with the users, the costs and other implications of the purchase of software.
  • The opportunities of development for the local technological fabric linked to new computing demands that are going to be generated.
  • The existence in the city of groups of specialized professionals in these technologies with national projection and capacity for better developments.

Taking into account all these elements, the City Council of Saragossa understands that the open code and free software represents a phenomenon that must be encouraged as an alternative that enriches the market of offer of applications and systems, favors a lesser technologic dependency of third parties and open the expectancies of development of the local industry. In this sense and taking into account the advices of the European institutions and the pronouncement of the Parliament of Aragon, the following actions are raised:

  • Compromise of the City Council of Saragossa to keep a neutral position in the electronic relations with the citizens, using accessible formats of documents and web designs for any platform.
  • Consider the alternative of free / open source software when choosing the own computer uses of the City Hall, always assessing objective criteria such as cost, safety, stability, technological control, adaptability and contribution to the development of the local industry.
  • Support the promotion and use of free software, particularly the distribution of Augustux, for increasing its social knowledge, enrichment of the necessary citizens debate and experimental use in the public access points to the Internet and similar places.
  • Create the Free Software Centre for the standardization and recognition of free / open source software applications for city halls and other public administrations, forming a network with other cities interested in these projects and creating a platform for the exchange and hiring in which the firms of the participant cities can find opportunities and a structured market to get involved in the development and support of these new applications.

4.5.-Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation

The project for a Knowledge Society of the City Council examines the existence of three big fields of direct action: electronic Administration, the access to networks and the diversificacion of the local economy towards a bigger presence of advanced service activities based on technology.

Nevertheless, those actions would make no sense if they are not accompanied by a wide work of spreading and promotion of new technologies culture to the people of Saragossa. In fact, a good part of the difficulties that the institutional plans of Information Society development usually find, lies in the necessity, not always well understood, of implying the social fabric and not forcing the time necessary for the social adaptation that any technology needs.

Evidently, the responsibility of this task is municipal, but to be effective and rely on a bigger credibility needs the active collaboration of other social and economic agents. On the other hand, many entities and institutions are engaged in a certain way to the technological development and that, in the long run, can also directly benefit from a general increase of technological culture in the city.

From this analysis, it is advisable the creation of a Foundation of municipal initiative but with a wide private participation and other institutions, to boost all those actions of spreading and raising public awareness which will give sense to the whole project of Saragossa towards Knowledge Society. That work will include from digital literacy to the organization of forums, conferences and debates with different levels of qualification. Besides, this new entitiy should carry out in a general way an important role in the boosting and promotion of culture of innovation in the city.

The Foundation tries to make up the idoneous format to make possible a stable collaboration of public and private sectors and adding objective advantages to make possible the participation of private companies. It is important that the own Foundations Act sets out as one of the possible aims of this kind of entities the development of the Information Society. Without affecting what the Board of Directors of the Foundation can decide with respect to the objectives of this entity, they are proposed these:

Objectives of the Foundation:

  • a) Boost the development of the Knowlege or Information Society in every sphere of the citizens life.
  • b) Encourage the opportunities provided by new technologies to every citizen and to fight against digital exclusion.
  • c) Promote the prominence of Saragossa in the field of new digital culture and its spreading among all the citizens.
  • d) Boost the creation of contents of local production in electronic support and its distribution through the Internet and other channels.
  • e) Carry out direct or indirect researches and investigations to know the present situation and evolution of Knowledge Socity and its implications for the city and its future development.
  • f) Contribute to the scientific and technological development of Saragossa, especially in fields which can open new opportunities for the local firms and allowing to improve the provision of municipal public services.
  • g) Collaboration on the attainment of the strategic objectives that the City Council of Saragossa considers to be related to the Information Society.

2.- To achieve these objectives, the Foundation could develop the following acting lines:

  • a) Carry out campaigns of digital literacy oriented to the necessities of the different collectives of citizens, with a special incidence in children and young people of school age, disadvantaged groups and old people.
  • b) Organization of conferences, congresses and other kind of events to contribute to the spread and knowlege of new technologies and also to a national and international relevance of Saragossa in those fields.
  • c) Promotion of specific activities to turn Saragossa into one of the referential cities of the new digital culture, attending to aspects such as electronic art, multimedia creation, reasearch on the origin and development of the cyberculture, impact and evolution of videogames, applications of virtual reality, digital libraries, etc.
  • d) Supporting and motivation to create and publish in the Internet local contents related to different fields of the life of Saragossa.
  • e) Specific promotion of big projects with electronic contents of general interest: Goya, Buñuel, history of the city…
  • f) Creation of a virtual forum (web page, e-mail lists, etc.) of permanent meeting and interaction of the technological community of the city - professionals, business people, researchers, promoters, hackers, etc.- to boost a qualified debate, the specialized documentation, the rise of new projects and the mutual knowledge among people interested.
  • g) Support to equip with computer facilities citizens entities, communitary centres, social services, etc, through the establishment of a program to recycle and reuse the equipment falled into disuse, with free software tools.
  • h) Drawing up of a socioeconomic analysis and research program on the development of the Information Society in Saragossa and its metropolitan area, and on prospects for the future. i) Service of watching and technologic prospective for the detection and spreading of development opportunities for local firms and the improvement of public services.
  • j) Development of specific projects of research and social awareness related to new technologies: Distributed Quality Centre in the Internet (research for the quality of the e-mail and fight against the spam).
  • k) Advice and channeling of the initiatives that the City Council of Saragossa can propose to the Foundation in this field.



Work Document


0.-Executive summary

  • 1.- Executive summary
    • 1.1.- DSpatial and economic dimension of innovation in the city
    • 1.2.- Challenge and opportunities of High Speed Train
    • 1.3.- Impact of the Expo 2008
  • 2.- Experiences in other cities
  • 3.- The Digital Mile
    • 3.1.- What is it?
    • 3.2.- Which are its aims?
    • 3.3.- Where is it going to be placed?
    • 3.4.- Management and development
      • 3.4.1.- Urban management
    • 3.5.- The factory of XXI century
    • 3.6.- Productive specialization
    • 3.7.- Possible innovative facilities
    • 3.8.- Characteristics of housing
  • 4.- Relation with the Expo 2008
  • 5.- San Pablo neighbourhood and the Mile
  • 6.- Tasks planning

The arrival of the High Speed Train to Saragossa and the urban transformation in the area around the new intermodal station represents an opportunity for the development of an innovating urban-technnological project: the Digital Mile .

This initiative will give an answer to two of the structural lacks of Saragossa: the lack of an area devoted specifically to the innovation and new technologies, and the insufficient dimension of the business services sector. Besides, all this agrees with the strategic advices made by Ebropolis and with a new kind of urban initiatives put into effect in the last years in some of the most dynamic cities of the world.

The Digital Mile is a new urban area of Saragossa which will take advantage of the zone sprung up with the arrival of the high speed train and the Expo 2008, to shape a City of Innovation and Knowledge, in which houses, companies and facilities will share the same area under a common orientation related to intensive activities connected to knowledge, a high quality urbanism and advanced telecommunication infrastructures.

The main objectives of the project are these:

  • To be an international showcase for a model of city characterized by new ways of living, learning and working in the Knowledge Society.
  • To develop a project of “technological urbanism” able to constitute a national and European reference and to increase the international projection of Saragossa as innovative city.
  • To get the setting up of companies - local and foreign ones- working in activities based on knowledge and contribute to the development of an authentic cluster of innovation through the incorporation of different services related to high quality training and R&D.

1.- Context and Background

1.1.- Spatial and economic dimension of innovation in the City

  • Saragossa lacks urban areas specifically devoted to activities related to innovation, R&D and companies providing advanced services, understood as areas identified as such and with an integrated system of promotion and management to guarantee the develoment and continuity of its innovative profile. This is an old and reiterated demand made by researchers, professionals and firms of the technological sector in Saragossa, which have always seen in this lack a handicap for the development of their activity.
    • The training and research centres situated in the Actur Campus (belonging to the University of Saragossa and the Government of Aragon), has been considered as the possible core of an urban technopolis, although to date that project has not been developed.
    • The current urban plan contemplates the possibility of developping a technological park in the old Technical School (next to Malpica industrial area and several kilometres away from the city centre). The Government of Aragon carried out a previous informative study, but currently it is not known the existence of such a project.
    • In the year 2002 it was opened Walqa Technological Park in the city of Huesca, 65 kms. from Saragossa through a modern highway. This is a project of the Government of Aragon, specialised in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), which counts on five research laboratories of the University of Saragossa (advanced computing, broadband, UMTS applications, radio frequency and legal and business management).
  • Saragossa suffers from a cronic deficit in the creation of skilled jobs, which forces many of our graduates, specially in technical branches, to emigrate. The social importance of this problem keeps relatively hidden due to the fact that the level of unemployment in the city is relatively low (7,77 % of the active population in the province) and that in the last years there has been an increasing incorporation of immigrants to low qualified jobs. On the other hand, the productive structure of Aragon reveals that the sector of advanced business services, precisely one of the sectors which creates more qualified employment, is clearly infra-represented. For that reason, it exists a high potential of economic growth in this kind of activities.
  • The new policies of urban regeneration developed from the 90´s in many countries put special emphasis on the need of recovering the urban fabric through the introduction of productive activities in the consolidated city, in a period in which many of those new activities are perfectly compatible with residencial uses because they depend nearly exclusively on the work of qualified personnel: a knowledge-based economy. Apart from that, the experience of successful examples proves that many of those activities need to develop the traditional city, dense, cosmopolitan, with high quality services and multiple opportunities for personal interaction.
  • Ebropolis, the Association for the Strategic Development of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area, set out at the end of the year 2002, forming part of the conclussions of the Working Group on New Technologies and Knowledge Society - one of the initiatives foreseen in the Strategic Plan for Saragossa-, the following advice: “to promote the creation of a City of Knowledge in the new multifunctional urban spaces produced by the Intermodal Station and the old Portillo railway station, favoring the development of technological centres, with special attention to the promotion of audiovisual content and production”.
    • The Economy and Budget Commission of the Parliament of Aragon, passed unanimously on February 17, 2003, a motion in which is agreed, among other points, the following one:
    • “The Parliament of Aragon urge the Government of Aragon to support and carry out any action necessary to apply the strategic lines proposed by the Working Group on New Technologies and Knowledge Society of the Association for the Strategic Development of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area (Ebrópolis), in the field of technologies of information and communications (…)2. The Parliament of Aragon urges the Government of Aragon to support specially the creation of the City of Knowledge proposed by Ebrópolis. 3. Also, the Parliament of Aragon urges the Government of Aragon to give special attention to the coordination of their efforts with the rest of the competent administrations on this matter, and particularly with the City Council of Saragossa.”

1.2.- Challenge and opportunities of the arrival of the High Speed Train

The arrival of the high speed train (AVE) is going to have - is already having- two consequences of strategic importance for the development of Saragossa:

  • Creation of a new urban space around the new railway station Zaragoza Delicias and the old El Portillo station. This is a very extent and easily accesible area which forms part of the conventional boundaries of the city. Apart from that, it is near what could be the location of the Expo 2008. The uses for this area will have an undeniable specific weight in the configuration of the model of city in the next decades.
  • Modification of the strategic importance of Saragossa as centre of the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula in which an important part of the GDP and the population of Spain concentrates. The location of the city 75 minutes away from Madrid and Barcelona by ultramodern trains will increase its capacity to attract companies and professionals. However, an analysis of the effects of high speed in other European cities indicates that those positive effects are not produced in an automatic way but only if measures for the exploitation of those opportunities are put into practice.

1.3.-Impact of the Expo 2008

The candidacy of Saragossa to organize the International Exhibition in the year 2008 is a project that the city has adopted unanimously as a strategic reference to culminate its process of urban transformation and increase its national and international projection. If Saragossa is chosen -the final decision will be taken in the year 2004-, this will generate a strong increase of the attention on Saragossa in the national and international public opinion. This, if we count on the adequate instruments, should be translated into a bigger capacity to attract inversions.

On the other hand, the Expo 2008 would allow to give a very important qualitative jump on the infrastructures and services of the city. Its possible location on the Ranillas meander of the Ebro, near the High Speed Train area river (see picture at the end of this paper), would configurate a new facade in the city which will allow to outline and plan it from the very beginning to secure its attractiveness and quality.

2.- Experiences in other cities

The comparative analysis of similar experiences in different cities of the world allows us to extract the conclusion that the Digital Mille has some of the points that explain the success of these cities:

  • Political Leadership: the existence of a clear priority for the City Council of Saragossa to define and carry out this project, will make possible a model of public/private management combining flexibility and effectiveness, with the participation of other institutions - fundamentally the Government of Aragon,- private companies, the University of Saragossa and other educative centres. This model has been successfully tested in Los Angeles (Digital Coast), Ronneby in Sweden (Soft Center), Torino (Environment Park), Baden-Wurttemberg in Germany, Portland - USA- (WebPort), Glasgow-Edinburgh (Silicon Glen), Inchon-Korea (Media Valley). This model also allows to boost with exact information and from the very beginning all those measures which have to be adopted to develop a new technological neighbourhood. The fact that the urban process is still on the first stages, allows its adaptation to the final project.
  • Land cost: The availability of an big amount of public land (more than 100,000 m2) set aside for the tertiary sector around Delicias intermodal station, allows to have available a powerful instrument to attract companies, offering them cheap land in any form (parcels to build for big firms, offices of any size to rent, sell or lease, the possibility to allow small and medium size companies to settle there, etc). It is not frequent that a city with the size of Saragossa can offer land in a high quality space, well linked and with competitive business services. This mechanism of offering land has been successfully used in different Technological Parks such as in Manhattan, Boston, Chennay (India) and Torino.
  • Flexibility of spaces and business incubator: The construction of a building “Plug ?n Go”, which will allow an immediate access to the most modern telecommunication networks of the companies which will setle in there, is a necessary step that should facilitate to those companies all the services of a business incubator. This mechanism has been used successfully in the majority of new technological parks (Chicago, Manhattan, Tel-Aviv, Hyderabad and Chennay - India, and Gifu (Japan)). The availability of land around the intermodal station allows an strategy to create first a big emblematic building to house the society, the services of the business incubator, laboratories and facilities to make research and location easier for the first companies to settle there.
  • Skilled personnel: Saragossa relies on a working population highly skilled and productive. Besides, the University of Saragossa has showed a high level in the training of different technologic specialities (telecommunications, computing, sciences) and an excellent disposition to adapt to the necessities of the environment. The integration in the project of the existing universities or the transfer of land to create new training centres is a model used in some technological parks such as Torino, Cambridge, Roneby (Sweden) and Inchon (Korea).
  • Residential and life quality: the Digital Mile project incorporates some new elements even though the combination of a technopolis in a quality and fully urban residential environment has been tested successfully in cities such as Hyderabad (India) and Hsinchu (Taiwan). More known are the experiences of technological companies situated within urban areas such as Manhattan, Chicago, Boston, Stuttgart, Torino and London. All these examples has proved that it is a good asset to offer a good integration in a lively city, including quality residential facilities for workers in the sector, specially if we consider the high cultural level of those professionals.

If we put ourselves in a nearer cultural and geographical environment, there are three specific examples worthwile considering in detail: 22@bcn (Barcelona), The Digital Hub (Dublin) and Arabianranta (Helsinki). In these three cases coincides the fact of being promoted by public institutions and having as main objective the regeneration of impoverished urban spaces which have lost their traditional industrial use.

  • 22@bcn. This is one of the more characteristic initiatives of this new “technological urbanism” due to its urban ambition and new way of management. Its aim is the regeneration of the old industrial district of Poblenou (integrated in the urban area, but excentric from the point of view of functionality) through turning industrial uses into new intensive productive activities using knowledge, which are incentivated with a bigger volume of development potential. Those activities are related to the ICT sector, but also with research, design, edition, culture, multimedia activities, education, etc.
  • To manage this and to develop the forecast of the General Urban Regulation Plan, a society with a capital entirely municipal has been created. The area covers 198 hectares, offering up to 2,7 millions of square metres for new activities and its full occupation would suppose the creation of 60,000 employments. The project includes the building of 4,000 new houses to sum up to the existing 4,600 before the elaboration of the plan.
  • The Digital Hub. This is a project promoted by the Irish Government, the City Council of Dublin, and the Irish Development Agency, to revitalize the old industrial neighbourhood of Liberties, through a series of actions to create a cluster of digital contents. Liberties/Coombe is one of the most impoverished districts of the Irish capital, with serious problems of exclusion, criminality, etc.
  • The key elements of its strategy consist in the creation of a powerful infrastructure of communications, the restoration of old factories to adapt them to new companies and the creation of mechanisms of connection between public and private sector, and also between the own companies, the transfer of technological knowledge, etc. It is important to emphasize the actions to improve the quality of life of the neighbourhood (facilities for schools) and to involve the youth in the use of new technologies.
  • Another outstanding element is the relevance given to the construction of a fast tramway system to increase the accessibility to that district.
  • The initial motor that propels this project is The Media Lab Europe, a branch of the world-known MIT?s Media Lab, is the engine that initially boost this project, which thanks to a strong investment of the Irish government, settled in that area and is housing a wide group of researchers.
  • Arabianranta. This project plans the regeneration of an old and polluted industrial location of Helsinki (the Arabia china factory) through the construction of 3,400 houses, educative facilities, residences for students and researchers and location for companies. A 40 % of the houses will be statedsubsidized houses to rent.
  • Arabianranta is a long implementation project. The final decision was adopted in 1997 and will end in 2010, date in which it is expected to house 10,000 residents, 6,000 students and 7,000 employees. Arabianranta is presented as a project specifically oriented to create a community hyperconnected and integrated in an authentic virtual/real community. With a service of optic fibre in each house and a powerful wireless system in the whole area, the firsts residents count on broadband (10Mbps) access to the Internet and the communal intranet (Helsinki Virtual Village, their own domain, e-mail service, firewall, antivirus protection and free IP telephone system for calls in the community, all this for a price considerably inferior to the average in the capital of Finland. That network also gives specialized services to the companies located there.
  • Other critical aspect of the project is the importance given to the design, not only in the construction of the neighbourhood but also in the orientation of the business cluster, centred around art and design. A university centre

3.- The Digital Mile

3.1.- What is it?

The Digital Mile is a new urban area of Saragossa which will make good use of the space sprung up with the arrival of the High Speed Train and the Expo 2008. The aim is to configurate a City of Innovation and Knowledge, in which houses, companies and facilities will coexist under a common orientation of intensive activities based on knowledge, a high quality urbanism and advanced telecommunication infrastructures, from which will benefit not only the people living there but also the businesses settled in that area.

3.2.- Which are its aims?

  • To be an international showcase for a model of city characterized by new ways of living, learning and working in the Knowledge Society.
  • To develop a project of “technological urbanism” able to constitute a national and European reference and to increase the international projection of Saragossa as innovative city.
  • To get the setting up of companies - local and foreign ones- working in activities based on knowledge and contribute to the development of an innovative and expansive business fabric.
  • To attract headquarters of national and foreign companies through the optimization of the competitive advantage made possible by the proximity of the high speed train, the offering of land of good quality for an attractive price, the existence of highly skilled workers and an environment which will promote business excellency, technological development, high quality training and a permanent generation and exchange of knowledge.
  • Creation of a professional cluster of innovation and creativity in which the companies and centres of training and R&D can enrich each other thanks to proximity and interrelation.
  • To promote the setting up in Saragossa of national and international reference centres in researching, applied technology, superior training and advanced services for companies.
  • To create a community of residents with ordinary access to the most advanced developments related to domotics and communications and which, due to their dimension, could constitute an ideal place for massive pilot tests of communication technologies and products.

3.3.- Where is it going to be placed

The Digital Mile is going to be developed within an urban area of Saragossa which goes from the old El Portillo railway station to the new Delicias intermodal station, and extending to the north to the area of the Expo 2008 on the other bank of the Ebro river (but evidently this not implies that the project is going to occupy the whole area of this very wide part of the city).

The plan to develop in the next months has the aim to locate all the spaces within that area which can be incorporated to the project of the Digital Mile. To carry out this work it will be necesary to take into account the following criteria:

  • The Digital Mile is a project of integrated management which has to be presented as a whole, even though physically it consists of pieces of land separated within a well-delimitated area. Though a maximum geographic continuity is desirable, it must be adopted a flexible attitude towards the different caracteristics of the land, the already recognised exploitation and the financial necesities of the project. In any case, it must be assured a common standard of urban and constructive quality, and also of green and leisure areas.
  • The residential uses are innate to the Digital Mile project, since the important thing s to guarantee the maximum permeability between houses and companies to create a neighborhood with its own life 7×24x365, which will not be deserted at dusk and on weekends. So, even though logically the promotion of the houses will be made through the usual proceedings through different projects, certain common characteristics in the design of the whole area and in the mechanisms of relation with the rest of the users of the Mile must be defined. Likewise, it must be taken into account that the residential uses must not be limited to middle and upper class houses to sell, but also should include subsidized housing, houses to rent, apartments for professionals living temporarily in the city and residences for students and researchers.
  • With reference to the productive and/or tertiary uses, at least three types of buildings should be built:
    • Single buildings of high quality offices, planned to house the headquarters of very important companies. They should be situated in the places with the best visibility of the area and the nearest possible to the high-speed train station, to make it accessible on foot. It would be advisable to study the possibility of constructing buildings for single companies, with adequate margins of freedom to construct and able to allow a representative level in accordance with the category of each company.
    • Buildings for business services: business centres, congresses, centres for demonstration of products and technologies, microcompanies parks with common services, hotels, business incubators, small offices to rent, teleports (computer hosting and housing), etc. One of these multiple service buildings should serve as emblematic building of the Digital Mile, housing the headquarters of the management society and to give service -and even temporary accommodation- to the companies recently incorporated.
    • Facilities allocated for superior training centres (university centres, bussiness schools, etc.), research and development, scientific divulgation, laboratories, headquarters of entities related to innovation and technology, etc. In this sense, the planning of this kind of facilities should have into account the geographical proximity of the Actur technological campus, favoring as much as possible the connection between both areas.

3.4.- Management and Development

The Digital Mile Project has some elements of real estate and business character which constitutes a safe investment, taking into account the attractiveness of the place. However, the capacity to give a qualitative jump and turn the project into an initiative really able to boost the knowledge economy in Saragossa and turn it into a reference in a new kind of urbanism , will depend on applying management ways to keep the coherence and continuity of the project, securing the incorporation of the different elements necessary to create an authentic and innovative cluster. The Digital Mile not only should make up for a serious lack that Saragossa has in its productive structure (services for companies), but also make possible the development of a City of Knowledge in which could take place an effective and creative interaction between citizens, professionals and researchers

That demand implies to go beyond the field of real estate promotion to go to a management system wider and more lasting in time. Given the different characteristics of the land to develop, a possible solution would be the setting up of a public or mixed development company to complete and manage the project. Its functions, among others, would be:

  • Preparation of the definitive project for the Digital Mile
  • Definition of the preferential activities to develop in the area.
  • Capacity to deal on behalf of the land owners with the companies and institutions interested in setting up there.
  • Promotion to a national and international level.
  • Design and carry out different activities.
  • Management of sources and centres for micro companies.

In any case and independently of the model of shareholders adopted by the management society, it would be highly recommended the participation of the Government of Aragon, the University of Saragossa and the newly created Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation (provisional name), among other entities, to guarantee a correct technologic plan.

Besides, the Digital Mile will rely on the support of instruments of specific venture capital for technology-based companies through the collaboration of the Government of Aragon, the City Council of Saragossa and private firms specialised in this kind of funding.

3.4.1.- Urban Management

The Digital Mile pretends to be much more than an urban promotion in an attractive area of the city. It wants to develop this new neighbourhood of Saragossa with a very specific orientation to innovative technological activities, even though this must be done through the preferential role of private investment.

To get this, it can be followed a discretionary criterion of search and selection of projects adequate to the end of the project after having stablished the most interesting sectors of activity and within the limits considered in the general plan for the city, or also is possible to introduce indirect mechanisms of selection through the setting up of incentives for a bigger urban exploitation for priority activities, as has been done in Barcelona in the area 22@ , through a precise list of nearly two hundred activities characterised by the intensive use of knowledge.

3.5- The factory of the XXI century

In order to have success, a project like this needs a real state and business objective, and the Digital Mile can have this thanks to initial characteristics such as the presence of the High Speed Train and the potential of Saragossa. With an adequate management of the project, those elements will guarantee to get private investments. However, to trascend what is a simple real state promotion, the Digital Mile needs to define its motto, a differential raison d´être.

In this sense and independently of boosting a productive specialization which can turn into one of the main assets of the project, it would be advisable to focalize the identity of the Digital Mile considering it as an avant-garde idea taking into account the economic and social changes that cities are facing in this Age of Information.

Some of these changes are related to the management ways of the network company; the outsourcing of services increasingly critical; the new ways of telework; the emerging of a new kind of artisans of knowledge (highly skilled specialists who work in an independent way or in small groups for big companies); the space/time flexibility brought by information technology to intellectual works and training; the shortening of the obsolescence periods for technological knowledge necesary in many professional activities and the need of a continuous learning; the fading of barriers (space/time) which traditionally compartmentalize leisure time and work; or the advantages for the city derived of the increasing compatibility of new productive activities with residential uses.

Those transformations also would allow the Digital Mile to experiment new ways of working, proposing innovative models in the spatial configuration of companies: companies able to work in shared spaces and able to shape those spaces in accordance with the characteristics of each project, starting from the existence of powerful telecommunication networks able to stand virtual private networks of big capacity, videoconference, etc.

One of the distinguishing features of the Digital Mile project will be the fulfillment of the different proposals for this factory of knowledge of the XXI century starting from the ideas of international experts.

3.6- Productive Specialization

With reference to the possible specialization in certain productive activities, this is a task closely related to a research work which will have to be carried out by the management society adequately adviced. Anyway, it is advisable to find a balance between the competitive advantage that a certain degree of specialization would provide - which would benefit the creation of a true innovative cluster able to generate knowledge itself - and the necessary flexibility to adapt to the fast and and unforeseeable change of many of the economic activities related to new technologies.

Also, it should be get a certain commitment between helping activities which facilitate the development of local companies thanks to their know-how or the availability of university support, with the incorporation of companies from outside, which would provide not only investment and jobs but also boost activities insufficiently represented in the local economy, increasing diversification.

The Digital Mile could house all kind of advanced services including finances, insurance, consulting, engineering, design, marketing, publicity, communications, public relations and all kind of research and development activities. Besides, it would interesting to have into account first and foremost three possible fields of specialization:

Training: the Digital Mile will offer objective advantages to house activities related to specialised training for professionals and executives, postgraduate courses, e-learning, business schools, new universities, etc. The increasingly frequent combination of distance and presential training favours the objective conditions of the Digital Mile due to its easy accesibility from the main Spanish cities and its capacity in telecommunications.

Technological Subsectors with a high rising potential and knowledge in Saragossa: It can be mentioned the convenience to search for a certain specialisation in sectors such as: biotechnology, free / open source software, systems of geographic location, nanoscience, biocomputing, advanced graphic computing, only to cite some significant areas that can be found in the scientific fabric of Saragossa.

Digital Contents: Likewise, it would be highly convenient the promotion as one of the characteristic axes of this project, of an activity core devoted to the creation of contents and audiovisual production. This is a field with a big growth potential and an important tradition in Aragon and particularly in Saragossa, and which counts on the incentive of the Centre for Advanced Technologies that recently has been opened in Saragossa and that will be a national occupational training centre in activities such as new media, digital art and audiovisual production. Also, this line of work would give full sense to the proposal to devote one of the buildings of the Expo 2008 to the “Saragossa Cinema Centre”, space which would combine information, leisure, training and production.

3.7.- Possible innovative facilities

  • R&D laboratories for big companies
  • Headquarters for national scientific entities
  • European Agence or similar institutions related to research and technology
  • University colleges (public and private)
  • Postgrade training centres
  • University Research Colleges
  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation
  • Digital Mile Society
  • Science Museum

3.8.- Characteristics of housing

As said before, the residential use of the Digital Mile is one of the essential characteristics of the project since only the integration of activities and uses will guarantee the creation of a new area completely urban and with quality of life. This integration not only must be carried out through physical closeness but also should give services to the residents.

The initial proposal consists of the following technological facilities:

  • Optic fibre connection in all the flats to make it possible the access to the more advanced communication services, even experimentally: videoconference, video on demand…
  • Advanced domotics for house and energetic consumption management: telecontrol, telewatching, identification through recognition of people and cars…
  • Wi-Fi wireless network in the whole Digital Mile and the surrounding green areas.

4.- Relation with the Expo 2008

It has already been commented the essential relation between the Digital Mile with the High Speed Train and the Expo 2008. Not only relates to the necessary coordination of urban planning and design, but also to combine the foreseen facilities in the different projects and in particular with the Expo.

A suitable definition of the Digital Mile can represent the ideal complement to the Expo 2008 project. If the candidacy of Saragossa is chosen, the Mile will provide highly interesting projects for the further use of the buildings of the Expo after its celebration, since Ranillas meander would be its natural area of expansion to the Actur technological campus. If the candidacy is not chosen, this area will provide a suggestive alternative as city project for a productive use of the area projected for the Expo.

In that sense, it is important to make a forecast related to both alternatives, particularly on facilities such as the Congress Hall, the Cinema Centre, the Science Museum, hotels and others, which, in any case, will be necessary.

5.- San Pablo neigbourhood and the Mile

In an area relatively near to the Digital Mile is one of the most impoverished areas of the city: San Pablo neighbourhood. The capacity of the Mile to attract investment and the creation of facilities for technological companies must be used with solidarity to favour the setting in San Pablo of centres related to the activity of the Mile.

This line of work will have its own project (San P@blo Digital), forming part of the projects foreseen by the Comprehensive Plan for the Old Quarter. One of this connection points between San Pablo and the Mile will be the Free Software Centre that the City Council of Saragossa pretends to create in collaboration with other Spanish cities and that probably will be placed in San Pablo. It is obvious that the existence of that centre for the endorsement and standardization of open source software for public administrations can favour the placing of free software firms in the Mile. In other cases, the managing society of the Digital Mile will promote the development of different activities in the historic quarter.

6.- Tasks Planning

  1. Location and definiton of possible use for the available land
  2. Urban and economic planning
  3. Processing of the necessary plan
  4. Definition of a first portfolio of the project (documents, graphic projection, agenda) to start its commercial promotion
  5. Setting-up of the management society and deal agreements with the land owners
  6. Process of selection of ideas to endow the project with innovative suggestions in the field of telecommunications, home system, “knowledge factories”, etc.
  7. Constitution of an advisory technical committee to define the scientific and technological priorities.



Some links with information in English about Saragossa, Spain General information:

Expo 2008: