Terres de l’Ebre, Catalonia’s southernmost region, has been chosen as the site of a UN-Habitat pilot scheme – the first of its kind outside an urban area – that will look into challenges such as climate change, population loss, post-nuclear energy sources, or sustainable tourism.
The program aims to create recommendations for future urban planning as well as a set of analytical tools that are applicable to similar environments.
Terres de l’Ebre, where one of the bloodiest Spanish Civil War battles took place, is one of the Catalan regions most vulnerable to climate change as rising sea levels and extreme weather put its low and highly-eroded terrain at risk for flooding.
NASA, for one, recently determined that the shape of the Ebre River Delta, home to a rich ecosystem with marshes, rice fields, and migratory birds and other species, “is no longer controlled by the river, but by sea waves.”
In addition to it being the ideal place to assess the effects of climate change, the Ebre area is also home to the nuclear power plants of Ascó and Vandellòs, and has suffered from population loss although new economic opportunities have begun to flourish alongside traditional jobs in agriculture or tourism with the rise of remote work and the digital sphere.