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1998 Spanish Best Practices selected by the International Jury >

Environmental Action for River Segre -"La Mitjana", Lleida (Spain)

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

Reference Date: 26-07-98

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

United Nations Region: Europe
Ecological region: river basin
Activity: town/city
Partnerships: Local Authority. Foundation. Central Government. Regional Government.

Themes = Children and Youth: 0-9 years; 10 years to adult; children's participatory planning and leadership development; community support programmes. Environmental Management: ecological sustainability; urban greening. Land Use Management: land-use planning; open space conservation.

Main contact:
Ayuntamiento (Local Authority)
Josep M. Llop Tornè
Plaza Paeria 11
Spain 25007
Tel: +34-97 37 00 309
Fax: +34-97 32 38 953

Regional Government of Catalonia (Regional Government)
Rambla Ferran 21
Tel: +34-97 32 21 588
Partner One Support Type: Financial Support

Ministry for Development (Central Government)
Plaza Santa Joan 22
Tel: +34-97 32 47 108
Partner Three Support Type: Financial Support

Caixa D'Estalvis de Catalunya (Foundation)
Joaquim Llach Mascaró
Provença 261-265
Tel: +34-93 48 45 900
Fax: +34-93 48 45 916
Partner Three Support Type: Financial Support

Nominating Organization
Marta García Nart
Spanish National Committee
Paseo de la Castellana 67
28071 Madrid
Tel: +34-91 597 75 72
Fax: +34-91 597 86 04

Financial Profile:
Total budget for investment pesetas 4,044 million (approximate)
Contribution from the partner (A) 60%
Contribution from the partner (B) 27.5%
Contribution from the partner (C) 1%
City Council of Lleida 11.5%


Creation of a large riverside public park (100 hectares Mitjana + 45 hectares of riverside) which crosses through the city.

Implementation of the process for public works and restoration of the environment with environmental education projects.

Creation of an environmental education centre (la Mitjana) and recovery of an area of natural interest for the use of the citizens.

Key Dates

1982-1986 flooding of the city, municipal call for works and first agreement with FECSA (owner of the area of natural interest).
1986-1992 studies for the area of natural interest, preparation of the plan for the recovery and management of "la Mitjana".
1993-1998 execution of the works and management phase.


1. Situation before the initiative began

It could be said that the flood of the river Segre that caused an inundation of part of the city of Lleida (population of 110.000
inhabitants) at 1982, was the main reason for the citizens to claim the improvment and restauration of the river, that conduced to actuations that will be explained below.

Citizens of Lleida always felt close to their river, due to it runs through the main part of the city. During the decades of economical and urbanistical expansion of the city between years 1950-1970, the river was not integrated to the city, and therfore it became an important barrier between the center of the city and the neibourhoods of the left border of the river (there were only two bridges with a distance between them of 2 km, in a urban space of 3,5 km), as well of the marginal encampments of shaks, habited by people of gypsy ethnia, or by marginaded people. The river was keeping redoubts of riper vegetation, specially well preserved at the entrance of the city (in a place called "La Mitjana", but with clear processes of degradation that endangered its conservation. The water quality was very poor due to the direct throw of urban wastewater at the river, leaving great quanities of waste at the riverside, and the fluvial area was principally used - freetime, wood extraction, car wash...- by pepole of the marginal encampments and some spoting people (fisherman and canoeist mainly), specially at the upper part of the river, at the beggining of the city.

Meanwhile, the townhall began to promote the organization and the association of the citizens of each neiburgood through out the neighbouhood associations and the sportive clubs (fisherman,
canoeis), by the subvention and divulgation of activities, cession of halls, etc.

2. Preparing information and clarifying priorities

The initiative has always been leaded and coordinated by the townhall of Lleida. Moreover, the coordination of the diferent institutions involved, and the establishment of important
coopeation links with educational entities of the city, has been very important. It could be said that this is not a formal project in their begining, better than this, it was the idea of river that the city and the citizens wants and a group of coordinated actions with the same global objectives.

The priorities have been the improvement of water quality and the proteccion of the people and their properties from future innundations, and the move of the marginals encampments situaded at flood areas, and the protection of a natural reserve, of high ecological value, situated at the entrance of the city.
All this actions have been made, with the goal to incorporate at the diferent parts of the process, the social groups involved.

3. Formulation of objectives, strategies and mobilization of resorces

The objectives of the project have been the following:

In order to achieve this goals, a part of the technical considerations, it was also taken into account the integration in the whole process of the citizenship participation.

The strategies were related to foment the public participation at the project stage, specially in the ordenation of the Mitjana and at the project of canalization of the river, that was followed by
ecologist associations of citizens, arquitect college, neighbour association of Pardinyes, etc.
Also, incorporating activities of environmental education at the process (reconnoitring of the Mitjana, guided visist at EDAR), relating all of the educative community to the discovery and the
land management. Convenant with the Educational Sciences Institute (ICE) of the University and strategy of maximum implication of the teachers in the working out the diferent didactic proposals and the work with students of all educative levels, including research at university.
There were colaboration agreement with Work-shop School that works with young students with academic difficulties, that facilitates them the future employment through out the restoration and preservation of the Mijana, and afterall the urban park of the city.

The achivement of the economical resources was a very important conditonant because the total cost of the actions was beyond the possibilties of investment of a local public institution of a
medium city. It was of high relevance the partial actions done by the state public institution and the authonomic public institutions that paid the total cost of the construction of the urban park
of the river Segre, of two bridges, of the waste water network, and of the wastewater treatment station (EDAR). The Maintown, has invested in another brigde, the adequacy of the natural park
of La Mitjana, and the creation of an Environmental Education School. All this actions were stimulated and negociated politically by the goverment team of the Maintown whom, together with the technical leadership, has leaded and coordinated a great part of the actions (specially those related to urbanistic matters: construction of riper park, the wastewater treatment station (EDAR), the bridges, etc).

4. Process

Which problems have been appearing through out the process and how they have been solved?

There were social problems of movement of marginal communities encamped at the riversides. Partial solution were to improve basic facilities, prebuilt housing, continuous atention by social
services, scolarization, edible water, etc..
Nowadays it has still not been possible integrate this housings to the rest of the city due to the lack of pact between the local public administrations and the authonomical one, both responsables of this case.

There were problems of improvement of the water quality of the river, too. It depends of a proper sanitation of the upper waters of the river, and it is necessari an increase of the water flow, specially in summer time (at upper parts of the river 60 m3/s of conceded water is directed to the Serós channel, with a return of only 2 m3/s to its way of the city, some days in summer). This
problem has not been solved yet, it could be studied the possibility to buy a part of the concession of water but it is first needed the aprovement of the "Hidrological Planning of Spain"
that will control the ecological flows of the rivers and that probably will allow the expropiation of part of the concession.

5. Results achieved

There are fisical results, who anyone can see if visits the city, and social results who are inside the citizens.

Among the fisical results, the more importants are: the urban park has been created and supresses the barrier effect of the river in the city, the water quality has been improved, a Center of
Environmental Education has been established, and proposals of different collectives incorporated to the process have appeared (proposals of new projects with the fishermen, for instance). Among
the social ones, people participate with the Environmental Education projects organized at the city, there are a cooperative from the Whork-shop school who takes care of the river park, and
citizens of Lleida use the river park.

The main impact on the practices of the social, environmental and economical features of the city has been the creation of a large urban park widely known and utilised by the citizens, the environmental restoration of a riverside (La Mitjana) that can be used as a model of how the riverside of the rest of the river extension should be, and how the protection of a fluvial ecosystem of high natural interest should be.

There are also positive influence of the dinamization of the comercial centre and the city-center facilities (with the attached problems of the historical center of the city), in improve the access and acting as a point of atraction.

The results have been measured in a qualitative way and are represented by the accions done and in the number of people that uses the mentioned areas and the facilities created with them ( utilization of the river: 5000 primary students anually participate in ôLleida en Viuö, 600 adult people in guided visits, etc, agreement signed 6 years ago with Educacional Sciences Institut (ICE) of the University, strong cooperative).

Whe have detected a change of atitudes and behaviour towards the utilization of the La Mitjana Park in contrast of what it used to be.

Unfortunately, some drop-out uses have not desapeared but moved to other locations. However there is a higher collective consciousness of the needs of the preservation of the nature reserve.

6. Sustain

There is not a great changes in the sostenibility of the city but we can detected little and important changes who add interest to work in the same direction:

The global project has been possible thanks to the important economical contribution from external sources. An important public investment in urbanistic actions that exclusively require funding for their maintenance.

The environmental education is a basic instrument for the management of the environment. Wihtout the incoporation of the people to management of the living space, the regulation measures, and the constant watchfulness is not efective enough. This is a lesson specially statde in Natural Parks of Catalonia like Collserola, Zona Volc.nica de la Garrotxa, Aiguamolls de lAEEmprtd.à from which it was used the idea

Thinking a global idea or project were you can add diferent inititives from institutions is very important (it needs important coordination, yet) and, ever, working with the citizens who will be the users and the people who enjoy the city.

7. Transferability

Like we say in the explanation, the most important learns of our initative are the idea of the environmental education as a basic instrument for management of the environement, and the need of
have a global idea or project were you can add diferent inititives from institutions. We think that this is our mean learned lesson and our mean aportation to another experiencies: show how it is

Our project have been visited from town council tecnicians of another middle cities in Catalonia (Spain) like Vic, Manresa or Mataro.

Documents from local press and local journals.
See press dossier.

Este documento se ha editado a partir de una versión inglesa.
Revisado por Gloria Gómez Muñoz.

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