100 Ideas Zaragoza


Imagine how a tiny piece of plastic that fits in your wallet can both be a cashflow generator for the city and a tool for granting refugees access to the city public services. A piece of plastic that can be shared with a visitor through a mobile app or that can make that, for a disabled person, a taxi ride costs the same as a bus trip.

Background and Objective

A card that encompasses 15 different other cards and that can turn as well into the digital passport to citizen participation. The all-in-one key to the city, or the future city social currency… Recreating the Zaragoza’s Citizen Card is one of the aims of “100 Ideas Zaragoza”, an initiative that is further enhanced by the visionary education program “Etopia Kids”, our STEAM program linked with city making that has already reached 5,000+ kids, and by the city wide “Participatory Budget” which turns proposals from civic associations into real projects. When the city hall becomes a facilitator, people can count on their ideas to be set in motion. Ideas from entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, associations, NGOs, or just plain citizens aiming to improve their city. Ideas from the city's seniors... or from the kids! The city needs everyone’s ideas to make a smart city. It's time to move on to a zero waste circular economy of ideas! Through “100 Ideas ZGZ” the dream of hacking and co-creating the Zaragoza of the future can be turned into small but rewarding realities!! BACKGROUND INFORMATION The set of initiatives presented are planned and executed under the wider umbrella of “Zaragoza’s Digital Agenda: Towards a Smart Citizenship” and “Zaragoza’s Strategy for Environment and Energy” covering domains like open government, energy and sustainability, environmental and sustainable areas and economic local growth. Those city strategies, in turn, are aligned with the “European Green Digital Charter” and with the “Objectives for Sustainable Development (ODS)” ORIGINS After several decades of continuous progress (the city more than doubled its population in just 30 years), 70,000 jobs had been lost in Zaragoza in 2010 and unemployment rate soared from 8% to 24% after the financial crisis, leading to a situation where frustrated citizens questioned the legitimacy of government and public institutions. The response had therefore to focus on both recovering the local economy and on regaining people’s trust in public institutions. In "100 Ideas Zaragoza", collaborative city making and talent-nurturing blend into a powerful and comprehensive framework with the purpose of achieving the following goals: Empower citizens for an inclusive and better city-making process Promote an innovation culture that will favour the creation of companies and jobs in new sectors related to the digitalisation of the economy and of society . Promote technology-based creativity Contribute to the change of Zaragoza’s productive model Nurture, foster and enlarge the community of tech and social innovators “100 Ideas ZGZ” involves start-ups, businesses,civic organizations, universities, whilst the City Hall acting as facilitator, paving the way for actual implementation of ideas. Zaragoza Citizen Card is a City Hall-led platform of smart services being implemented through apublic-private partnership, while, in turn, our STEAM (Science, Technology,Engineering, Science and Mathematics) summer and Christmas camp “Etopia Kids” is led by the Zaragoza City of Knowledge Foundation, with the support of the City Hall and the region’s main savings bank, Ibercaja. Finally, the Participatory Budget program is a partnership between neighborhood associations and the city. The initiatives presented are fueled by several key types of resources. Finance are mostly public coming from different administration levels (local, national and European budgets). Equally important is the “place” (because “place matters” when dealing with urban innovation): public space and facilities are mostly the shelter and object of the actions. In third place, the city makes intensive use of human capital, coming from a mix of sources: city hall, university, foundations, banks and private companies, civic associations, etc. Last but not least, the city is devoted to collecting talent and ideas coming from an increasingly active, engaged, informed and trained population. This accounts for our most precious capital.

Outcomes and Impacts

The hope is to advance towards a Zero Talent Waste city, a new collaborative city model which we foresee that will gain momentum in the following years. By doing so, we have already increased citizen engagement at the neighborhood level, with thousands of citizens sending proposals and voting in the participatory budgeting program. The city has contributed to develop an entrepreneurial culture around collaborative economy. By starting at the local level, the changes are having a regional impact, with initiatives as Vitalinux (a derivative of local AZLinux) improving education throughout the region. The overall progress of the city strategy towards a smarter, more engaged citizenship is constantly monitored through transparent progress panel. This progress dashboard is completed with individual key performance indicators. Some examples are, the number of kids attending to our STEAM camps, as well as their feedback, or the number of citizens and civic budget “mobilized” in “CrowdfundingZGZ”, or the quantitative and qualitative impact of the new services launched within the citizen card, or the civic engagement level in the participatory budgeting program. These KPIs are internally used to assess impact and re-direct change, but are also shared transparently so the city hall may be accountable to them. It all aggregates into the metropolitan dashboard that the Urban Observatory Ebropolis annually publishes, which feeds, in turn, regional and local policies. To carry out the vision embedded in “100 Ideas ZGZ”, the city uses an inspiring space, specifically designed to inspire change: the Open Urban Lab (the co-creation lab of the smart city). In its walls, the four steps of the “cycle of the ideas” are hard-coded: Challenge identification Stakeholders’ engagement Prototyping Measure, feedback andlearning The city use city data to take informed decisions and apply design thinking, lean start-up methodologies and social design. Most importantly, the city encourages playing. City making, when having fun, is doubly rewarding. “100 Ideas Zaragoza” is a realisation of the DIY (Do It Yourself) City. This changes completely the paradigm on which a city is seen by its citizens. The city hall no longer pretends to project a perfect image of the city; instead, the city infrastructures that are designed through citizen collaboration tend to reflect the image of its citizens’ works, with their beauty but with their imperfections as well. After a time of institutional deterioration, image is improved and restored through empathy.

Innovative Initiative

“100 Ideas ZGZ” is evolutionary in its implementation but revolutionary in its concept. The program runs upon existing digital and physical infrastructures that have been opened and re-worked to allow for increased transparency and inclusion. For instance, the citizen card is an evolution of a former mobility card to which other services have been added. Thanks to a revolutionary open source approach and an “ethical hacker” perspective, stakeholders have been given the right to reconfigure them, which represents both a risk and a big opportunity to improve those very same city infrastructures with citizen’s ideas. The open source approach that “100 Ideas Zaragoza” embeds in the design and management of city services and infrastructures such as the Citizen Card is a consequence of our very positive experience with Linux software at the city hall. Soon a community of developers flourished, which led to a constant improvement of the code and to the saving of thousands of tax dollars for the city. The result, AZLinux, was a tool around which motivation and engagement amongst the IT staff quickly rose. “100 Ideas ZGZ” is being applied in planning, where citizen ideas have given birth to a new network of Ecohubs (distribution places next to public markets where goods and organic groceries are home-delivered through non-polluting vehicles). It is also being applied at the implementation stage, as in the case of the “Bicisur service”, a new system for securely parking private bikes integrated in the Citizen Card. Business models and finance is another application field, in this case through a new program “Crowdfunding ZGZ” where citizens can get collaborative funding for their ideas to improve the city. Budget, resistance to change, and the “silo effect” were the main barriers that have been overcome with different tactics: openness and collaborative design has settled the ground for establishing key partnerships to multiply resources. Resistance to change, a constant battle, is little by little overcome by quickly launching win-win prototypes, allowing a positive feedback. Finally, the city tries to erode the silo effect within the city hall by granting public and adequate recognition to contributors and by mitigating perception of risk.


Zaragoza's vision is of a more agile and more collaborative city making that could boost the speed and scale at which smart solutions that are implemented at the European level can also, and thanks to the amplification that Guangzhou Awards provides, be further scaled worldwide. The city aims to engage society in new ways to enable them to play an active role in the transformation of their communities. And together there can deliver more vibrant, liveable, economically active, and resource efficient cities. A common challenge for diverse, yet unique, cities. RELEVANCE TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS Goal 1: End poverty in all of its forms Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable Target 1: Access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums Target 2: Access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all Target 3: Participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management Target 4: Safeguard cultural and natural heritage Target 7: Universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces, in particular of women, children older persons and persons with disabilities Target 8: Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas Target 9: Improving resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters and implement holistic disaster risk management Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions for all Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development

Award Scheme

Guangzhou Award

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

New Urban Agenda Commitments