This article was translated by John R. Bopp

Information website Terni in Rete, focused, as its name implies, on news from this city in the Umbria Region of Italy, has published an article, penned by Adriano Lorenzoni, in which the president of that Region, speaking from the city of Terni, compares that city’s plans for the future with those applied to Bilbao

Región de Umbria en Italia
Umbria Region in Italy

The president Catiuscia Marini is a member of the Democratic Party (PD), and while participating in a conference about one of the industrial sectors of her region, wanted to show that she knows nothing about the transformation Bilbao has undergone, nor about the economic and social structures of Bilbao and the Basque Country.  We say that she’s proven she knows nothing, because we want to be positive and give her the benefit of the doubt that her comments come from lack of knowledge and not malice.

To say “A Bilbao ci andiamo a vedere il museo (We’re going to Bilbao to see the museum)” with a grin from ear to ear shows how limited her knowledge is.  Anyone with more than a glint of knowledge about Bilbao would understand that the Urban Transformation of Bilbao has been a process over thirty years in the making, taking an average European city in the world spotlight for architectural and urban interest.

As we’ve said on many occasions in this blog, Bilbao’s Transformation goes far beyond the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum.  We could almost say that the museum itself is a consequence, and not a cause, of that proces.  No one in the Basque Country has given up on the economy, industry, or R&D to live la dolce vita off the fruits of the museum.  Bilbao is still a European model of business, finance, and commerce.  Actually, this process has allowed the Basque Country to diversify its economy.  Its economic, social, and transport structures have all been modernized, and its cities are now spoken about regularly in the world press.  Bilbao, San Sebastian, Vitoria, Pamplona, and Bayonne capture a lot of attention, and are visited by international experts, all with the goal of preserving the industrial potential of the (Basque) country and improving its social structures.

The Basque Country has a higher industrial GDP than the European average, despite having its industrial base severely affected by the several crises that have rocked the European economy since the 1970s.

So, to show what we’re talking about, it might be a good idea to look up some data collected for each Euroregion:

European Human Development Index
Situación del Indice de Desarrollo Humano en la Unión Europea2014
Regional Innovation Statistics (RIS)


GDP of Euroregions
PIB europeo por Regiones (2013)
PIB europeo por Regiones (2013)

Our recommendation to Ms. Marini is that she do some research before talking about it.  It’s true that every city and every community must find its own path, but it’s a good idea that those who start this process be able to at least recognize and respect what we’ve all spent 30 years building for a better future.

Perhaps the model is liked, or perhaps no one has wanted to dedicate either the time or the energy to figuring out how all this has really worked.  Each is free to chose their own path, even if that means others’ successes and failures are not understood.

In any case, Ms. Marini should know that prudence is a good thing, at least enough to know when to not speak about something that isn’t fully understood.  This mistake is especially regrettable as she is a public servant who must offer quality, and true, information to her constituents.

We would be happy to put her into contact with the Basque institutions that could help her learn what she needs to know: how the urban regeneration happened, and is happening, in Bilbao and in the Basque Country as a whole.  Perhaps this will serve her well in her region, and it will guarantee that when she speaks of it again, she will do so knowledgably.  

And maybe, after all is said and done, if she likes what she sees, the changes in Terni might start looking like those in Bilbao.

Terni in rete -21/5/2016 – Italia


“A Bilbao ci andiamo a vedere il museo”.  La citazione della Presidente della regione , Catiuscia Marini, è per il Guggenheim, sorto nella città basca,   alla fine degli anni 90, al culmine di una crisi devastante che aveva investito quella che era una delle città industriali più importanti di Spagna, su un terreno di una vecchia industria. Una riconversione, dunque,  a 360 gradi. Che altre città hanno cercato  di imitare con alterne fortune.  “Non è il modello cui ambiamo – ha precisato la Marini – a Terni vogliamo continuare a produrre acciaio”.

(Continue) (Automatic translation)



Last Updated on Dec 20, 2020 by About Basque Country

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