In Zorrotzaurre, we unlock the meanwhile in urban regeneration to explore novel forms of learning and co-creation

Kuntshal IED, Mondragon University and Deusto University students will work in collaboration with international experts, grassroots and T-Factor local coalition to create temporary civic innovation projects

Zorrotzaurre is one of the 6 pilots that T-Factor EU project is developing across European Cities. In this case, placed at Bilbao,  the key mission is to leverage the meanwhile of urban regeneration to advance novel forms of learning and co-creation rooted in societal challenges. The pilot is focused as a unique opportunity for bridging higher education and communities on the ground, unlocking new placemaking practices that can contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable Zorrotzaurre. 

The project has created a large coalition of actors formed by Kunsthal IED, Mondragon University, Deusto University, the T-Factor local coalition partners Bilbao Ekintza, Tecnalia and Espacio Open, T-Factor international experts and grassroots initiatives located at Zorrotzaurre’s island. The objective  is  to work with new bottom-up collaborative approaches in order to build trust among the agents in the island and create new learning paths that could eventually foster a new generation of meanwhile and temporary use projects.

Zorrotzaurre social initiatives

Zorrotzaurre’s Pilot

Zorrotzaurre is currently one of the largest redevelopments in Bilbao, which aims to transform this former industrial site into a hub of creativity, innovation and social innovation. Prestigious universities such as IED Kunsthal, DigiPen and Mondragon University have recently settled in the island and others will soon come, joining an existing ecosystem of cultural and creative organisations that in the past 10 years have contributed to keeping the site alive and vibrant. 

This will provide the opportunity to further boost the transformation of the whole of Bilbao into a knowledge-based and cultural urban hub. However, the redevelopment of Zorrotzaurre also holds challenges around the future of the grassroots organisations that have been active in the area for years, and how to mitigate the risk of displacing their social and economic value as new tenants and high profile actors will establish on site. 

Acknowledging this challenging context, the main mission of the Zorrotzaurre Pilot is to explore how temporary uses can be testbeds for innovative collaborations between local Universities, grassroots organisations and thematic experts from T-Factor, advancing novel forms of learning and experimentation driven by urban challenges and rooted in collaborative creation of urban spaces. 

Linking higher education with the practice on the ground of community organisations can be a unique opportunity to test and advance new ‘civic curricula’ that allow young students to gain practical experience in civic responsibility and understand growing vulnerabilities through the lenses of placemaking and temporary uses. 

Besides, it is an opportunity to advance innovative ways of teaching and learning that put societal challenges at the very center of Universities’ missions and cross-sector collaboration, boosting imagination, interdisciplinarity, creative team-based abilities and, above all, capability for learning in complexity. 

3 prototypes in response to 3 local challenges

Within this context, the pilot will run three learning modules addressed to university students as part of their curricula, each focussed on a specific urban challenge:

  1. Urban design for sociality and wellbeing, with IED Kunsthal.
  2. A Circular Island, with Mondragon University.
  3. Climate Resilience at Neighbourhood level, with University of Deusto.

Each learning module will be steered by one of the three universities in collaboration with grassroots initiatives and local and international partners of T-Factor, that will accompany the students throughout the design and delivery of physical prototypes that are relevant to the challenges.