Meet Susana and Lara

Mayor in middle pink, architect on right hand side

Mayor Lara Méndez in the middle; Architect Susana Penedo Souto on right hand side © LIFE Lugo+Biodinámico, 2020

Susana Penedo Souto is the architect of the EU-funded Life Lugo+Biodinámico project, a ground-breaking multi-ecological neighbourhood in an industrial area of Lugo, Spain. It shows how urban centres around Europe can help combat climate change by becoming more green in their design. This is especially valid now as the harsh reality of lockdowns all over Europe reminds us all of the key importance of green spaces for our well-being.

Lara Méndez, the mayor or Lugo, is eager to embrace the future with open arms.

“The multi-ecological neighbourhood will be a benchmark in the construction of sustainable and resilient cities,” she says.

Green living

Residents can enjoy the organic configuration of urban and green spaces, giving them the best of both city and nature. At the heart of the neighbourhood will be the futuristic ‘Impulso Verde’ (green impulse), an inspiring piece of architecture that serves as both a vertical garden and co-working space for businesses. The area will also be a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife, with urban forests and a restored local wetland.

Artists sketch of Impulso Verde

Artists sketch of Impulso Verde © LIFE Lugo+Biodinámico, 2020

The team have harnessed new construction techniques to create innovative buildings from locally sourced materials like Galician hardwood. As conventional steel and concrete buildings are energy inefficient, accounting for 36% of CO2 emissions in Europe, this pioneering use of materials represents a significant step forward in green architecture.

Plan of Impulso Verde

Plan of Impulso Verde © LIFE Lugo+Biodinámico, 2020

To ensure self-sufficiency, energy will be managed by a biomass-powered electricity plant and non-drinking water will be recycled and reused.

A blueprint for others

“When a city like Lugo takes on this model as part of the city’s strategy… it serves as an example to other medium-sized cities in the EU,” says project architect Susana.

LIFE Lugo signpost

LIFE Lugo signpost © LIFE Lugo+Biodinámico, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how important local cooperation is to tackling global challenges like climate change. Lugo’s blueprint for the future proves that we can design and build a space that simultaneously protects the environment and allows communities to flourish.

“After the lockdown difficulties are over, we will be ready to respond with improved habitability and urban spaces.” says Lugo’s Mayor, Lara.