How can the site contribute to the productive city?
Al-Azraq Square plays a vital role in the heart of Alcoy. It connects the Eixample district to the Zona Nord district, the Viaducte district and the historic town centre. It is also adjacent to the city's northern industrial zone, the Cotes Altes and Cotes Baixes industrial estates. The northern zone's population is approximately 17,000 inhabitants, with 13,500 in the expansion district. This centre of gravity is therefore home to half of the city's population. Initially, craft industries are not proposed as a new economic base, and instead, the focus is on the contribution of tertiary uses to the productive city. The site owners are looking for an innovative vision, encouragement for entrepreneurial initiatives and a way to attract talent.
The main urban transformations envisaged that will affect the site include, firstly, the Alcoy Structural Master Plan, open for public information and consultation in September 2016. Secondly, the Interior Reform Plan for Al-Azraq, envisaged in the current planning blueprint, is also extremely important. In addition, the Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategy identifies the main problems and challenges faced by the municipality. Its guidelines strive to ensure sustainable long-term development. The nerve centre of the future city of Alcoy will be the area in the triangle formed by the three main nodes of the strategy: the University (Research), Al-Azraq Square (Innovation) and the Rodes block (Development).
Al-Azraq Square marks the confluence of two major thoroughfares in Alcoy: Juan Gil-Albert Avenue, the main northern exit artery, and Hispanitat Avenue, a boulevard that marks the character of the Zona Nord district. This urban void is the site of the former Alcoy-Gandia railway terminus, in operation from 1892 to 1969. Pare Poveda Street, which also converges on the square, has also come to the fore since the opening of the Francisco Aura Bridge, as it provides a direct vehicle connection to the A-7 motorway. All this leads to the conclusion that Al-Azraq Square is a strategic location for the city's configuration.
How is Production Considered in the Urban Diversity Program?
During the citizen participation process for the Al-Azraq Square plan, several uses for the project area have been mooted: residential (closed city block with a courtyard or free-standing building), tertiary (shops, laboratories or offices), facilities (car park, open or retirement space). This is why the design of a multipurpose building that can equip the area with many of the suggested uses is a positive, attractive aspect in the public participation process. However, bearing in mind that the immediate environs are a high-density residential area, it would seem most appropriate for the predominant focus of this building to be productive uses that supplement the pervasive residential use of this zone. Another important aspect of the project is sustainability and aspects that allow almost zero energy consumption. Resources that create self-sufficient buildings should be a major focal point throughout, from the underground levels to the roof. Another complementary aspect is the transformation of the main adjacent avenues into productive streets. The innovation node should encourage Hispanidad Avenue, Juan Gil Albert Avenue and Pare Poveda Street in this aspect, bearing in mind moreover that they are major links for the whole city. Finally, sustainability should also included in the management of the buildings in the time dimension. The proposed uses should therefore ensure a balance and permit their viability over time.