Europe’s First Intelligent, Solar-Powered City Set to Open in Spain

Main Photo: Europe’s first smart city is set to be built in Castiblanco, Spain. Courtesy Cora Alpha

Date: February 2019

Location: Castiblanco, Extremadura Region, Spain

Name: Hotel/s – TBA; Elysium City

No. of Keys: 7 hotels in two phases

Developer: Cora Alpha, the US tourism and leisure development company that created Disneyland California’s Adventure Theme Park, and Downtown Disney District that is headed up by former Walt Disney executive John Cora.

Europe’s first intelligent, solar-powered city set to open in Spain, called Elysium City, which will have smart streets, sustainable hotels, a Disney-esque theme park and a Formula One track

The massive project will be home to several sustainably designed resorts, a huge theme park, an 18-hole golf course and its own high-speed train system in south-west Spain, close to the border with Portugal

It will be one of the largest smart cities in the world.

Spread over 1,200 hectares, the project will be developed in two stages. The first is set to open in 2023 and will include a five-star hotel, a huge theme park with its own on-site hotel, an adventure water park, a marina and a 40,000-seat stadium that will host sports and musical performances. It will also have 2,000 homes for Elysium’s new residents.

As well as river slides and rides, the water park will incorporate the city’s surrounding terrain to offer activities like abseiling, mountain biking trails and nature walks.

The second phase is set for completion in 2028 when another five luxury hotels and more leisure spots, including a Formula One track and an equestrian centre, will open.

According to Forbes Magazine,  New York has been declared the smartest city in the world, according to the IESE Cities in Motion Index. London and Paris also maintain their positions just behind the big apple, taking the second and third spots respectively.

The top-10 list is completed by Tokyo (4), Reykjavik (5), Singapore (6), Seoul (7), Toronto (8), Hong Kong (9) and Amsterdam (10.) Europe, with 12 cities ranking among the top 25, is once again the top-performing geographical area. It is followed by North America, with six; Asia, with four (all in the top 10); and Oceania, with three.

What is a smart city? This fifth edition of the index analyses the level of development of 165 cities from 80 countries, across nine dimensions considered key to being a smart, sustainable city: human capital (developing, attracting and nurturing talent), social cohesion (consensus among the different social groups in a city), economy, environment, governance, urban planning, international outreach, technology, and mobility and transportation (ease of movement and access to public services).

The index is prepared by IESE Business School’s Center for Globalization and Strategy under the direction of professors Pascual Berrone and Joan Enric Ricart.

While most smart cities rankings are focused solely on the use of smart technology or specific measures of environmental sustainability, to perform well on this index a city must perform well across a number of different elements.

After all, it is not much good having an environmentally friendly city if crime & unemployment is so high no one wants to live there.

Here New York, London and Paris have done well because all three score highly across nearly all the criteria used in the index. New York is in first place overall due to its position as the world’s most important economic centre, ranking first in this dimension, and is also top for urban planning.

London, in second place, is best for human capital thanks to its high numbers of quality business schools and universities.

Meanwhile Paris, the city with the second-highest number of international tourists, is first for international outreach and first for Mobility and Transportation, thanks to its metro system, bike sharing system and high-speed trains.

Price: The total budget is US$13.5bn

THPT Comment: We here at The Hotel Property Team are giving full support to the various eco-green hotel developments taking place, globally – but an entire city with seven hotels, theme park and race track, seems to take the prize this month! We suspect there will be a few financial and planning hurdles to get through before this project sees the light of day, estimated to be 2028! We wish Mr Cora the best.

First Seen: The National

The Hotel Property Team (THPT) is a small group of highly experienced business professionals. Between us, we provide a range of skills and experience which is directly relevant to those involved in the hotel property market.

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