ZAWP is a consolidated movement of people working in the social, economic and cultural revitalization to address the "meanwhile" of an urbanistic plan in Bilbao
ZAWP is an exercise of reflection and interpretation which, in turn, works on the economic and social regeneration of a degraded industrial area through the creation of opportunities based on culture and creativity and paves the way for other companies and initiatives to enter the area as well.

Originated as an idea of a cultural non-profit association, it has evolved into practice as a citizens’ movement, open not only to those in the cultural and creative sector, but to all society. We´re a laboratory for research, artistic creation and production, as well as a platform for collective learning and social innovation. Our physical ecosystem, composed of several industrial warehouses, serves as a tool to favor these objectives, especially the most intangible and important values.

ZAWP tries to generate employment and artistic opportunities in the "meanwhile" of urban transformation, serving at the same time as an interface between the institutions, neighbors, companies of the neighborhood, cultural agents of the city and the construction companies.

We´ll move now to Phase 2 of the Urban intervention, to the old factory “Lacalde”, in which we´ll continue generating opportunities until its demolition (predictably within 15 years). At the same time, we also began to work in other national and international contexts, putting value on the Meanwhile of transformation areas or urban gaps, showing a new way of making city or community economically and socially sustainable

Resources needed

ZAWP´s budget is about 500.000 euros with a 50% of public and private funds and 50% of self-funding. ZAWP is runed by 7 members and with the help of dozens of collaborators.

Evidence of success

Recognized as Regional Priority Activity
Accesit Copa España creativa 2017
Accesit Triodos Bank Spain 2016
Institutional support. Involved actively in 7 social innovation networks
7,600 m2 recovered and consolidation of 3 buildings
Annual activity: 829 sociocultural activities. 25 partners (local and international projects). 28 coworkers

Difficulties encountered

Confrontation of interests of companies, neighbors, institutions and cultural agents; Importance of "meanwhile" as a new way of building a city; Limitations of the urban regulations to allow the generation of opportunities in singular contexts; Difficulty of sharing non-prototyped processes.

Potential for learning or transfer

ZAWP generate opportunities within the spatio-temporal framework that defines the urban transformation processes. Thanks to the ZAWP experience, not only the promotion of a part of our city has been favored through cultural programming and support for entrepreneurial projects through the co-financing of workspaces and direct help. We have also served other projects outside the framework of ZAWP and promoted the consolidation of spaces that will be part of the new neighbourhood.

In this sense, ZAWP is already replicating some aspects of its model in other cities and countries and working on the development of other contexts at a national and international level. In addition, and under the concept of "meanwhile", ZAWP has celebrated the 85th Conference of Trans Europe Halles that has been titled: "Mientras Tanto (meanwhile), Space - Time intruders".

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Main institution
Haceria Arteak
País Vasco, Spain (España)
Start Date
January 2008
End Date


Ruth Mayoral Please login to contact the author.