Ciudades para un Futuro más Sostenible
Búsqueda | Buenas Prácticas | Documentos | Boletín CF+S | Novedades | Convocatorias | Sobre la Biblioteca | Buzón/Mailbox
1998 Spanish Best Practices selected by the International Jury >

RIVA Project for Ciutat Vella: Rehabilitation of Valencia (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. ( Best Practices Database.)
País/Country: Spain

United Nations Region: Europe
Ecological region: Coastal
Activity: City / town
Partnerships: Local government. Central government

Themes = Architecture and Urban Design: historic preservation; sustainable community design. Housing: access to housing finance; affordable housing. Land Use Management: land-use planning.

Main contact:
Jose María García Zarco or César Jiménez Alcañíz
Oficina Riva-Ciutat Vella. Conselleria de Obras Públicas, Urbanismo y Transportes. Generalitat Valenciana. (Regional Government)
C/ Palma, 5-bajo
46022 Valencia
Tel: +34-96 386 55 51
Fax: +34-96 386 55 52

Miguel Domínguez
Ayuntamiento de Valencia. (Local Government)
Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 1
46001 Valencia
Tel: +34-96 352 54 78
Fax: +34-96 362 81 62
Administrative support

Ministerio de Fomento. (Central Government)
Paseo de la Castellana, 67
28071 Madrid
Financial support

Nominating organization:
Comité Nacional Español
D. Marta García Nart
Paseo de la Castellana 67
Ministerio de Fomento
Madrid 28071
Tel: +34-91 597 75 72
Fax: +34-91 597 86 04

Key Dates

16/7/92 Signing of agreement between the City of Valencia Local Authority and the Autonomous Regional Government (Generalitat Valenciana).
14/9/92 Creation of the RIVA-Ciutat Vella Office.
3/11/94 Inclusion of the work being carried out in the inner-city district of Velluters within the European Urban programme.
9/5/95 Agreement between the Ministry of Fomento and the Autonomous Regional Government.
4/98 Signing of new agreement between the City of Valencia Local Authority and the Autonomous Regional Government. (RIVA 2).


In 1992 the Historical Centre of Valencia was in a state of dilapidation and decay, which without a shadow of a doubt was leading to its social and architectural ruin.
As a consequence of this situation the Regional Autonomous Government and the City Local Authority jointly signed an agreement of collaboration under the name "Regeneration Project of Valencia" i.e.RIVA project.
From the start the administrators in charge of overseeing Project RIVA understood that the project required the co-ordination of all the different groups involved, in order to achieve the Project's objectives. Thus from the outset of the Project there has been close consultation with the neighbours andresidents who live in the inner-city districts affected by the Project. Without this consultation and participation any past, present or future effort would be worthless. The RIVA project, during its five year existence, has managed to rescue this emblematic zone of our city from its progressive fall into dilapidation and deprivation and has turned this decline around, moving it towards its recuperation. The achievements of the Project are now beginning to bear fruit. 3,500 homes rehabilitated, 45 buildings used for social or cultural purposes, the development of more than 21,000 squared metres of land and interventions in buildings of National Heritage. The experience has made it clear to us, the importance of this type of intervention and therefore its continuation with a new Project RIVA for the period 1998 to 2002. In this way, we will recuperate our Historical Centre, making it more habitable and able to draw on facilities with activities that take place from morning right through to night.


1. Situation Before the Initial Development:
Amongst all the large European cities, Valencia can count itself as having one of the largest and extensive Historical City Centres (1,730,000m2) in the continent. From the century 2B.C. it has seen a Roman settlement, an Arab extension and later the Christian expansion which has given us the five inner-city districts that today make up the "Ciutat Vella":
Carmen, Velluters, Mercat, Seu-Xerea and Universitat-San Francesc.

During the second half of this century , abandonment and urban decay have considerably tarnished the splendour of the Ciutat Vella. There has been a rapid increase in urban deprivation both social and economical which has had the effect of the loss of 57.3% of local residents, many areas now are only used as offices or places of work during the day, the ageing of the resident population, and the appearance of pockets of marginalisation.

In 1992 given the clear decline of the Historical Centre, together with the fact that the city was a regional capital made the City of Valencia Local Authority and the Autonomous Regional Government come together to sign an Agreement of joint intervention in the development of a Regeneration Project (Project RIVA) outlined and designed by the Generalitat Valenciana.(Local Autonomous Regional Government).

2. Objectives
Project RIVA was presented as a co-ordinated package of measures covering a wide number of areas (urban, social, housing, commercial, cultural) whose main objectives are:

  1. To maintain the level of population that presently lives in the historical Centre and attract new residents.
  2. Obtain the upgrading of the buildings, the creation of the social services both cultural and educational, putting them in the most "run-down areas" which today are occupied by the poorest residents in the city.
  3. To achieve the active participation within the project of different social groups and especially those that represent the residents so that the project isn't rejected but on the contrary accepted and supported by them.
  4. To make Public Sector intervention of quality that will serve as a reference for Private Sector intervention.

3. Process
14 September 1992: The Autonomous Regional Government passed the decree 158 in which it declared the Area of Urban Regeneration in the Ciutat Vella with the objective of:

With the objective of reinforcing this intervention in 1995, an agreement of collaboration was signed between the Central Government and the Regional Administration for the regeneration of the Historical Centre of Valencia to carry out this great objective of revitalising the Historical Centre, the Generalitat Valenciana established different levels of intervention:

Together with the regeneration of residential buildings incentives have been created for the recuperation of individual buildings, where cultural and social activities can be offered which until now the Historical Centre clearly lacks.
In this way, linking the renovation of residential buildings with the implantation of services, a zone will be created to live in that has facilities offering activities from morning until night.

Moreover we have Direct Works, which are specific regeneration projects in diverse and different parts of the Historical Centre, such as public spaces, green areas, the renovation of buildings or the conservation of buildings National Heritage. These type of interventions we can find scattered throughout the Historical Centre.

Also of importance are the specific intensive projects labelled "Unidades de Actuación". These are Public Sector Initiatives created to help the total regeneration of zones where there is a high level of decay and dilapidation. To achieve this the Generalitat Valenciana uses "Compulsory Purchase" to acquire these areas. The initiative includes the temporary re-housing of the families affected with the option for them to return to their original homes, once these are rehabilitated, being able to obtain grants for the purchase or rent of these new homes. At the same time new homes,previously empty, can be offered on the market, therefore attracting new residents to the area.

The RIVA-Ciutat Vella Office was created to oversee and co-ordinate all these different actions. This entity is responsible for managing and making available the grants that are applied for from the Public Administration by the local citizen. Moreover, it provides technical, economical and legal assistance and/or assessment, always free of charge, to those who need it, responding to requests personally.

Also it has the co-operation of the neighbour associations, technical support of the College of Architects, the Superior School of Architecture of the University Polytechnic of Valencia.

Achieved Results
Indirect Works
A variety of improvements whether in living conditions, roofing, street fronts or other parts have been carried out in 3,500 homes, benefiting from the system of grants made available to residents. The interest of the local residents has been exceptional, way above the original forecasts of Project RIVA.

If the response of the local population has been better than the most optimistic original predictions, the same has to be said for the decision taken by a number of important private entities to move their headquarters or have representations in the Historical Centre. Societies, foundations, and associations with social and educational objectives have made use of the grants and financial help included in the Project RIVA to move themselves into the Ciutat Vella. In this way the Historical Centre is seeing a resurgence in a variety of university, professional, cultural and commercial activities, that are contributing to give it back its social and civic dynamism, with a sense of community.

Direct Works

Different works have been carried out directly, these include the regeneration of public spaces, with street re-urbanisation, the creation of new open spaces and the modernisation of the electrical system, water piping, telephone network and drainage.
As part of the works carried out on buildings of National Heritage and patrimonial value, restoration work has been done on "Iglesia y Colegio de las Escuelas Pias", "Iglesia de los Santos Juanes" and the blocks of workers' houses in C/ Na Jordana.

Work is presently being carried out in creating a group of homes by public promotion, which will ultimately be for those people who come under the "Unidades de Actuacion". These homes are almost all found in the two inner-city districts of Carmen and Velluters, these areas being where the majority of the "Unidades de Actuacion" are going to take place. These buildings are being offered to those residents affected by the Compulsory Purchase, at "Unidades de Actuación" N. 5 and N. 21 of Carmen district for purchase or rent. The homes that are left over unoccupied afterwards, will go on to the market. With this strategy the present population in the area will be maintained while new residents will move into the zone. In the same way, work will be carried out in Velluters, where most of the work will take place over the next few years.


Analysis of Results

Strong Points:

Weak Points:


Better estetic and functional quality of the urban surroundings (pedestrianized streets, new open spaces, improvement in water, heating, lighting, telephone and gas infrastructures), the recuperation of specific buildings and works carried out on buildings of National Heritage.
An improvement in the living conditions of homes.
Co-operation and collaboration between the Autonomous Regional Government and the Local City Authority and the active role of social organisations in the recuperation of the Historical Centre.
Guarantee of the continuation of the process of recuperation of the Historical Centre by means of a system of co-operation and collaboration between the different Administrations with the signing of a new agreement for a New Project RIVA.

Situation after the works carried out

The period of 5 years that has passed during which Project RIVA has been in operation, allows on analysis of what has been achieved and a re-adjustment with the aim of carrying out the project more efficiently and effectively.

The implementation of Project RIVA, has impulsed the indirect works, and encouraged the residents to renovate their own homes. This has achieved a transformation in the "Ciutat Vella" piece by piece. The result in notable in zones such as the district of Carmen where one can appreciate the attractive surroundings which are also in a process of continual renovation. However in other inner-city districts such as Velluters, the results haven't been as good, given the social problems that exist in these districts.

Given this situation, a change in the level of operations has to be made in Project RIVA. If a real breakthrough is going to be made to turnaround the steady income of deprivation an delapidation in some districts, the scale of theoperations has to be changed.
Complete fragments of a district, with homes, shops, infrastructure, facilities have to be developed. These more far-reaching works will not only achieve the regeneration of the area that the district occupies, but will also provoke activities within it's boundaries.

As a pilot project with these characteristics and incorporated in a new stage of Project RIVA a model is being planed for the inner district of Velluters, included in the URBAN Initiative of the European Union.

With these assumptions, the Agreement of Co-operation and Collaboration between the Local City of Valencia Authority and the Autonomous Regional Government is being revised so that the development of Project RIVA 2 can go ahead with an investment of 39.490 million pesetas during the period 1998-2002 in which specific promises will be undertaken by both administrations regarding housing, shops, social services, tourism and culture.

We think that Project RIVA is a good exponent of "a Good Practice" since it builds a habitable city that respects the environment.
Attention has to be drawn to the integrated treatment of urban problems, the great effort of co-ordinating the different administrations involved and the participation of social agents.

5. The experience in numbers
Financial Profile

Budget years 1992-1997: 18.635 million pesetas

Budget 1998-2002: 39.667 million pesetas


de Miguel, Eduardo
(1997) "Ocho viviendas de realojo en Valencia. España" (AV Vivienda Mejor number 67 september-october 1997. N. pages: 86-89)

(1997) "El RIVA adjudica 15 pisos para realojar vecinos" (Levante (newspaper) 26/07/97)

Ventura Meliá, R. (1997) La restauración del testero de los Santos Juanes descubre una fachada monumental (Levante (newspaper) 6/08/97 Page 6 )

(1997) La iniciativa privada colaborará en rehabilitar el centro de Valencia (El mundo (newspaper) 8/12/97)

Niño, Ana "El nuevo convenio RIVA potenciará la financiación de viviendas en el casco antiguo" (La Clau, n. 181. Pages 20, 21)

Moreno, Paco (1998) "Cultura incluye en el nuevo Plan Riva la intervención en todos los monumentos del centro histórico" (Las Provincias (newspaper) 7/12/98. Page 32)

Cartagena, Lui Fdo. (1997) "La iniciativa privada puede y debe complementar las actuaciones de la administración en centros históricos" (ARCHIVAL, number 13. October 1997. Pages 4-5)

Zapater Colomer, José Fco. (1997) "Edificio de viviendas" (Rehabilitación. Number 5. January-Febrary 1997. Pages 6-10.)

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