La Marina De Valencia — Not Just Another Waterfront Redevelopment

Once a historic harbor, a new future vision is proposed for Valencia's La Marina in which tradition and creativity seamlessly blend together.

“A new swimming pool has just opened in La Marina. It is literally on the waterfront and we are here to see it”, are words that can still be heard by Valencians today who visit the old harbour. On the 12th of June 2019, a free swimming pool opened at La Marina de Valencia. The swimming pool is literally built on the waterfront. A bath area with artificial grass has already covered the area in front of the pool. With 24 meters of length and eight of depth, the salty water pool is located in the inner dock, in front of the building of La Base. The swimming area is one of the actions of the campaign “Estiu a la Marina” (Summer in the Marina), which will also offer an outdoor cinema, a multi-sports court and a crazy boat race.

The initiative Summer in the Marina campaign includes other actions to promote the use of the space, such as ‘La Marina Shark Festival Film’. During the afternoons and evenings, from August 30th to 31st, the new bathroom area will become an outdoor cinema. This festival will showcase a projection of a cycle of shorts, related to both water and the environment. It is yet to be confirmed exactly how many renowned guests are to attend, but those who do, will give lectures on filming in the aquatic environment. Attendees will be able to come along with their own mats and floats and watch from the water. And it is the movie ‘Shark’ that will signal the end of the cycle of projections.

Next to all the activities that correspond to the waterfront, La Marina also transforms the area once used for the car race. Tactical urbanism, improvements for bike and pedestrian accessibility, participative co-design processes for a skate park and new street signs. These numerous other open areas, which, together with the also renovated two main buildings, La Base and Tinglado 2, define the changing and vibrant area of La Marina de Valencia. The intention is to boost an economic transformation, all the whilst creating sustainable, dynamic and inclusive public spaces. The year 2018 was essential for the ongoing plan, and today the Consorcio (the organization that manages La Marina) has 71 concessions and authorizations that make room on the waterfront for companies from different sectors: gastronomy and leisure, culture, sailing, training and innovation.

The area of La Marina is opened for different uses, and two permanent organizations constantly activate the spaces: Living Lab, which experiments with the whole complex, and Poblats Marítims, in charge of organizing concerts at La Pérgola. The concerts at La Marina de València began in the autumn of 2017, to recover and activate the modernist pergola through culture and, at the same time, spread the music of the groups of Poblats Marítims (maritime villages). In the impact report published on March 2019, the general director of the Consorcio, Vicent Llorens Marti, refers to the success of the activation of the pergola thought folkloric music, and remarks that, “hardly the economic dynamization of a public space can be achieved without social activation.”

La Marina not only organizes activities, but contests that are open for communication and promote the inclusion of more citizens but as well idea contests and it is open for communication and inclusion if more citizens. The idea contest ‘La Marina està propet’ (la Marina is close) took place in April 2019 and the best eight ideas are being transformed in illustrations, which allow the discovering of new possibilities.

Simultaneously to the opening of the swimming pool, la Marina de Valencia served as well as place of encounter for those ones consciously interested in urban transformations. From the 12th to the 15th of June the second edition of the Placemaking Week Europe took place in these recovered spaces. During 4 days professionals from different silos came together to share their insights about city making and focus on public space, and as a background La Marina was the perfect scenario for this encounter.