POUM Manresa

  • LOCATION Manresa
  • > CLIENT Public
  • YEAR 2017
  • STATUS In process
  • CATEGORY Urban Planning
  • SCALE Municipality
  • TEAM OUA & Gamma

“A POUM is a key tool for designing the future development and growth of a territory, especially in terms of sustainability criteria but also in the economic and social sphere”

The Urban Planning Department of OUA is an expert in drafting plans that favour positive growth of cities, both at an urban landscape level and at economic, ecological and social levels. Among the urban development plans that we have drafted, several Municipal Urban Development Plans (POUM) stand out. Mauro Mas explained them to us through the example of the POUM of Manresa, which was approved in 2017.

What is a Municipal Urban Development Plan?
The Municipal Urban Development Plans (POUM) are a legal instrument for the urban development of the territory that corresponds to city councils. Their aim is to organise growth and improve the image of the municipality, services and facilities, as well as the public space and green spaces, and also to define the local mobility model and to lay the foundations for the economic model of the municipality for a period of fifteen to twenty years. Part of this work involves classifying the land of a municipality in order to establish a legal regime that determines the uses. That is, whether to develop industry, housing or services, and where to do each, or to preserve certain areas for a controlled, attractive and sustainable development of the city.

It does not seem an easy task…
A POUM is one of the most complex documents there is. However, it is a key tool for designing the future development and growth of a territory, especially in terms of sustainability criteria but also in the economic and social sphere. Many scenarios must be taken into account when drafting, not only urban planning, and there are many interests at stake, which is why it can take many years to approve a POUM. Just with the fact of drafting, it can take four to six years because there are many people involved. In order to create them, it is necessary to carry out – and rigorously study – reports of social, mobility, economic and ecological sustainability, risk, historical and heritage nature, among others.

What has it been like to draft the POUM of Manresa?
Personally, I have drafted three POUMs (one for Taradell, one for Vic and one for Manresa), and we are currently drafting one for Salou and one for Masquefa. Regarding other plans, with reference to the POUM of Manresa, I would emphasise the desire to work on the growth of the city by reusing urban land, i.e., taking advantage of degraded environments, empty plots, unused spaces…, and limiting growth on undeveloped land. Facilitating the reuse of only obsolete land within the city itself has allowed to rule out the growth of Manresa to the south of the river, in a very beautiful spot that, thanks to this plan, can be preserved.
Another significant point of the plan was the work done to try to stop the degradation of the historic centre. It was noted that lifelong residents had left, and there had been no generational replacement. As a result, housing has not been renovated, prices have fallen, and immigration has taken over, creating a ghetto effect that has not been conducive to the perception of the historic centre as an inclusive space.

What can urban planning do when approaching this type of problem?
Urban planning is just another cog in the wheel of a city. An urban plan has to balance between the maintenance and conservation of certain spaces and the revision of conditions because new interventions can take place. Often regulations are too rigid and making conditions more flexible can bring about positive changes. For example, in the centre of Manresa, parking was not allowed on the ground floor. Revising this measure and making parking available on certain streets has made this area more accessible.

What are the effects of a POUM?
The changes are noticeable in terms of the urban landscape, and the effects are felt over the long term, and they largely depend on the dynamics of the city. If a city is active, the effects will be felt more and more quickly. For example, in the case of Vic, there was a petrol station in front of the cathedral and, thanks to the POUM, there is a library now.