Report on Agenda21L Xàbia brainstorming workshop

(held on Saturday 11th March 2006 in Xàbia Institute of Secondary Education No 1 (Via Augusta) Report by Chris Betterton-Jones - participant)

The methodology of this whole day workshop was based on those described in the European Awareness Scenario Workshops (

There were 35 - 40 participants from all walks of life in Xàbia. Divided into 5 groups: Citizens, Businessmen, Representatives of Associations, Technicians and Politicians. The expatriate community was well represented in the Citizen's group with 4 of the 6 being expatriates. Among the politicians there was one expatriate.

The reference point for the discussions was the results of a tick in the box questionnaire which had been carried out at the previous night's open meeting on Town Planning. This questionniare asked respondents how they saw Xàbia in 2021 if things continued as they were i.e. if we did nothing.

The results can be summarised as follows:

  • Population?: 45000
  • Type of urban development: Highdensity/Low density?: High density
  • Main sources of economic activity?: Tourism and construction
  • Conservation of natural spaces?: Same as now
  • Cultural heritage?: Better conserved

In the morning, the groups separately discussed positive and negative aspects of the growth of Xàbia under three main headings:

  • Economy
  • Living together
  • Natural Environment.

The discussions were guided by moderators provided by the consultant Imedes. Afterwards the main conclusions reached by each group were summarised as headings written on slips of coloured paper; red for minus and green for plus. The papers were themselves colour coded so that it would later be possible to see from which group any particular opinion came (e.g. The citizen's group was black; the politicians red)

Then there was a combined meeting of everyone. A spokesman from each group read out and explained the pluses and minuses his/her group had come up with, and the corresponding slips were pinned to a large noticeboard under the three main headings. If two groups came to the same conclusion, then their slips were pinned side by side. It was therefore possible to see overall sentiments at a glance; and because of the colour coding, the results lend themselves to deeper analysis.

In the afternoon the groups were split up and re-organised so that new groups contained at least one member from each walk of life. The afternoon task was to discuss solutions (in the context of the new General Plan) to the perceived problems, under a new set of headings:

  • Infrastructure, Mobility and accessibilty
  • Model of development of "residential tourism"
  • Horizons of growth
  • Coastal area
  • Agricultural Landscape

Papers were stuck on the noticeboard as before, and this time those present could vote on the proposals they liked best (again with colour coded stickers).

The Consultant Imedes will be presenting an analysis and summary of the results.

General Observations:

1. The methodology was very effective. It controlled the discussions and produced results which will lend themselves to some sort of analyis (though one should remember that a) strong personalities tend to leave a big imprint on their group's conclusions; b) re: voting, it helps if your suggestion is stuck at eye rather than at knee level! c) some suggestions strayed from the remit of the General Plan)
2. There was a remarkable level of consensus: Growth was too fast; mobility needs to be improved; the scenic qualities of Xàbia need to be conserved etc.

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