The Vibrant Contrasts and Endless Potential of Gijón: A Thriving City of Innovation and Hospitality


Robert Eduard Antal » Urban Innovation » Urban Development Innovations in Gijon: A Model for Spain

Contributions and Roles of Member Cities in the Eurocities Network: Spotlight on Gijon, Spain

The Eurocities network brings together over 190 cities across 39 countries, fostering collaboration and innovation to improve urban life. Gijon, Spain, is an active member, contributing significantly across various domains.

Innovation and Sustainability

Gijon is committed to sustainability and innovation, setting ambitious goals to reduce CO2 emissions and promote green technology. The city has implemented numerous initiatives to create a more sustainable urban environment.


Key goals include:

Official City Website:
  • Reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030
  • Increasing the use of renewable energy sources
  • Promoting green public transportation

Key Actions

Gijon employs a variety of actions to achieve its sustainability goals:

  • Incorporating energy-efficient technologies in public buildings
  • Enhancing waste management and recycling programs
  • Developing green spaces and urban gardens

Smart City Initiatives

Gijon leverages cutting-edge technology to improve urban life, focusing on crucial areas such as environmental health, public services, and infrastructure.

Key Initiatives

  • Real-time monitoring of air and water quality
  • Smart traffic management systems to reduce congestion
  • Digital healthcare platforms for improved access to medical services

Examples of Smart City Projects

  • Water Clean-Up Project: Utilizing IoT sensors to monitor and clean waterways.
  • Smart Health Program: Implementing telemedicine to enhance healthcare delivery.
  • Smart Lighting System: Installing energy-efficient lights that adjust based on activity levels.

Cultural and Social Projects

Gijon actively engages in cultural and social projects aimed at enhancing community well-being and supporting vulnerable groups. These initiatives foster a sense of unity and inclusivity within the city.

Key Initiatives

  • Organizing cultural festivals and events that celebrate the city’s heritage
  • Providing support services for the elderly and disabled
  • Creating community centers that offer educational and recreational activities

Examples of Cultural and Social Initiatives

  • Gijon Cultural Festival: An annual event featuring local arts, music, and cuisine.
  • Senior Support Program: Offering healthcare and recreational activities for the elderly.
  • Community Education Centers: Providing classes and workshops for skill development.

Urban Planning and Development

Urban development in Gijon focuses on enhancing the city’s livability and addressing climate change through strategic planning and innovative projects.

Key Actions

  • Developing pedestrian-friendly zones
  • Implementing sustainable housing projects
  • Revitalizing underutilized urban areas

Examples of Urban Development Projects

  • Gijon Greenways: Creating green corridors that connect neighborhoods and parks.
  • Sustainable Housing Project: Building energy-efficient residential complexes.
  • Urban Revitalization Initiative: Transforming old industrial sites into community spaces.

Youth and Education

Gijon is dedicated to creating a vibrant environment for students and young professionals, offering numerous opportunities for education and personal development.

Key Programs

  • Collaborations with local universities for research and innovation
  • Providing affordable student housing
  • Offering internships and job placement services for young professionals

Examples of Youth and Education Initiatives

  • Gijon Education Outreach: Partnering with schools to provide enhanced learning experiences.
  • Startup Incubation Program: Supporting young entrepreneurs in launching innovative businesses.
  • Professional Development Workshops: Offering training and career counseling services.

Benefits of Participation in Eurocities

Participation in the Eurocities network offers numerous benefits to Gijon:

  • Access to a wide network of cities sharing best practices
  • Opportunities for funding and collaborative projects
  • Increased visibility and influence within European urban policy discussions

Through its proactive involvement, Gijon not only enhances its urban environment but also contributes to the broader goals of sustainable and inclusive urban development across Europe.

Gijón, Spain


Gijón is located in the autonomous community of Asturias in northern Spain. The city is situated on the Cantabrian coast, offering stunning views of the Bay of Biscay. It is characterized by a mix of rugged coastline and lush green hills, making it a unique geographical area in Spain.


As of the latest census, Gijón has a population of approximately 270,000 residents. The city is diverse, with a range of age groups and a mix of local Spanish residents and international communities. The demographic trend shows a slight increase in younger populations due to the influx of students and workers.

Economic Overview

Gijón’s economy is driven by a mix of traditional industries and modern sectors. Key industries include shipbuilding, manufacturing, and logistics, thanks to its strategic coastal location. The service sector, particularly tourism, is also significant. The city’s GDP is bolstered by its industrial port, one of the largest in the Atlantic Arc.

Historical Significance

Gijón boasts a rich history dating back to Roman times. Important historical events include its significance in the Roman Empire, the Middle Ages marked by the construction of significant religious and military structures, and its role in the industrial boom in the 19th and 20th centuries. The city has well-preserved Roman baths and medieval buildings that offer a glimpse into its storied past.

Cultural Attractions

Gijón is a hub of cultural activities and attractions, including:

  • Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura: A cultural complex featuring museums, theaters, and art galleries.
  • Jovellanos Theatre: A historic theater offering a wide range of performances from drama to contemporary dance.
  • Semana Negra: An annual cultural festival blending literature, music, and street arts.
  • Gijón International Film Festival: An acclaimed film festival that attracts international filmmakers and audiences.

Education System

Gijón has a robust education system that includes:

  • Primary and Secondary Education: The city offers numerous public and private schools that follow the national curriculum.
  • Higher Education: The University of Oviedo has campuses in Gijón, providing higher education and research opportunities. The city’s tertiary education institutions are known for their programs in engineering, marine sciences, and humanities.

Transportation Infrastructure

Gijón has a well-developed transportation network:

  • Public Transit: The city is served by an extensive bus network operated by EMTUSA, offering reliable and frequent services throughout the city and neighboring areas.
  • Rail Connections: Gijón has train services connecting to major cities like Oviedo and Madrid.
  • Airports: Asturias Airport, about 40 kilometers from Gijón, offers domestic and international flights.

Urban Development Projects

Recent urban development projects focus on improving sustainability and quality of life:

  • Gijón Smart City Initiative: An initiative aimed at enhancing digital infrastructure and smart technology integration.
  • Green Spaces Expansion: Projects to expand and refurbish parks and public gardens to enhance urban greenery.
  • Waterfront Development: Revitalization of the city’s waterfront areas to promote tourism and recreation.

Environmental Initiatives

Gijón is actively engaged in environmental sustainability:

  • Renewable Energy Projects: Investments in wind and solar energy to reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
  • Waste Management Programs: Advanced recycling and waste treatment facilities to promote efficient waste management.
  • Public Transport Integration: Encouraging the use of public transport and cycling to reduce traffic emissions.

Quality of Living

Gijón offers a high quality of living with excellent healthcare facilities, low crime rates, and abundant recreational amenities. The city’s healthcare system is comprehensive, with hospitals and health centers providing high-quality services. Safety is a strong point, with low crime rates and a robust emergency response system.

Quality of Life Indexes

Relevant quality of life indexes for Gijón include:

  • Livability Ranking: Gijón consistently ranks high in Spain for livability due to its balanced lifestyle, services, and natural beauty.
  • Health Index: The city’s health index is high, reflecting the quality of healthcare services and public health measures.
  • Environmental Quality Score: Gijón’s environmental quality score is commendable, driven by ongoing sustainability and green initiatives.

Profile of Mayor Carmen Moriyón


Carmen Moriyón

Current Position:

Mayor of Gijón, Spain

Political Affiliation:

Foro Asturias (Foro)


  • Medical Degree – University of Oviedo
  • Specialization in General Surgery – University of Navarra

Professional Background:

Before becoming the mayor, Carmen Moriyón had an extensive career in the medical field. She worked as a general surgeon for several years, gaining significant experience in healthcare management. Her strong background in medicine provided her with a unique perspective on public health issues, which she later brought into her political career.

Achievements as Mayor:

  • Sustainability Initiatives: Implemented a comprehensive recycling program that significantly reduced the city’s carbon footprint and waste output.
  • Urban Development: Launched the “Green Gijón” project to increase green spaces and community gardens, enhancing the urban environment and promoting biodiversity.
  • Technological Advancements: Introduced smart traffic management systems to reduce congestion and improve public transportation efficiency.
  • Public Health: Enhanced local healthcare services by integrating advanced medical technologies and increasing funding for public health programs.

Vision for the Future:

Mayor Carmen Moriyón envisions Gijón as a leading smart city in Spain. Her primary goals for the future include:

  • Smart City Initiatives: Develop an integrated digital infrastructure to support IoT (Internet of Things) and improve city services, including smart lighting, waste management, and transportation systems.
  • Environmental Sustainability: Achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 through renewable energy projects, increased public transportation options, and greater investment in green technologies.
  • Community Engagement: Foster a sense of community by promoting local initiatives, empowering neighborhoods, and encouraging citizen participation in decision-making processes.

Personal Life:

Away from her official duties, Carmen Moriyón is an avid reader and enjoys hiking in the beautiful natural landscapes surrounding Gijón. She is committed to environmental conservation and often participates in community clean-up events and tree-planting activities. She also supports local cultural events and is known for her passion for Asturian traditions.

Awards and Honors:

  • Green City Award: Recognized for her outstanding efforts in promoting sustainability and environmental practices in Gijón.
  • Public Service Excellence Award: Honored for her innovative initiatives in improving public health and urban development.

Gijon: A Bustling Spanish City with High Quality of Life

Quality of Life


Gijon is considered a reasonably safe city in Spain, with a safety index of 67.39 according to Numbeo. This score suggests that residents and visitors can generally feel secure while navigating the city, whether during the day or night.


The healthcare system in Gijon is commendable, boasting a Healthcare Quality Index of 80.45. The city provides a broad range of healthcare services with high standards, ensuring residents receive the medical care they need promptly and efficiently.


With a pollution index of 33.61, Gijon prides itself on maintaining good levels of cleanliness. Efforts by the municipal authorities ensure a clean and pleasant environment, contributing positively to the overall quality of life in the city.


Gijon has a competent public transportation system, marked by a Transport Index of 61.52. The city offers a reliable network of buses and trains, making commuting across the city and neighboring areas convenient and affordable for residents and visitors alike.


Education is a prized sector in Gijon, with several renowned institutions delivering high-quality education. Notable among these are the University of Oviedo and various highly-rated primary and secondary schools, providing robust educational opportunities to residents.

Cost of Living


Living in Gijon is relatively affordable compared to many other European cities. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around €550 per month.

Groceries and Dining

  • Monthly grocery costs for a single person: approximately €200
  • Average cost of dining out for a basic meal: around €12


Monthly utility costs for an 85m2 apartment are typically around €140. This includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage services, making it manageable for most residents.


Public transportation in Gijon is economical, with a monthly pass costing about €35. This makes daily commuting and travel within the city easy and accessible for everyone.


  • Cost of a monthly membership at a fitness club: around €30
  • Price of a cinema ticket: about €7

With these costs, residents can enjoy a vibrant social life without overstretching their budgets.

Gijon within the Eurocities Network

As a member of the Eurocities network, Gijon contributes its unique expertise and cultural richness to various Europe-wide projects and initiatives. This active involvement ensures that Gijon stays abreast of developments and trends across Europe, enhancing its interface with the broader European context and fostering international collaboration and growth.

In summary, Gijon offers a high quality of life at a relatively affordable cost. The city’s safety, high standards of healthcare, cleanliness, reliable transportation, and quality education, combined with manageable living costs, make it an attractive place to live, work, and visit. Gijon’s participation in the Eurocities network further adds to its regional and international importance, continually driving the city towards progressive development.

Data Source: Numbeo

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