Zaragoza, Spain
City population: 687448
Duration: 2008 – 2011
Implementation status: Completed
Scale: Meso-scale: Regional, metropolitan and urban level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Previous derelict area, Other
Last updated: October 2021

"After decades of abandonment and deterioration, Zaragoza took advantage of the opportunity of the Expo 2008, to form a new relationship with the Ebro River, transforming empty, inaccessible, degraded and unsafe banks into places of encounter and representation. Public works on the Ebro were designed as structures with various functions." (Ref.3)

Ebro River General Plan
Source: Ref. 2, Zaragoza City Council


Nature-based solution

  • Grey infrastructure featuring greens
  • Green playgrounds and school grounds
  • Riverbank greens
  • Parks and urban forests
  • Large urban parks or forests
  • Botanical gardens
  • Green corridors and green belts
  • Other
  • Blue infrastructure
  • Rivers/streams/canals/estuaries
  • Green areas for water management
  • Swales and filter strips
  • Other

Key challenges

  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Flood protection
  • Stormwater and rainfall management and storage
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Regeneration, land-use and urban development
  • Regulation of built environment
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Social interaction
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Enabling physical activity
  • Creation of opportunities for relaxation and recreation
  • Cultural heritage and cultural diversity
  • Preservation of natural heritage
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape/infrastructure


Creation of new green areas, Strategy, plan or policy development, Management of rivers and other blue areas

Project objectives

- Transform the areas of disrepair into areas of leisure and meeting places. - Return the nature to the landscape and take advantage of the energies present in the environment - Maintain and empower the cultural heritage - Procure diversity in the form and maintenance of the different sections in relation to their natural and cultural characteristics - Excel in the quality and use of the infrastructures - Facilitate the accessibility to the space and the continuous longitudinal and crossway use of the pathways - Promote and integrate multiple and compatible functions to satisfy the necessities of the citizens (hydraulic defence, water sports, kiosks) - Guarantee cost-effectiveness/ use in its environmental, social and economic aspects. (Ref. 3)

Implementation activities

2000 to 2005- Proposals for the intervention plan begin parallel/ as part of the Expo 2008 Plans. 17 different interventions/ rehabilitation projects form part of the Riberas project, including installments of pedestrian pathways and bicycle paths Sub-interventions of the whole project grouped into three main actions: 1. Parque del Agua and the banks of the Ranillas sections: Integrate and harmonize an area of 150 hectares to make the park and its banks cohesive through the building of fluvial groves, forests, botanic park, water canal, river beaches, urban gardens, sporting areas, school and theater for kids, kiosks, restaurants. 2. River park of the right bank: park corridor that allows the continuous access to the banks of the river . 3. The pathway of the left bank (Ref 3, 359-369)

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups


Management set-up

  • Government-led

Type of initiating organisation

  • Multilateral organisation
  • Regional government
  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Unknown

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The intervention was developed as part of the Zaragoza Expo 2008, led by the Expoagua Society 2008 other bodies involved were the Ministry of Development (Fomento), Hydrological Confederation of the Ebro, General Deputy of Aragon, and the City (Ayuntamiento) of Zaragoza. (ref 3, 355) It also involved the support of professional associations, the university, and civil society (ref 3, 356)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Unknown
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (Plan of the Ebro Riverbanks 2001, this plan was designed to address the rehabilitation and conditioning of the riverbanks of the Ebro. (ref 4))


Total cost

More than €4,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Public regional budget
  • Public local authority budget
  • Other

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget
  • Direct funding or subsidy

Non-financial contribution


Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Strengthened capacity to address climate hazards/natural disasters
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Increased protection against flooding
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Enhanced protection and restoration of freshwater ecosystems
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area
  • Increased ecological connectivity across regeneration sites and scales

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Improved access to urban green space
  • Increased opportunities for social interaction
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Gain in activities for recreation and exercise
  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Promotion of cultural diversity
  • Protection of natural heritage
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape / infrastructure
  • Increased sense of place identity, memory and belonging
  • Increased appreciation for natural spaces

Type of reported impacts

Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports


Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records


Ebro River before Intervention
Source: Ref. 3
Ebro River after Intervention
Source: Ref. 3