Tecnología y Ciudadanía

Saragossa towards Knowledge Society

Zaragoza hacia la Sociedad del Conocimiento


Executive Summary

2. Context

  • 2.1.Growth, productive structure and technological change
  • 2.2. Technological policies
    • 2.2.1. eEurope
    • 2.2.2. España.es
    • 2.2.3. Initiatives in Aragon
  • 2.3. The techno-city
  • 2.4. Strategic analysis
    • 2.4.1. Diagnosis of Ebropolis
    • 2.4.2. Other documents

3. Saragossa's project

  • 3.1. City model
  • 3.2. Delay, opportunities, differentiation
  • 3.3. Our vision
  • 3.4. General objective of the Plan
  • 3.5. Strategic objectives
  • 3.6. Principles
  • 3.7. Working areas
  • 3.8. Acting programs
  • 3.9. Tools
  • 3.10. Planning

Specific actions

  • 4.1. Electronic City Hall
  • 4.2. Digital Mile
  • 4.3. Citizens Wireless Intranet
  • 4.4. Free software
  • 4.5. Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation

Appendix: Digital Mile


A process under way

The aim of this document is to express the general criteria that the new municipal government of Saragossa wants to apply in relation with new technologies, the economic promotion of the city and the advance towards Knowledge Society.

These are concepts and ideas collected through an informal debate of several months in which a relative wide group of people has taken part (professionals, businessmen, specialists, technology entrepreneurs or simply hackers1). Many of them come from free software communities who have added to the debate the invaluable teaching of showing that a cooperative, selforganized, unselfish and, why not?, amusing work constitutes a source of creativity and knowledge generally unbeatable, as it can be realised every day in the world of software and it is worthwhile testing in other fields The document is also the reflection of the commitment made to the electorate by the parties which has formed the municipal government after the elections of May 2003 and is inspired also in the strategic reflection made in this field by different institutions and entities.

In any case, this is the beginning of a process that pretends to be open, shared and able to generate its own mechanisms of correction. This preliminary work will be enhanced in the next months by the contributions of different specialized technical helps, the opinions of the newly created Sectorial Board of Science and Technology with a wide representation of citizens, and the wisdom of a Committee of International Experts. All this should culminate in the passing 1 This is a good opportunity to rehabilitate the use of the word hacker in its true meaning, which has no relation with computer criminals usually refered to with that name Saragossa towards Knowledge Society by the Municipal Plenary Session of an action plan for Saragossa related to Knowledge Society. In this process that is pretended to be developed along the last four-month period of the year 2003, some of the proposals raised here could be modified. It exists also the possibility of adding other ones not envisaged here, not only coming from the City Hall but also from other agents.

Ricardo Cavero Arcéiz

City Councilor of Science and Technology
Saragossa City Council
September 2003


The city of Saragossa -620.000 inhabitants, located in the north-east of Spain and capital of the Autonomous Community of Aragon- begins the XXI century with great expectations. Its good quality of life, low unemployment level, a considerable degree of social cohesion and important projects of urban transformation (high speed train, new ring roads and accesses, the Expo 2008, the logistic platform, construction of thousand of state-subsidized houses, new transport networks with subway and tram, etc.), constitute a solid base to boost a new era of growth and welfare.

We must take advantage of this boost to develop all the potential that Saragossa has in the sector of advanced business services, insufficiently represented in its present productive structure. That would allow to create skilled jobs, one of the lacks in the labor market of the city.

To carry out that strategy of economic diversification it is advisable that Saragossa could adopt an adequate profile as city technologically innovative, to increase its national and international projection and to have more capacity to attract investment and talent. This objective matches the strategic advice that identifies that opportunity as included in the advance with strong determination towards an Information or Knowledge Society.

The urban transformation that Saragossa is experimenting is also an opportunity to outline new spatial configurations that cities will adopt in the information age, not only in houses but also in places for working and leisure. The process of change that the globalized society is living opens an age of new citizen rights. The information technologies can contribute to make more efficient, transparent and shared governments, and also that people can have a bigger capacity of social interaction and professional development. Anyway, 5 these are objectives of general interest which are not implicit in technology but in the use that we can do of that technology.

Objectives and actions

Saragossa faces this process of social and economic transformation with the will to turn into one of the European cities leading that inevitable transition towards a digitalized economy. With that aim, it has been proposed the launching of an action program to develop Knowledge Society with the following main objectives:

  • Carry out the establishment of innovating companies, to boost economic growth and the creation of skilled jobs.
  • Use of new technologies to give more efficient public services.
  • Guarantee to every citizen, entity, company and institution the full exercise of the right of access to communication networks.
  • Take advantage of the technologic change to develop a new urbanism to consolidate the city and create economic opportunities.
  • Turn Saragossa into a national and international reference thanks to its attitude facing the phenomenon of innovation and new technologies.

To achieve those important objectives it is proposed an action program formed by four parts:

  • ZGZ (Zaragoza) Connects: measures oriented to turn into reality and guarantee the right of access of every citizen to electronic services and the Internet
  • Digital ZGZ: measures adressed to create opportunities for business investment in the field of technology and to develop urban models encouraging innovation
  • Open ZGZ: creation of a "technological environment" able to boost transparency and the inclusion of every social group, with an integral electronic Administration as main driving force
  • ZGZ Networks: mechanisms of cooperation with other cities and with many other institutions and entities of any kind in order to multiply the projection of the city and the transformative power of the projects.

From the group of initiatives proposed, the fundamental weight with regard to impact and appeal focus on five remarkable actions:

  • Electronic Administration
  • Digital Mile
  • Citizens Wireless Intranet
  • Free Software
  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation

Finally, these organizational organs will be established to start all the measures included in this document:

  • Councilorship of Science and Technology
  • Sectorial Board of Science and Technology
  • International Committee of Experts
  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation
  • Municipal Telecommunications Company


2.1.- Growth, productive structure and technological change

The city of Saragossa begins this XXI century with great expectations: its good quality of life, low unemployment level, a considerable degree of social cohesion and important projects of urban transformation that have been (or are going to) put into practice (high speed train, new ring roads and accesses, the Expo 2008, the logistic platform, construction of thousand of state-subsidized houses, new transport networks with subway and tram etc.), constitute a solid base to boost a new era of growth and welfare.

Nevertheless, its limited national and international projection and the insufficient tertiary sector of its productive structure hinder the aspirations of the city to turn into a European reference among medium size cities and for attracting investment and talent.

In particular, the limited representation of the sector of advanced business services have resulted in the paradox that Saragossa has to turn to foreign workers to occupy low skilled jobs whereas many of its graduates are pushed to emigrate by lack of enough professional opportunities. The statistics on hiring of the INEM (National Institute for Employment) reflect that in the year 2002 this phenomenon is also reproduced in the exchange of workers between Aragon and the rest of Spain: there has been a negative figure of 1,842 people/year in high skilled employments; on the other hand, in low skilled jobs 7,696 people arrived from other regions of the country2.

Some economic researches show that, comparing Aragon (Saragossa province concentratres 76% of the services sector of the region) and the ten wealthiest regions of Europe, the main differences, -reaching 19 per cent of 2 José Antonio Báguena in "Heraldo de Aragón" ( August 31, 2003). disadvantage in Aragon- takes place in the sector of business services3. It is important to stress that the experts consider that this sector of increasing importance in the economies of Europe and the USA is characterized by a high capacity to create steady and skilled jobs and with high levels of female workers. Precisely these three features represent the main deficiencies of the labor market in Saragossa.

A research study carried out recently for the BBVA Foundation by professors Cuadrado Roura and Iglesias from the University of Alcalá de Henares, estimates that Spain will create between 1,04 and 1,56 millions of high skilled jobs until the year 2006. The majority of these jobs in companies from the services sector. According to this research paper, the creation of skilled employments in the industrial sector in the same period, will be ten times lesser.

Undoubtedly, the industrial specialization in Saragossa and its metropolitan area is a valuable active that must be kept and improved as a driving force to create wealth, but also rises doubts on the possible exhaustion of the present model of economic growth of the city taking into account the gap between the productive structure of Saragossa and the referential cities of the world, and the unsustainability of any way of growth not based on an increase of productivy obtained through innovation and technological development. If an energic correction policy is not applied, that gap could increase in the next years considering also the changes that the most advanced economies of the world are adopting.

That process of economic, social and cultural change is controlled by the establishment of a new technological paradigm that professor Manuel Castells, emeritus professor of the University of California at Berkeley, calls "informationalism". According to his world-known researches, we find ourselves in a transitional period, with different degrees of advance according to the countries, going from the paradigm of industrialism (characterized by the factory, the big company, bureacracy, centralized services and urban processes at a big scale) to the informationalism, with recognizable features such as the companynetwork, alliances, individualized work and a cultural kaleidoscope. All these factors form part of a new social structure called Network Society.

One of the main forces acting as a catalyst of that change -referred for others as the establishment of an Information or Knowledge Society- are the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), with the Internet as the greatest exponent due to its extraordinary power as tool to create new ways of personal, social, scientific and business relationships. Even though it exists a certain academic discussion on the importance of its impact, it is generally admited that the ICT´s are having a multiplier effect on the productivity of the economies where they are introduced and this could be one of the main reasons to explain the important growth that the USA keeps over the European Union from more than a decade.

2.2.- Technological policies

From the end of the nineties, many countries, regions and cities of nearly every continent has implemented a specific plan to speed up the change to the Information Society because they understand that this attitude will guarantee a competitive advantage providing their citizens with new technological skills and opportunities for new businesses.

2.2.1.- eEurope

A fundamental reference in this field are the actions put into effect by the European Union from the year 2000 forming part of the program eEurope. In that date the European Council of Lisbon decided that the EU should aim at turning by the year 2010 into the most dinamic knowledge-based economy in the world.

The first of the action plans (eEurope 2002) put the emphasis on the extensión of the Internet, starting from three objectives:

  • A cheaper, faster and safer Internet
  • Investment on training and human resources
  • Boost the use of the Internet

On the other hand, the second action plan (eEurope 2005) sets out a more ambitious and sophisticated action field. The aim of eEurope 2005 is "to "create a favorable frame for private investment and to create new employments, boosting productivity, modernising the public services and offering to everybody the possibility of taking part in a universal information society. So, eEurope prentends to encourage the safety of services, applications and contents based on an easily available broadband infrastructure".

To achieve those objectives the plan expresses the need that in the year 2005 Europe should rely on:

  • Modern online public services
  • Electronic administration
  • Electronic learning services
  • Health electronic services
  • Dynamic environment of electronic businesses

2.2.2.- España.es

That European boost has given as a result In Spain the passing by the Government of a plan of promotion of the Information Society -Info XXI- that began with very ambitious aims but that did not give the expected results, partly by a lack of adequate instruments of management.

For the devising of the second plan of promotion of the Information Society, the Science and Technology Office relied on the advice of a commission of experts -the so-called Soto Commission- which issued a final report with suggestions from which it can be stressed that the failure of the initiatives on this subject has been provoked by not dealing with the problem of "how to achieve that things could happen at the pace wished". To try to avoid this, the Special Study Commission for the Development of the Information Society proposed among other things that new plans should be realistic, rely on very important political leadership, an organization devoted and endowed with enough means and a good plan of communication. Among specific actions, the Commission highlights the importance of training and electronic Administration. Based on the conclusions obtained from the first plan and the advices of the Soto Commission, the Council of Ministers passed in July 2003 the plan España.es, a program of actions for the years 2004 and 2005 with a budget of approximately 1,029 millions of euros.

España.es considers these three main points:

  1. To reinforce contents and services encouraging the demand.
  2. To improve the accesibility in the widest sense, offering points of public access and making an effort to train and broadcast the advantages of the Information Society.
  3. To connect small and medium size companies, increasing its business relations through the Internet with the aim of having access to the services of the Society of Information, with the resulting improvement in productivity and economic growth.

To achieve these three big objectives, the plan outlines six specific action programs:

  • - administracion.es: This is the first stage on the introduction and boosting of the Electronic Administration in the General Administration of the Nation.
  • - educacion.es: Investment in information technologies (EIT) in public schools of Spain in three big fields: infrastructures, facilities for teachers and contents.
  • - pyme.es: Program to integrate in the information technologies and Information Society those small and medium size Spanish companies of the least integrated sectors.
  • - navega.es: Search for integrating in the Information Society through two action lines those citizens not connected to the Internet: creation of telecentres (centres of free access to the Internet with different added functions); training actions channelled through a foundation.
  • - contenidos.es: It is divided into two actions: patrimonio.es (digitalization, spreading and exploitation of the Spanish historic heritage); and seguridad.es, which includes other initiatives related to digital contents.
  • - comunicación.es: A spreading campaign developed through three big points: creation of a trademark, informative campaigns to highlight the advantages of the Information Society and campaigns to widespread the measures of the program.

2.2.3.- Initiatives in Aragon

In contrast with what has happened in other Spanish autonomous communities, in Aragon has not been global plans to promote the Information Society, even though from different departments of the regional Government have been carried out in the last years interesting initiatives in the field of electronic administration (especially in the educative field), widening of broadband networks and business dynamization with the initiative Walqa as main example. Thanks to Walqa new projects such as the Technological Park and the Internet Excellence Centre have been developed in Huesca.

With reference to the City Council of Saragossa, the main actions carried out in this field have been the development of a municipal web (http://www.zaragoza.es/) with a wide informative content and which has obtained the acknowledgment at a national level for its quality (even though it does not have a transactional character because a system of digital signature has not been introduced yet), and the program Zaragoza @ccesible, with the establishment of more than two hundred points of free access to the Internet in the streets or in different municipal departments, and also different actions related to the training of citizens in new technologies.

2.3.- The techno-city

These institutional policies come in addition to others initiated in the 1980´s and oriented to the creation of technopoles following the success of the Californian Silicon Valley and which go beyond the idea of scientific and technologic parks to turn into true cities especialized in technological activities.

These public initiatives have had an unequal result, but it can be affirmed that, in general, they have had a relevant contribution to the international promotion of the cities and territories which have worked in that direction, many of them turned into role models studied in the whole world.

In view of the implementation of new policies on this subject, it is convenient to add to the experience obtained by the forerunners, some phenomenons that can have a direct influence on this kind of actions:

  • Increasing prominence of cities and metropolitan conglomerates as competitive and innovative agents. Due to the homogenization of the economic, financial and budgetary policies, the local factors are those which can establish differences as elements to atract investment (this phenomenon is specially marked in the European Union). Besides, big cities are showing to be the perfect place for activities related to innovation and businness creativity because these processes are closely related to the important social interaction produced in urban areas.
  • Importance of factors such as identity and associative wealth as key elements to adopt the new technological paradigm.
  • Use of technological projects as a tool to regenerate impoverished urban areas and keeping productive activities in the urban area of the traditional city.
  • Coming of the digital divide derived from a resistence/difficulty of wide social strata to adopt new technological forms.
  • Development of new civic rights (and the corresponding obligations for the public administrations) in relation to new information technologies which affects the participation in the public life, the transparency of the institutions, the electronic Administration, the access to networks and safeness and privacity of communications through the Internet.
  • Inrush of new technological phenomena (such as free software or wireless networks (Wi-Fi), linked to the actions of a new kind of social activism and urban communities.

2.4.- Strategic analisis

2.4.1.- Diagnosis of Ebropolis

Part of the reflections and suggestions included in this document are based on the conclusions reached by a wide group of experts called during the year 2002 for Ebropolis, the Association for the Strategic Development of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area, forming part of the Working Group on New Technologies. Ebropolis is an entity headed by the City Council of Saragossa which counts on a wide institutional, social and business participation.

This work has enriched considerably the panorama of tools of strategic planification to undertake an action program from the City Council of Saragossa related to Knowledge Society.

That document issued at the end of the year 2002, represents the implementation of one of the action lines defined in the Strategic Plan of Saragossa. The Plan8, passed in 1998 with a big social and political consensus, points out the main lines that should mark the development of the city. Among the objectives appear, forming part of an extent battery of advices, to boost "the attractive of Saragossa as an idoneous environment for firms, with criteria of innovation, total quality and environmental sustainability", "encourage the incorporation of new technologies to society and in particular to human resources" and "dispose of a good level in infrastractures linking markets, firms, centres of technology and research, productive services and surrounding places"

The Working Group on New Technologies and Knowledge Society was constituted in the spring of 2002 to develop one of those master points. The Working Group is formed by about fifty experts and professionals of the city coming from sectors such as technology, administration, education, telecommunications, finances and media. This work starts designing the strategy to "incorporate Saragossa and its metropolitan area to Knowledge Society in a balanced way, taking advantage of this opportunity as a tool of economic and social development".

The debates of this Working Group gave as a result an SWOT analysis (strenghts-weaknesses-opportunities-threats) and an advice on actions to reach the objective above mentioned. With reference to the diagnosis, the conclusions were these:

Potential in human capital and formative centres
Geostrategic situation of Saragossa: excellent life quality an systems of communications and infrastructures within the North corridor
Availability of potential resouces suc as land, water and energy for the creation of Technological Parks
Development of linked fields:logistic or advanced services of transport (High Speed Train...)
Firms and initiatives in ICT with contrasted experience and referential projects.
There is neither coordinated project form the public administrations nor enough public resources.
Lack of a basic structure and coordination of the sector:excessive weight of individualism
Ignorance of the demands of individuals and firms
It does not exixt a system to boost a minimum and continuous training of citizens and a rapprochement to the Internet
Inadequate products for old people
Lack of wokable solutions in the market to make more dynamic and boost the small and medium size firms in the use of new technologies
Low connection between University and firms which makes difficult a t ransfer of information to people in general
Lack of existence of a strong audiovisual sector to promote the development of quality contents in the fields of leisure and entertainment
Lack of institutional support and normative development to the display of adequate networks and infrastructures
That Saragossa can dispose of a technological profile as one of its identity marks in the XXI century, taking advantage of the boost of the process Pro-Expo 2008
Take advantage of the driving force behind new communications, logistic and recycle activities and infrasturctures to boost the firms of the sector and attract new ones
That the sorroundings of Delicias intermodal station, El Portillo area and the place of the Expo 2008 could be multifunctional spaces favoring the development of a technological park
An intensive use of new technologies to improve public services for the citizens
Social changes and the increase in the use or the electronic commerce
Putting into effect the National Centre of Professional and Occupational Training in Saragossa, specialized in New Teechnologies and Information, and Artistic expressions


Passive attitude before technological challenges
Lack of specialization and collaboration between companies to compete in a global market
Fragmentation of efforts, dispersion of objectives and compartmentalization of policies in New Technologies on the public institutions´side.
Lack of incentives and rigidity in the administrative processes can accumulate an irreversible technological delay in the transition to the digital economy of knowledge.
Lack of a specific plan adequate to deal with the necessities in New Technologies of the poputalion of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area.
Lack of an innovative culture which provokes the lost of opportunities in the creation of projects related to New Technologies

On the other hand, the advices related to the measures to be accomplished point out to five different fields:


  • Boost the R & D & I (innovation) of Aragonese companies in collaboration with the University of Saragossa and private technological centres of R & D without profit motivation in mind, including the participation in European projects.
  • Promote the use of the Internet in public administrations of Aragon as element of relation with the citizens and social dynamization, to improve public services and the establishment of knowledge society.
  • Administrative coordination to define a plan to speed up the authorizations of the design of broad band telecommunication infrastructures.
  • Boost, regulate and keep procedures to facilitate the investment in the EIT sector
  • Creation of a forum for dialogue and coordination of all the public administrations related to Knowledge Society.
  • Integrate in a single portal the on-line services of the public administrations in Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area, which can offer services with common interface, to facilitate to the user the access and relation with public institutions.
  • Promote a specific program for Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area for the development of new technologies of information. The program will select advanced projects in different areas (networks, social impact, electronic administration, business encouragement) to endow the city with a technologic profile that the arrival of the High Speed Train, the logistic platform PLAZA, and the Expo 2008 and other infrastructures can help to spread and give credibility.
  • Organize and coordinate the information points of Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area to improve the access of firms to helps and subsidies through campaigns to raise public awareness and information. That will promote the development of R&D, of products and services, and will contribute to the expansion of business inside and outside the area.


  • Carry out informative campaigns on the use of information and knowledge technology using an image close to the daily life of the citizens.
  • Lay out a permanent offer of basic training in the use of new technologies for all the citizens, increasing computer culture from the first courses of formal education arriving to the sectors of population without experience in the use of new technologies.
  • Promote the use of new technologies of information and the access to the Internet of social organizations and indviduals through the existent social fabric.
  • Boost the creation of a network of public and free access points to the Internet.


  • Carry out in Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area advanced projects in the use of the EIT organized by public institutions in collaboration with research centres of the city and specialized firms.
  • Encourage companies to improve and innovate their business practices making use of the ICT´s.
  • Take advantage of the potential of the sector through systems of coordination and/or common projects to generate synergies, encouraging sectorial platforms oriented to the ICT’s, with the participation of the administration and the new technology firms.
  • Support business initiatives to encourage the development of the sector and its associationism. Promote the development of products and services to export.
  • Encourage concrete applications of new technologies in public and private organizations to get a bigger efficiency.


  • Promotion from the public sector in collaboration with financial institutions of the creation of capital-risk societies for the small and medium size firms specialized in high technology.
  • Develop specific plans to integrate the most impoverished sectors of society in Knowledge Society.
  • Create platforms to encourage the participation and integration of disabled people in Knowledge Society.
  • To lay out experimental projects to boost the citizens participation in public life through the ICT´s.
  • To create interactive leisure and culture programs in the civic centres (youth, old people, toy libraries, etc.) to help a ludic use of new technologies in the social sectors with more difficulties to accede to them.


  • To promote the creation of a "City of Knowledge" in the new multifunctional urban areas made available by the intermodal station and the old El Portillo railway station, encouraging the development of technological centres with special emphasis on the sector of contents and audivisual production.
  • Program to attract investment in the field of software development, taking advantage of new urban spaces, the creation of business parks and communication facilities.
  • Endow the Expo 2008 area with high technology infrastructures. Link its development to the rest of initiatives in this field and define the "post-Expo" as a space for Knowledge Society.
  • To promote and extend as soon as possible a telecommunications network plan in Saragossa and its Metropolitan Area, paying special attention to industrial areas.

The conclusions of the Working Group on New Technologies and Knowledge Society which form part of the Strategic Plan for the City, represent a valuable work that the City Council of Saragossa regards as an essential action plan that is going to be proposed. In this sense, it must be pointed out that the work of Ebropolis provides enough elements of diagnosis and strategic reflection to present a first action plan of Saragossa in the Information Society, moreover taking into account that the Parliament of Aragon has supported unanimously the conclusions of this forum.

2.4.2.- Other documents

Besides, that stage of the analysis relies on other elements that enrich even more the strategic vision of the needs and opportunities that Saragossa has in the Age of Information. Among them, the Integratic 2003 Plan , a strategic plan to incoporate the small and medium companies of Aragon to the Information Society and that has been carried out by the business association CEPYMEAragon.

Even though this plan is logically oriented towards the situation and specific necesities of companies, it contains very interesting elements of general strategic reflection. In this sense, it is remarkable the appeal made to the fundamental role that public Administration must play for the establishment of new technologies in the whole of society.

Another forum that habitually is worried by questions of the Information Society is the Economic and Social Council of Aragon, which from 1998 devotes in its annual report a section to analize the state-of-the-art in that field. Besides, the CESA published in the year 2002 what probably can be considered as the most complete sociological study about the Information Society in the Autonomous Community.

With a more sectorial perspective, the own City Council of Saragossa organizes an annual conference on electronic Administration which has allowed to create a knowledge base and a wide interest among many of the municipal employees.


3.1.- City model

The present government team of the City Council of Saragossa headed by Mr. Juan Alberto Belloch considers as one of the strategic aims of his term in office to encourage a qualitative jump to provide the city with a bigger national and international promotion, and also the ability to attract talent and investments to the emergent economic sectors.

Saragossa wants to have the characteristics of big cities - creativity, innovation, capacity to prescribe-, but tha goal must be achieved guaranteeing at the same time the preservation of a compact and revitalizing - not exceeded by the sprawl that threatens to ruin and impoverish irreversibly the old quarterecologically sustainable, with high levels of safety for the citizens, efficient public services and a firm social unity.

To achieve that aim, one of the fundamental tools must be to endow the city with an outstanding innovative and technological profile. Saragossa needs to boost in a decided way policies for the Information Society. Doing this, the city will reinforce its change process towards an advanced tertiary sector of its economy -key to approach the productive levels of the wealthiest regions of Europe, as it has been pointed out before-, creating qualified employments and opening new ways of economic growth. Besides that, Saragossa will find a great opportunity to develop the city model that pretends thanks to the compatibility between new intensive productive activities of knowledge and residential uses.

That urban integration will allow a complete consolidation and regeneration of the city, which will approach us to the aristotelic ideal of the perfect city; a city with a size which does not prevent that everybody can know each other and can take part in the forum. Today, the Internet and the telematic networks make possible that ideal model of participation and interrelation among all the citizens.

Saragossa is a city with more than two thousand years of history which has passed different moments of splendor in different ages of its long and productive past. In the last fifty years its population has doubled. But that economic and social dynamism maybe has not come with a proportional increasing in its relevance in the Spanish and European context -cultural, business and technologic relevance, in other words as an innovating area-, and all this has happened precisely in a moment in which the competence among cities to attract the attention of big firms, training centres and cultural creators has increased. This is the reason why it exists in the city a certain consensus about the need to achieve a bigger projection and presence in the world of the XXI century that also includes the Internet.

3.2. Delay, opportunity, differentiation

In any case, the change from industrialism to informationalism is going to take place. This is not an option. The choice is between passively assist to that inevitable process or try to get advantages from a fast adaptation through the utmost exploitation of the resources of the city. For the first time we are before a socioeconomic model in which the main raw material, knowledge, can be generated in an endogenous way. A proactive attitude will allow to generate economic opportunities and prominence. Also, why not, this will give the opportunity to minimize the negative effects (new ways of social exclusion, increase of social differences, restriction to personal freedom due to the abuse of technological capabilities, etc.).

At the same time, that prominence of municipal projects in the field of science and technology will contribute to create a new trademark for the city and will help the people of Saragossa to perceive the new course taken to a more open, sophisticated and participative city, maybe even towards a new "golden age" as those described by Peter Hall in his history of the cities in civilization.

Nevertheless, it is important to admit that Saragossa is going to incorporate itself relatively late to this new type of urban policies that the most dynamic cities of the world are already applying. That involves the indirect advantage of having the possibility to accelerate the learning process through the analysis of the experiences obtained by other cities (a rigurous task of benchmarking that in any case is essential). But in short, that delay means that the city should make an enormous extra effort , that will have to rack its brains searching for new ways to shorten as soon as possible the time wasted.

In view of this situation, it would be advisable to search for some differential elements for the local project, and also to support this with the best possible resources that can be found in the own socioeconomic context. In that sense and taking into account the debate that informally is being developed in the last months, one of those distinguishing marks of the innovating Saragossa that wants to be boosted must be the active implication in the whole process of citizens, collectives, institutions and companies which have been working separately from a long time. An implication that means an active protagonism of society, subsidiarity by the municipal Administration, permanent participation and capacity to evaluate the different initiatives.

Besides, the municipal policies in this field should be based on the strong assets that the city has to tackle this process of change: a University with a substantial level in technological fields and a group of companies of the ICT sector very innovative but burdened by the scarce weight of the local demand. It is important to highlight the existence in Saragossa of a notable group of welltrained professionals - specially in sciences, biomedicine and technologythanks to the Univesity of Saragossa and other private and public educative institutions. Likewise, the city has a number -reduced but brilliant - of successful entrepreneurs in fields such as telecommunications, software, Internet, multimedia or domotics.

Apart from that, it is pretended specially to take advantage of the boost that Saragossa will experiment in land communications with the arrival of the high speed train Madrid - Saragossa - Barcelona -an extra incentive for attracting investment-, and also the urban transformation that the city will experiment with that important infrastructure, directed toward advanced services and the technological sector.

Lastly, it is also important to search for specific elements in the own evolution of technology to provide Saragossa with the opportunity to take in time the last train of progress: Wi-Fi wireless networks, PLC technology (access to the Internet through electric networks), free software for public administrations, distributed computing systems (GRID), etc.

All this forming part of the initiative eEurope of the European Union and the new national program España.es, which offer interesting opportunities of cooperation and funding for local projects. And especially in close collaboration with the projects launched by the Government of Aragon with which there is many points in common related to the general objectives and concrete initiatives.

3.3.- Our vision

"Saragossa pretends to be a model of advanced city where new ways of working, learning and social relationships in the Age of Information can be carried out and experimented".

The economies of the world are living an intense process of digitalization of unknown limits yet. Thinkers such as Jeremy Rifkin dare to suppose that the dematerialisation of the economy will be such that in the middle of this century only a 5% of the adult population will be enough to keep working the traditional industrial field.

That transition towards a light and networked economy in which the economies of scale will be replaced by economies of speed, is already provoking deep transformations in the organization of firms, labor relations and the role of work in the life of people. One of the most suggestive aspects of this emergent model is related to the changes implied in the physical configuration of the companies, possibly more interested in their physic and telematic accessibility that in geographical location. That rises important questions related to the organization of the social and working life in the cities, without being possible to ignore that those changes, added to those originated by the new capacities of domotic technology, will tend to modify our houses and the use that we make of them.

Also, it is a reasonable supposition that the transformation will not affect only to our way of working and living, but also to our social relationships and to our way of acting as citizens: the access to services, the participacion in public life, the relationship with other people. In this sense, the contribution of telematic networks creating a new space of social relationship, a new virtual city, is more evident. The cities will not be gauged only for the state of the streets and the quality of the houses; they will be gauged and judged also by the density and wealth of their local infosphere. And evidently, by the efficacity of the public services which will not be understood without a telematic provision that maybe before what we expect will be the only channel of access for many of them.

Those three big fields of the change -new digital urbanism, virtual community of citizens and electronic public services- constitute the three fundamental questions in which Saragossa wants to act to build its own model of city in Knowledge Society. Because, in accordance with the reflection of Mr. William J. Mitchell in City of bits, the main challenge are not infrastructures or contents, but "imagine and create digital environments for the lives and communities that we want to have

3.4.- General objective of the Plan

"Saragossa pretends to become in the year 2010 one of the European cities with a bigger development in the Information Society and one of the most dynamic economies based on an intensive use of knowledge".

Why the year 2010? Because this is the referential year that the European Commission has marked to reach the strategic objective agreed on the European Council of Lisbon in March 2000 : in that date, the European Union has to become the most dynamic knowledge-based economy of the world.

Saragossa must assume its own responsibilities to reach that objective that we share not only as Europeans, but that is specially adequated for the needs and expectations of our city at the present moment. This compromise implies an extraordinary effort of adaptation due to the relative delay that Spain accumulates in this field. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that the reward will be very important in terms of competitivity of our companies, quality of public services, personal development of our citizens and European projection.

To that global definition of the objective to reach as final aim of these actions it can be superposed another "point of view" expressed maybe in a closest way presenting what Saragossa should become by the year 2010:

"A city where people connects from any place, wireless, to accede to any municipal public service and to relate to groups of citizens with which they share specific interests. A city where people understand technology and use it for their own benefit. A city with powerful innovative companies which sell their products in Spain and in the whole world. A city that houses the headquarters of important firms of advanced international services. A city with a first-rank University in the fields of research and development, with graduates who find multiple career opportunities in Saragossa. A city known by its enterprising spirit and technological concerns and which attracts the best talents of Spain and other countries

3.5.- Strategic objectives

  • To achieve the creation and establishment of innovative firms, especially in advanced services for companies and new technologies, to help the economic growth of the city and the creation of skilled jobs.
  • Use of new technologies to render more efficient public services and to establish an integral electronic Administration oriented to the users participation and transparency.
  • Guarantee to every citizen, entity, company and institution the right of access to the communication networks, not only to its physical display, but also to its capacity, cost and knowledge necessary for a good use.
  • Take advantage of the inevitable process of technological change, to develop a model of integrated city, with a new urbanism to regenerate impoverished areas, create new business opportunities, encourage participation, guarantee environmental sustainability and fight against any kind of social exclusion.
  • Turn Saragossa into a national and international reference for its attitude facing the phenomenon of innovation in new technologies and to acquire the capacity to attract talent from other places.

3.6.- Principles

In policies of medium and long-term, not only is important the definition of the estrategic aims and the general objectives. With the passing of time takes on special significance criteria and values which give internal consistency to the projects. We propose for the policy of innovation and technological development of Saragossa the following acting values:

  • Leadership. The Municipal Government of Saragossa headed by its mayor Mr. Juan Alberto Belloch, considers the actions included in this document as one of the estrategic pieces of the project of city and assures the political and personal support to the highest level not only in but out of Saragossa. This leadership will turn into the estrategic way of the project, the approval of concrete agreements, the acquisition of the necessary funds taking into account the possibilities of the city and the compromise to its spreading and sustainability in time.
  • Participation. In the network society towards we are addresing to, local governments -and public administrations in general- have the limited capacity to produce long lasting transformations in the social fabric. The City Council of Saragossa assumes the leadership to boost this process of change, but understands that only will be a success if it is obtained the active and permanent implication of all the agents concerned. The participation is not conceived as a help, but as a right to co-manage a transformation that will affect to every citizen, to evaluate the results really obtained and also to use the opportunities offered by technology to improve the conventional systems of participation of citizens in public matters.
  • Service to the citizens. Technology is important but only a tool. The aim of the plan must be to make useful things for the people of Saragossa. An orientation towards a service to the citizen is the best guarantee to help the knowledge and use of new technologies and encourage business development.
  • Cooperation with the University. No action with the idea of increasing the innovative capacity of institutions and firms can last in time without the essential help of the scientific and technologic knowledge that the University of Saragossa can provide. After more than four centuries of existance, its relation with the city is not yet all the close and productive that should be. The project to place the city in the vanguard of Knowledge Society provides, -and demands at the same time- the opportunity for Saragossa to use and help to evaluate the knowledge stored up by public University. The permanent and direct cooperation with the University of Saragossa and with other educative entities of high rank- wil be one of the identifying marks of this project.

3.7.- Working areas

Working areas

From the point of view of the adressees and/or beneficiaries of the actions that should be put into practice to carry out the objectives of this project, the following acting fields should be considered.


The City Council of Saragossa considers that it is the responsibility of the public administration to guarantee equal opportunities for all the citizens to accede to new telecommunication networks and to know how to use them. In other words, for the right of access to be a daily reality in the shortest period of time.

In view of the increasing importance of networks for many personal, social and professional activities, the evidence that wide sectors of the population cannot or do not want to accede to the Internet and telematic networks, rise a problem of digital exclusion which can bring out social and economic risks. Public institutions should mobilize to fight against that digital divide. At the same time, the need of the city to rely on good communication infrastractures is essential to guarantee competitivity.

Specific objective:

Guarantee to all the people of Saragossa the right to accede and use telematic networks.

Electronic services

The establishment of an integral electronic Administration has turned into a necessity for avoiding the city to drop behind with respect to the strong impulse that the e-Government is taking not only in a European level but also in different Spanish administrations. Also represents an opportunity to modernize some administrative processes of the City Council and also to envisage in a proactive way its introduction in the field of public services taking advantage of all the existent technological channels.

Likewise, the process of technological change implies its exploitation to improve mechanisms of citizens´ participation and institutional transparency.

Specific objective:

Establish an integral, shared, transparent and accesible electronic Administration for all the citizens, and promote an intensive use of new technologies in public services, especially from applications developed by the scientific-business fabric of the city.

Business promotion

The diversification of the local economy of Saragossa through a biggest presence of the advanced services sector is essential to create skilled jobs and to increase productivity in an environment more and more competitive and global.

To get this, it is necessary to create the objective conditions to attract investments and companies of knowledge economy. Also, it is essential to activate the mechanisms of demand, funding and transfer of knowledge able to consolidate and make growth the powerful fabric of local companies of technological base.

Specific objective:

Support the development of the business fabric of advanced services and technological base, and also to increase the capacity to attract external investment in those sectors.

Technological development

No boost to create and attract firms will be lasting and dynamizing if it is not based on a search of competitivity based on technological innovation. So, all the actions projected must have as common denominator its contribution to a bigger technological development through a close cooperation with the available R&D resources.

Specific objective:

Encourage the development of the local network of R & D & I to endow Saragossa with an outstanding profile within the technological panorama of Spain.


The City of Knowledge will not be defined only by its communication networks or its innovative firms, but also should have its own urban side. Urbanism, as one of the main tools of social and economic transformation at the disposal of local governments, also has to play in Saragossa a fundamental role in the definition of the new conception of housing and working places in Knowledge Society.

Specific objective:

Use the opportunities coming from the development of new technologies to encourage the revitalization of the urban area consolidated through the combination of new productive activities with residential ones.


New information technologies must not serve as another instrument of social or personal segregation. On the contrary, its possibilites must be exploited in all its potencial to put into practice new ways of relationship, virtual communities, spontaneous groups of shared interests, forums of debate and participation. It is necessary to build a virtual Saragossa totally interrelated with the physical city and with a big density of contents and interactions. And must be constructed from the acknowledgement that this will be only possible spreading technological culture to the whole of society and creating spaces for the own society to build its own means of expression.

Specific objective:

Encourage activities of citizens networks of social interest, creation of local contents in the Internet, spreading of technological knowledge and identification of the people of Saragossa with progress towards Information Society.

Promotion of the city

Saragossa is building at the beginning of this century a new identity. An identity proud and respectful with its rich past but wishing to recognize itself in more contemporary and innovating profiles. Among them must appear all the activities related to technologies, knowledge and cultural creativity, not only by conviction that this is the expression more in accordance with the worries of the city, but also because the objective interest is to use that new profile as an element of marketing of this new Saragossa which wants to compete in the "European league" of emergent cities.

Specific objective:

To promote a new trademark of the city in which the name of Saragossa wil be associated with values such as technological and social innovation and entrepreneuring spirit.

3.8.- Action programs

In order to facilitate its coherence and general organization, the proposals presented in this document and other implicit in the objectives are arranged in four action programs.


It gathers actions to make reality the right of access. To that general objective are applied measures tending to guarantee that the city can rely on a number enough of advanced infoestructures and to encourage its use by the biggest number of citizens.

  • Wireless Intranet for the Citizens
  • Extension of the broadband to all the rural neighbourhoods
  • Extension of the program of fixed points of public access to the Internet
  • Installation of hot spots for access to the Internet in public places through Wi-Fi networks
  • Establishment of a neutral knot of the Internet network and teleports
  • E-mail service for every citizen
  • Hosting for associations of citizens and non-lucrative entities
  • Support the spread of networks by operators
  • Working out a local plan of telecommunication networks
  • Support the celebration in Saragossa of massive pilot tests of new communication technologies (Wi-Fi, UMTS, Ipv6, Gallileo, PLC, etc.)


The actions included in this paragraph are oriented to the objective of encouraging the creation and establishment of technology-based companies, diversify the productive structure of the local economy and spread the knowledge and use of new information technologies by small and medium enterprises. Also are included actions of urban contents to endow Saragossa with specific areas oriented to technological innovation.

  • Digital Mile
  • Free Software Centre
  • Capital-Risk Society to act as accelerator of firms
  • Program to attract firms with a technological base
  • Business incubator for technological microfirms
  • San P@blo Digital
  • Development of management tools in free software for business entrepreneurs


The technological change must have a social utility in order to make more free citizens and a clearest and sharing public administration. To get this, it is necessary to start a series of measures to make that orientation possible.

  • Electronic City Hall
  • eDemocracy experiences
  • Digital signature
  • Citizens Intelligent Card
  • local economy, increasing diversification.

The Digital Mile could house all kind of advanced services including finances, insurance, consulting, engineering, design, marketing, publicity, communications, public relations and all kind of research and development activities. Besides, it would interesting to have into account first and foremost three possible fields of specialization:

Training: the Digital Mile will offer objective advantages to house activities related to specialised training for professionals and executives, postgraduate courses, e-learning, business schools, new universities, etc. The increasingly frequent combination of distance and presential training favours the objective conditions of the Digital Mile due to its easy accesibility from the main Spanish cities and its capacity in telecommunications.

Technological Subsectors with a high rising potential and knowledge in Saragossa: It can be mentioned the convenience to search for a certain specialisation in sectors such as: biotechnology, free / open source software, systems of geographic location, nanoscience, biocomputing, advanced graphic computing, only to cite some significant areas that can be found in the scientific fabric of Saragossa.

Digital Contents: Likewise, it would be highly convenient the promotion as one of the characteristic axes of this project, of an activity core devoted to the creation of contents and audiovisual production. This is a field with a big growth potential and an important tradition in Aragon and particularly in Saragossa, and which counts on the incentive of the Centre for Advanced Technologies that recently has been opened in Saragossa and that will be a national occupational training centre in activities such as new media, digital art and audiovisual production. Also, this line of work would give full sense to the proposal to devote one of the buildings of the Expo 2008 to the "Saragossa Cinema Centre", space which would combine information, leisure, training and production.

3.7.- Possible innovative facilities

  • R&D laboratories for big companies
  • Headquarters for national scientific entities
  • European Agence or similar institutions related to research and technology
  • University colleges (public and private)
  • Postgrade training centres
  • University Research Colleges
  • Saragossa City of Knowledge Foundation
  • Digital Mile Society
  • Science Museum

3.8.- Characteristics of housing

As said before, the residential use of the Digital Mile is one of the essential characteristics of the project since only the integration of activities and uses will guarantee the creation of a new area completely urban and with quality of life. This integration not only must be carried out through physical closeness but also should give services to the residents.

The initial proposal consists of the following technological facilities:

  • Optic fibre connection in all the flats to make it possible the access to the more advanced communication services, even experimentally: videoconference, video on demand...
  • Advanced domotics for house and energetic consumption management: telecontrol, telewatching, identification through recognition of people and cars...
  • Wi-Fi wireless network in the whole Digital Mile and the surrounding green areas.

4.- Relation with the Expo 2008

It has already been commented the essential relation between the Digital Mile with the High Speed Train and the Expo 2008. Not only relates to the necessary coordination of urban planning and design, but also to combine the foreseen facilities in the different projects and in particular with the Expo.

A suitable definition of the Digital Mile can represent the ideal complement to the Expo 2008 project. If the candidacy of Saragossa is chosen, the Mile will provide highly interesting projects for the further use of the buildings of the Expo after its celebration, since Ranillas meander would be its natural area of expansion to the Actur technological campus. If the candidacy is not chosen, this area will provide a suggestive alternative as city project for a productive use of the area projected for the Expo.

In that sense, it is important to make a forecast related to both alternatives, particularly on facilities such as the Congress Hall, the Cinema Centre, the Science Museum, hotels and others, which, in any case, will be necessary.

5.- San Pablo neigbourhood and the Mile

In an area relatively near to the Digital Mile is one of the most impoverished areas of the city: San Pablo neighbourhood. The capacity of the Mile to attract investment and the creation of facilities for technological companies must be used with solidarity to favour the setting in San Pablo of centres related to the activity of the Mile.

This line of work will have its own project (San P@blo Digital), forming part of the projects foreseen by the Comprehensive Plan for the Old Quarter. One of this connection points between San Pablo and the Mile will be the Free Software Centre that the City Council of Saragossa pretends to create in collaboration with other Spanish cities and that probably will be placed in San Pablo. It is obvious that the existence of that centre for the endorsement and standardization of open source software for public administrations can favour the placing of free software firms in the Mile. In other cases, the managing society of the Digital Mile will promote the development of different activities in the historic quarter.

6.- Tasks Planning

  1. Location and definiton of possible use for the available land
  2. Urban and economic planning
  3. Processing of the necessary plan
  4. Definition of a first portfolio of the project (documents, graphic projection, agenda) to start its commercial promotion
  5. Setting-up of the management society and deal agreements with the land owners
  6. Process of selection of ideas to endow the project with innovative suggestions in the field of telecommunications, home system, "knowledge factories", etc.
  7. Constitution of an advisory technical committee to define the scientific and technological priorities.

Plan of Saragossa


Some links with information in English about Saragossa, Spain General information:


Expo 2008: