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1998 Spanish Best Practices selected by the International Jury >

L'Hospitalet for Civic-Mindedness (Spain)

Para consultar la versión castellana de este documento, pulse aquí.

Reference Date: 26-07-1998

Experience selected in the 1998 Dubai Award for Best Practice, and catalogued as BEST (Included amongst the 40 finalists). ( Best Practices Database.)
País/Country: Spain

United Nations Region: Europe
Ecological region: Coastal
Activity: City / Town
Partnerships: Multilateral agency . Private sector. Non-governmental organisation (NGO)

Themes = Civic Engagement and Cultural Vitality: civic education; community participation; social and cultural vitality. Environmental Management: ecological sustainability; environmental remediation; environmentally sound technologies; incentives for sound management; pollution reduction; urban greening. Social Services: crime reduction and prevention; education; health and welfare; public safety

Main contact:
Joaquím Balsera García,
Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 11
08901 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona)
Tlf: +93-402 95 51
Fax: +93-261 23 13

Michel Marcus/Claudine Parere
Forum Européen pour la Sécurité Urbaine. (Multilateral agency)
38 rue Liancourt
Tel: +33-014 32 78 311
Fax: +33-014 32 77 952
Political Support

Montse Cabau i Ferreres / Maica Remolí Pérez
Caixa D'Estalvis i Pensions. (Private sector)
Aribau 192-198
08036 Barcelona
Tel: +34-93 404 77 72
Fax: +34-93 201 01 70
Financial Support.

Juan García Martín
Federación de Asociaciones de Vecinos de L'Hospitalet de Llobregat. (Non-governmental organisation)
Peñíscola 14, bajos
08906 Barcelona
Tel: +34-93 438 59 38
Support to the campaign and organization of acts and activities

Organización Nominadora
Marta García Nart
Comité Nacional Español
Paseo de la Castellana, 67
28071 Madrid
Tlf: +34-91 597 75 72
fax: +34-91 597 86 04

Key Dates

20 February 1997: Public presentation of the project and beginning of the communication campaign to raise the conscience and sensitize all the citizens.
May 1997: Start of the mediation and proximity plan with the
aim of correcting incivic behaviors through the Civic Police.
September 1997: Implement of the cleaning and restoration of façades and walls campaign by means of the Civic Restoration Brigade, as well as activation of the Civic Education Plan in city teaching institutions.
Febraury 1998: Signature of collaboration agreementes with economic, financial and real-estate agents
June 1998: L'Hospitalet Civic Day


Definition of Best Practice

"L'Hospitalet for Civic-mindedness" is a project that expresses the Local Administration's desire to involve all citizens in the proper use of the city's common areas and to promote the conservation of the urban environment in order to maintain and improve the quality of life in our city.
It is an agreement and a commitment between the people and the city to achieve this end.

Location and timing

This project is currently being implemented in the city of L'Hospitalet and was presented on 20 February 1997. It has no ending date. The aim of the project is to create permanent and stable structures capable of providing new contexts of
action in the future to ensure improved quality of life for the city's inhabitants.

Previous situation

The situation in L'Hospitalet was deteriorating because a minority of citizens were not making good use of the city and were not respecting the state of well-being that had been achieved. Basically, the following problems were detected:

Mechanisms of action

The following mechanisms of action were developed to combat this situation:

Subsequent situation

Impact and lessons

This program has contributed to:


1. Situation before the Initiative Began
There is no better way of finding out what the situation of a city is than by polling the opinions of its inhabitants. The L'Hospitalet City Hall follows this premise and has made it a fundamental step in implementing management policies with the understanding that a local public administration must bear in mind the opinions of the citizens. "L'Hospitalet for Civic-mindedness" has its roots in this philosophy.

In this sense, the City Hall activated and carried out a series of studies and opinion polls to find out what the public was principally concerned about. The results expressed concerns that were not unlike those of the citizens of other cities
like ours because these problems are very widespread.

On the whole, the citizens of L'Hospitalet indicated that they were satisfied with life in their city and that conditions and public services were progressively being improved; they also
pointed out that the urban environment and, by extension, their quality of life could be improved by correcting the problems of dog excrement on sidewalks, graffiti on walls and façades of
buildings, uncontrolled advertising, destruction and deterioration of urban equipment through vandalism and the excessive noise produced by vehicles and other activities.

Thus, the City Hall's main reasons for implementing this project stem from these demands of the public and from the understanding that the Administration must concentrate, under optimum
conditions, on taking steps to promote positive frameworks capable of addressing the environmental challenges to come.

In the opinion polls on the quality of life, the citizens specified and established priorities as to the factors which defined their quality standards.

It was clear that in order to eradicate the uncivic behavior mentioned by the public as much as possible, the City Hall had to take action that would directly involve the greatest number of people in the organized society. Under no
circumstances can hierarchical structures be used to plan policies to deal with these problems if the public does not accept them as their own. In short, the City Hall was faced with the challenge of proposing that citizens sign a commitment with the local administration to work together to combat the incorrect use of the city by a minority of people that were chipping away at the level of welfare achieved.

The City Hall had to be the one responsible for promoting the project because L'Hospitalet did not have any associations, institutions or the like that worked from an overall, uniform and multidisciplinary perspective in this area.

Preparing Information and Clarifying Priorities

That was how the "L'Hospitalet for Civic-mindedness" project was presented on 20 February 1997: as a city project. This project was unanimously supported by all political parties, which signed the so-called Civic-mindedness Pact, and was met with consensus and support of the majority of citizens right from the start.

Specifically, this initiative involves association and collaboration between the City Hall and a number of organizations and sectors:

2. Formulation of Objectives, Strategies and Mobilization of Resources
The principal goal of this project, then, was to build the city of the 21st century with the highest quality of life, based on the involvement of all of the city's social and economic agents by developing a wide range of policies and measures.

To put this project into practice, a specialized department was set up which answered directly to the mayor's office. It was created in this way to be able to count on executive support and a specific organizational structure within the municipal organization chart. With the idea of ensuring that the action to be taken was carried out as effectively as possible, a study commission was set up and entrusted with drawing up a civic ordinance proposal, and a technical commission was created to coordinate and establish the priorities for ordinary management of the project. Normal or official participation of organized society was also taken into account and an advisory board was created which answered to the department head.

Different lines of action were planned. One of these lines of action included the Communication Plan, whose basic aim was to make the public aware of the existence of this city project. Because it is a project for the future, i.e., it does not terminate with the end of the mandate, different communication phases were designed. The first involved explaining the project and requesting that the entire community give its support basically through sign-up sheets, billboards, newspaper and radio ads, flyers, edicts and bus stop advertising panels. Then, sector campaigns were carried out in which the uncivic conduct to be eradicated was pointed out. Currently, the second phase is focusing on positive civic behavior to make people aware of what is considered proper civic conduct. Other communication activities included apre-movie advertisement in city cinemas and a project trademark that was printed on all the regular communication with citizens issued by the institution (letters, forms, direct marketing campaigns, etc.). Moreover, the contact with the on-municipal media was fundamental for transmitting our civic message.

The next line or mechanism of action involved creating a specialized section of the local police force in charge of inspecting, providing information, correcting and sanctioning specific anomalies in this area. All the agents in this section are popularly known as the "Civic Police". In the city they use electric motorcycles that do not pollute the environment and respect all environmental regulations.
Another line of action - perhaps the most important - was the promotion of civic education. This involves teaching the values of civic-mindedness. A fundamental part of this goal was to develop educational programs in schools so that children were involved and the future of the project was therefore guaranteed. The framework used was another vital educational project: "L'Hospitalet: City of Education". An educational plan was developed to offer a series of informal discussions during the school year and hold competitions and activities which promoted the values ofcivic-mindedness.

The City Hall also created specific regulations on civic-mindedness which grouped together all the sector ordinances in force governing the matters included in the project. These regulations cover the following areas: respecting public coexistence and peacefulness, using public equipment as intended, making sure dogs do not cause damage or become a nuisance, and fighting air, noise and waste pollution. Worth noting is that the ordinance not only stipulated citizens' obligations and rights, but it also established that sanctions should have the positive aim of making up for the damage done by doing volunteer community work or attending courses to learn about and avoid uncivic behavior.
The L'Hospitalet City Hall earmarks approximately 75 million pesetas per year on this program. This amount includes the Civic Department's budget and the expenditures that the different municipal areas and services indirectly make on this project through their actions (Communication Plan, investment in materials and technical equipment, activities programs). This figure does not include the cost of the personnel assigned to the project.
The sponsors also made contributions to the project, which were received through the City Hall's Sponsorship Plan for companies, to the tune of 12 million pesetas.

3. Process

The process was put into practice with citizen participation and with the multidisciplinary work coordinated and promoted by the Civic Department, based on the participation lines mentioned above.

"L'Hospitalet for Civic-mindedness" has also been included in the municipal Strategic Plan, thus ensuring its continuity in the future. The difficulties and problems that arose during implementation of the project were basically as follows:

4. Results achieved
February 1998 marked the first anniversary of the "L'Hospitalet for civic-mindedness" project and we can say that so far the experience has been positive. Success can be measured by looking at the following results:

We can safely say that, from the beginning, this project has caught the attention of the majority of the public and that its organization and execution are being copied by other cities in Spain.
At present, 76% of the people of the city are of the opinion that "L'Hospitalet for Civic-mindedness" will improve the quality of life in the city.


This project has involved undertaking action to ensure the continuity of the project in the future:

Lessons learned and Transferability

We believe that this Best Practice has been a trailblazer and leader in Spain in terms of its process, execution and results.

We understand that the project is completely transferable to other metropolitan communities. In fact, some local Spanish administrations have requested information and have used our experience as a model for their own.

5. The experience in numbers

Financial Profile:

1997 Budget: 75,213,829 ptas



1998 Budget: 80,000,000 ptas



Este documento se ha editado a partir de una versión inglesa.
Revisado por Ricardo García.

1998 Spanish Best Practices selected by the International Jury >
Ciudades para un Futuro más Sostenible
Búsqueda | Buenas Prácticas | Documentos | Boletín CF+S | Novedades | Convocatorias | Sobre la Biblioteca | Buzón/Mailbox
Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Grupo de Investigación en Arquitectura, Urbanismo y Sostenibilidad
Departamento de Estructuras y Física de la EdificaciónDepartamento de Urbanística y Ordenación del Territorio