Sociópolis is a project fomented by the Generalitat Valenciana
for the construction of a new model neighbourhood of accessible
housing, in line with the modern tradition of investigating and
proposing new habitable environments that reflect the social reality
of the time.
The project promotes the construction of housing that responds to
the needs of the new types of family unit (young people, the elderly,
single-parent families, etc.), both owner-occupied and rented, in
a quality urban setting in which the landscaped areas, social amenities
and good architecture generate urban excellence.
Sociópolis was presented at the Valencia Biennial in 2003,
as a project in which 13 international architecture firms took part.
The project put forward a model of new urban development in which
housing and multifunctional amenities were integrated in an agricultural
environment, a continuation and updating of the model constituted
by the Mediterranean hortulus.
Following the presentation of the project it was decided to construct
a first neighbourhood of 2,500 homes in the La Torre district to
the south of the city of Valencia, on a 350,000 m2 site on the banks
of the new course of the diverted River Turia; the same principles
would be followed, but on a larger scale.
In this project the urban transformation is guided by a commitment
to ensuring the maximum protection for the existing huerta (one
of the traditional agricultural zones surrounding the city of Valencia)
irrigated with waters from the River Turia by way of channels originally
dug by the Arabs some 800 years ago. The new urban development reinforces
the protection of the landscape and the environment while at the
same time fulfilling a much-needed social function, making housing
available at a controlled price to a great number of people.
Within the neighbourhood has four well-conserved historic farmhouses,
and around these will be the focal points for ‘urban farm’
zones cared for by the local residents. The neighbourhood will also
promote social interaction and a sense of community by means of
sports facilities such as a soccer pitch, an athletics circuit,
games areas and a skating rink.
All of the proposed buildings are oriented toward the central landscaped
zone, which has a surface area of 120,000 m2, with direct access
from the peripheral traffic circuit running round the complex.
In addition to residential blocks and towers the neighbourhood will
have amenity buildings accommodating a hybrid programme, around
which the public life of the neighbourhood will be organized. The
public buildings will have rental housing intended for young people
under thirty and elderly people, and at the same time all of the
buildings will fulfil their public vocation by means of programmes
that encourage social relations, such as an arts centre, a kindergarten,
a sports zone, a social centre, a youth centre and studios for artists.
The architects participating in the project include Vicente Guallart,
Abalos & Herreros, Manuel Gausa, Eduardo Arroyo, José
María Torres Nadal, Sogo Arquitectos, Willy Muller, Antonio
Lleyda / Eduardo de la Peña, Toyo Ito, MVRDV, Greg Lynn FORM,
Duncan Lewis, José Luis Mateo, Kim Young-Joon, JM Lin, Jose
Maria Lozano and Maria Colomer.