Spain’s Siberia gets ‘first smart city in all of Spain and Europe’

by Lorraine Williamson
smart city

PROVINCIA DE BADAJOZ – On Friday, May 19, the first stone will be laid for the construction of what the developer says will be the ‘first smart city in all of Spain and Europe’. There’s been a lot to do about Elysium City for ages, but now it’s finally here. 

Elysium is ancient Greek for ‘paradise’ and should arise near the village of Castilblanco in the Spanish province of Badajoz, more than 2.5 hours’ drive southwest of Madrid. The municipality has already started collecting resumes. Furthermore, a job board has been opened in preparation for the construction of this extensive leisure facility. The project will create more than 32,000 jobs during the eight-year construction period and 26,000 jobs during operation. 

Construction plans in progress 

Construction of the ‘smart city’ Elysium City will begin on May 19 with groundwork. These will be carried out by Gosadex and Aglomerados La Serena. Moreover, both companies are part of a temporary business association from Extremadura. Castilblanco Elysium Corporation is the project developer. 

Read also:  Extremadura takes first step voor new ‘Eurovegas’ in region 

Local economy and environmental awareness are paramount 

The developer has underlined the importance of engaging local businesses for all aspects of the construction and eventual commissioning of Elysium City. Consequently, this initiative is expected to provide a significant boost to the local economy. 

The project has already obtained the necessary environmental permits. These were published in January in the Official Gazette of Extremadura (DOE). On May 2, the Castilblanco City Council finally gave the building permit. 

A sustainable and smart city 

With this latest permit, Elysium City can finally lay the foundation stone for what the developer says will become “the first smart and sustainable city in all of Spain and Europe”. The project is seen internationally as a benchmark for new forms of recreation sought after the pandemic. Therefore, that makes it an exciting project, not just for Extremadura, but for the whole of Spain. 

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According to the developers, Elysium City combines the factors of technology, nature, architecture and innovation based on three important pillars: ecosystem, mobility and neighbourhoods. Elysium says it aims to promote development and mobility while protecting the environment and creating a habitable and sustainable city for the future. 

Size and investment 

Elysium City will cover an area of 12 million square metres, of which 8.3 million is buildable. The project includes the following;

  • 20 hectares of green spaces
  • 4 hotels with a capacity of 30,000 beds
  • 4 casinos
  • 2,000 homes
  • shopping mall
  • sports stadium for 40,000 people
  • theme parks
  • marina
  • golf course
  • navigable coastline of 17 kilometres
  • facilities for concerts

The implementation of the project involves an investment of €18 billion. Furthermore, the developers emphasise that they have not applied for a subsidy or any other form of financial aid. Consequently, the project will be realised entirely with its resources and guarantees. 

Future jobs 

The announcement of the job board and the start of construction in Elysium City hold great promise for employment for the local population, according to Moreover, it could make an important contribution to boosting economic growth. 

Criticism of the project 

However, not everyone is happy with the plans. The leftist party Unidas por Extremadura is even opposed to the project, citing concerns about its environmental impact, particularly in terms of water consumption. The 30,000 hotel beds alone are expected to consume 12 million litres of water per day, “four more than what the city of Mérida consumes”, not counting other sources such as swimming pools or the water park. 

Furthermore, the party deputy, Irene de Miguel, criticised the project as a “pelotazo urbanistico”. On Twitter, she referenced in Januari Shakira’s latest song: “Señor Vara, los pelotazos urbanisticos como Elysium City terminan siempre de la peor manera, esperamos que no le sal Pique” (Mr Vara, city hits like Elysium City always end in the worst way, we hope you don’t get splashed) with the accompanying text: ‘for types like you’. 

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