Marcos Sánchez Foncueva reflects on the present and projection of a sector on which many others depend and which, therefore, faces the challenge of overcoming these times of uncertainty. Regarding the urban development of Valdebebas, which has just opened its iconic Puente de la Concordia, the good magazine status of "one of the most innovative, modern and sustainable neighborhoods in Europe" stands out.
Geopolitical situation, energy crisis, legislative framework... to what extent can a positive message about property development be developed in this context?
The geopolitical pressure and the duration of the invasion of Ukraine, which is already expected to be long, undoubtedly affects Spanish real estate, which will have to fight against the collapse of the European growth curve.
Neither inflation nor the rise in interest rates that is being announced on the other side of the Atlantic is helping and could reach Europe. All in all, Spanish real estate is in a position of strength favored by stable growth, the removal of the risk of a bubble, a considerable increase in savings, strong domestic demand and the return of foreign buyers. This allows us to deduce that the current expansionary stage may continue as long as inflation is contained, fiscal policies no longer punish the investor and housing policies follow rational paths, providing legal certainty to all parties.
As an urban planning expert, what are the 'pending subjects' in the case of large Spanish cities?
Harmonious and sustainable growth, strengthening of policies that favor rehabilitation and effective urban management are the three pillars on which urban planning must pivot in the medium term. The challenges: resizing of green areas, efficient management of energy resources, intermodality in transport systems that improve mobility, flexibility of uses and adaptability, based on solid urban and architectural planning of the city, incorporation of AI technologies , Big Data and others to urban planning and management, the search for social cohesion and the enhancement of public space.
And what should public administrations do to stimulate the development of the sector?
A Land Law is necessary that makes possible the debureaucratization and depoliticization of urban planning, incorporating tools that provide legal certainty to planning and management; strengthen the urban discipline from prevention and introduce tools that allow the flexibility of planning determinations regarding uses, favoring the adaptation of urban planning, in general, and of plans, in particular, to the real needs of cities and citizens. Streamlining procedures and cutting deadlines are essential for agents to be able to generate the basic raw material, the soil. Any housing policy must seek to generate land suitable for urbanization if it intends to achieve its objectives.
Will public-private collaboration grow?
Without a doubt, I believe that it is urgent to establish effective mechanisms that allow the private sector to reach where the resources of the administration cannot, offering councils and communities formulas for placing affordable housing on the market in a short time, either under the owned, rented or through other tenancy formulas that are proving to be valid and effective.
What is the present (and the near future) of Valdebebas?
This is a 95% completed urbanization, a lively neighborhood in which its already nearly 30,000 residents are involved in the continuous improvement of its surroundings, an urban development whose capacity to attract investment, wealth and new residents places it in the undisputed number one in Spain. Its future: the immediate completion and consolidation of its development, becoming a benchmark in city generation and proof of the success of a management model based on excellence.