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29/11/2020
The director of Parc de l'Alba, Pere Solà, academic director of the new Postgraduate Course in Urban Planning and Health at the UPC School
Scientific evidence clearly recognizes the influence of environmental quality on our health. The global pandemic situation has highlighted shortcomings in our cities and urban environments. It is therefore essential to integrate the health perspective in cities from a global point of view.

The new context requires transversal professionals, specialists in the integration of the various urban aspects that produce an impact on people's health: from mobility to biodiversity, including the design of public space.

It is within this framework that the UPC School, in collaboration with the University of Vic - Central University of Catalonia, presents the new postgraduate degree in Urbanism and Health: Urban Planning as a Health Tool focused on the relationships between health and urban environment with a transversal and innovative approach.

The academic director of this degree is Pere Solà, architect from the UPC (ETSAB), awarded the 1987 Spanish National Urbanism Prize and the 2020 Catalonia Urbanism Prize, and currently director of the Parc de l'Alba / Barcelona Synchrotron Park. He is accompanied by a large and multidisciplinary team formed by professors and specialists in various disciplines (architects, biologists, environmentalologists, geologists, engineers, geographers, physicists ...), including Consol Pérez, head of the Environment Department at Parc de l’Alba, as coordinator and teacher.

More information on the UPC School website (in Catalan and Spanish)
 
18/11/2020
Catalan minister Ramon Tremosa visits the ALBA synchrotron and announces the creation of a public-private investment fund to improve knowledge transfer
Last Monday, November 16, the Minister of Business and Knowledge, Ramon Tremosa, announced that the Catalan Government is working on the creation of a public-private investment fund with the aim of promoting the transfer of knowledge and improving the index of innovation and competitiveness of the economic fabric of Catalonia.

The minister made this announcement during his visit to the Alba synchrotron, the large scientific and technological infrastructure located in the centre of the Barcelona Synchrotron Park, which is a fundamental value in the development of cutting-edge research and, in short, a driving force for the country's economy. The director of the synchrotron, Caterina Biscari, the director of our park, Pere Solà, along with several heads of other research centers in the area, accompanied the Minister.

The Government plans to invest 10 million euros between 2021 and 2022, a figure that can be increased to 30 million through possible contributions from European Next Generation funds.

The minister pointed out that the most advanced countries in the world have public-private funds of this type, specialized in high technology, which initially promote the projects and that, once the initial stages have been overcome and the business opportunity identified, private capital enters in large quantities and the public sector recovers its participation.

Source: Catalan government press release
Image: Alba Synchrotron

 
03/11/2020
Catalonia, at the forefront of Europe in life sciences and health; the Alba synchrotron contributes to this leadership
Catalonia has a leading position in Europe in life sciences and health, according to the BioRegion 2020 Report, the reference study of this ecosystem presented last September by Biocat (the institution that brings together the life sciences and healthcare innovation community in Catalonia).
 
The Alba synchrotron, the icon of our park, contributes to this leadership as a top-level scientific infrastructure (along with the BSC-CNS MareNostrum supercomputer and the CNAG-CRG National Center for Genome Analysis) dedicated to cutting-edge research and technological development in the field of life sciences and health, among others.
For instance, the synchrotron can probe the interior structure of biological samples, such as cells, and produce 2D or 3D representations and pictures with high-resolution and contrast (see photo).
 
Catalonia concentrates more than 50% of the Spanish pharmaceutical industry, is home to five of the largest companies in the sector (Almirall, Esteve, Ferrer, Grífols and Uriach) and major global multinationals such as Amgen from the US. Companies such as Roche Diagnostics, Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Novartis have established their production and innovation centers in the region. This region is home to more than 1,200 companies in the field of life sciences and health, mainly biotech and pharma, digital health and medtech. The sector represents 7.3 % of the Catalan GDP, the second highest in turnover after the automotive sector, and has grown steadily since 2010.
 
On the other hand, Catalonia has 89 leading scientific, technical and research centers working in the health, wellness and life sciences industries. It also has internationally renowned hospitals that carry out innovative work in different medical fields, such as the Vall d’Hebron Hospital, Clínic Hospital, Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, Quiron Hospital, etc.
 
Biocat points out that this year there has been a new record investment: € 120 million so far in 2020, surpassing the total reached in 2019. Venture capital with international participation has increased by 67.1 % and exceeds € 50 million for the first time. In fact, according to fDi Markets, Catalonia remains from 2016 as the best region in southern Europe for foreign investment.
 
15/10/2020
Parc de l'Alba in a WHO project
Parc de l'Alba, whose business area corresponds to the Barcelona Synchrotron Park, is participating in a project of the Health and Environmental Impact Assessment Program of the World Health Organization's (WHO) European Center for Environment and Health, which aims to analyze the redevelopment of contaminated sites.

The project approaches this challenge from three different perspectives:
  • Compilation of practical cases and lessons learned.
  • Review of evidence of environmental, health and equity effects in the conversion and remediation of contaminated sites.
  • Analysis of the impact assessment processes (SEA, EIA, HIA, HHRA, HBM *) in relation to the remediation and subsequent reuse of contaminated sites.

The aim of the project is to develop tools for local and regional European administrations, which are the ones directly supporting the challenge and the problem, to manage these redevelopment projects in an effective and safe way, protecting health and the environment.

In this WHO project, Parc de l'Alba is contributing its experience with the restoration of Àrids Catalunya, an old 4 ha clay quarry located within the park's perimeter. Exploited until the 1970s and subsequently filled with various types of waste, basically construction debris, including asbestos, this quarry, transformed by the way into an uncontrolled landfill, represented a problem for the environment and health.

In 2010, this cuvette was restored and later redeveloped. The site is now fully restored and reforested with a viewpoint and new paths marked for public use, and since 2012 it has been officially part of the Parc de l'Alba green corridor.

In this interesting experience, Parc de l'Alba has totally empathised with the other case studies analyzed throughout Europe, sharing both its strong and weak points, and is pleased to be able to contribute to strengthening the tools for reusing contaminated spaces in conditions that are safe and healthy for people and the environment.

* (SEA, Strategic Environmental Assessment; EIA, Environmental Impact Assessment; HIA, Health Impact Assessment; HHRA, Human Health Risk Assessment; HBM, Health Biomonitoring)
02/10/2020
The hydraulic barrier of Can Planas comes into operation
The Parc de l'Alba —whose business area is the Barcelona Synchrotron Park— a set of green areas (half of the total surface of the park) with an emblematic biological corridor and, at the same time, a future residential area.

An old landfill called Can Planas, located in the green areas of the Park, is being remedied with a first action - a hydraulic barrier - which came into operation on September 23.

The Can Planas landfill is a set of clay extraction basins filled, between the 70s and the 90s, with different types of waste. It occupies a total of 18 hectares and a volume of 2.45 million m3. In 1995, it was closed down by the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), which has been in charge of the post-closure phase ever since. The document available here (in Catalan) tells the whole set of actions carried out to make this damaged space a new and large healthy green space.

On the basis of the actions proposed by the hydrogeological and gas reports and the quantitative risk analysis, the AMB has carried out the work on the hydraulic barrier that must minimize the entry of clean subway water into the landfill, thus reducing the output of leachate downstream and through the drainage system of Can Planas (see the image illustrating the news).

The proposed operation of the hydraulic barrier was agreed and validated by the ACA (Catalan Waste Agency) in a resolution available here (in Catalan) dated 9/07/20. This resolution requires the creation of a working group with decision-making capacity that will supervise its proper functioning. This working group includes technicians from the AMB, the ACA, the ARC (Catalan Waste Agency), the Cerdanyola City Council and the Consortium that manages the park.

The commissioning of the hydraulic barrier has been carried out following the protocol established and validated by the ACA, which also incorporates a protocol for starting and stopping the pumping according to the measured values of the phreatic levels, electrical conductivity and complete analytical control of the groundwater.

This barrier is the first step towards improving the environment of the Can Planas landfill, which will continue with the installation of a surface sealing layer, among other improvement actions, and the subsequent and definitive implementation of the Parc de la Plana del Castell. Soil recycling, developing new green areas in conditions of safety and health for citizens and the environment, plays a central role in the sustainable governance of soil as a strategic natural resource and is within the objectives of the 7th Environmental Action Programme of the European Union.
 
30/09/2020
SENER, the leading urban transport engineering company in Mexico
The engineering and technology group SENER, with Catalan headquarters in Barcelona Synchrotron Park, has been developing engineering and technology projects in the areas of Infrastructure in Mexico since 2006, with numerous contracts in urban and railway transport systems, as well as various works in intelligent transport systems on roads throughout the country and, at the same time, with a notable portfolio of projects in the Energy sector.

This September the new line 3 of the Guadalajara metro (press release) was inaugurated in this country, considered to be one of the most modern in the world. This project was developed entirely by SENER, from the pre-feasibility study to the detailed design of the line and the project management during the construction phase.

On the other hand, this same month, the SENER group has signed a contract, won through a national public tender, to carry out the technical studies for the Monterrey suburban train (note release) that will combine passenger and freight transport. SENER will carry out both field work (geometric and topographical surveys, hydrological, geological, geotechnical and environmental feasibility studies, etc.) and the preliminary project (general description and mixed mode railway engineering).

These two projects, together with others previously carried out by SENER, such as the Toluca-Mexico City passenger train or the Mayan train, confirm SENER as the leading urban transport engineering company in Mexico.
 
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