The Neighbourhood Improvement Programme aims to curb the deterioration of urban areas that are deteriorating, improve living conditions for residents and promote social cohesion. The rehabilitation of these areas is pursued to rehabilitate them and reduce the territorial imbalance not only from an urban point of view, but also from a social, economic and environmental standpoint.
The Neighbourhood Improvement Programme works in urban areas of the municipality where there are processes of urban regression, which concentrate on demographic problems (caused by loss or overgrowth of the population) and economic and social disadvantages. In many cases, they are old quarters or old towns, suburban extensions made without proper planning and services, housing estates or marginal urbanisation areas. In these areas, problems of a diverse nature often converge, which in many cases affect the conservation status of buildings, urbanisation and utility networks; existence of public spaces; availability of services; concentration of groups of residents with special needs; accessibility by road and public transport; economic development; commercial activity and citizen security. These circumstances adversely affect the well-being of residents in these areas and are an impediment to social cohesion and economic development.
To promote the renewal and rehabilitation of neighbourhoods, Law 2/2004, on the improvement of neighbourhoods, towns and urban areas that require special attention, created a financial instrument, the Neighbourhood Programme Promotion Fund, which provides funding to councils that want to develop a programme in a neighbourhood or urban area that, due to its characteristics, requires special attention.
A special care area is considered any neighbourhood (or geographically differentiable urban area) used for the most part as first residences, that is or could be found, if no action is taken, in one of the following situations:
a) A process of urban regression, such as the gradual deterioration of buildings or the persistence of service deficits, or the insufficient or poor quality of urbanisation, road networks, sanitation and public space.
b) A demographic problem caused by loss or ageing of the population, or by growth too fast to be incorporated from an urban or service standpoint.
c) A characteristic presence of particularly serious economic, social or environmental problems.
d) A persistence of significant social and urban deficits, and a problem of local development.
Contents of the Neighbourhood Improvement Programme
1.- The Programme must necessarily establish an institutional framework that encourages residents to participate in diagnosing the problems that affect the neighbourhood, defining the strategy to be followed and proposing measures to be adopted. Additionally, in monitoring the actions and assessing their impact, meaning in governance of the Programme. This framework translates into:
– Setting up an office, located in the neighbourhood, where day-to-day management of the projects takes place and that brings Programme management closer to the people.
– Creating a committee to monitor and assess the actions with representatives from the administrations involved, and representatives from local entities, the economic and social stakeholders, and citizen associations with ties to the urban area.
2.- The different projects contained in the Neighbourhood Improvement Programme must act in one of the following fields:
– Improving public space and providing green zones
– Rehabilitating and equipping collective elements in buildings
– Providing services for collective use
– Incorporating information technology into buildings
– Fostering the sustainability of urban development, especially with regard to energy efficiency, water savings and recycling waste
– Promoting gender equality in the use of urban space and services
– Carrying out programmes to foster social, urban and economic improvement of the neighbourhood.
– Ensuring accessibility and removing architectural barriers