Text by Yuhui Jin
The last activity of the day was a visit to EuroVegas No, an actions group against the EuroVegas project – a Las-Vegas-style casino strip on the outskirts of Madrid. This plan which will take about 7.5 square kilometers, 13 year to be built, is based on the interpretation that ‘ the Madrid is heading to economic recovery’.

eurovegas1One proposal of EuroVegas – Source:http://www.eleconomista.es

In September 2012 Sheldon Adelson proposed a major investment in Europe after he and his team had been in discussions with governments in Madrid and Barcelona and possibly elsewhere in Europe. Finally, Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced Madrid had been chosen as the destination for the gambling resort project dubbed “EuroVegas”. More precisely, in February 2013 it was reported the town of Alcorcón, in the outskirts of the Spanish capital had been chosen as the site for the “EuroVegas” project. It is expected to take about ten years to build. Eventually EuroVegas will occupy approximately 2000 acres (7.5 square kilometers) , and when completed, should comprise twelve skyscraper hotels up to 500 feet (150m) high capable of accommodating several thousands of guests in considerable luxury, six casinos, three golf courses and other sports facilities, notably an indoor stadium and covered tennis complex, a shopping mall and outlet stores, a major convention center and assorted meeting facilities, a wide range of restaurants, assorted Leisure centres including a spa and adventure park, an amphitheater for 20,000 people and various concert facilities and parks including nature reserve

The developer plans to the first phase in 2016 but reports that the Government of Spain is reluctant to grant the various legal exemptions necessary. In effect, the company wants a legal tax haven in which the Europe wide ban on smoking in public places would not apply, its management code would replace national employment regulations. These issues relate to easements of various European Directives, and may be a smokescreen to obscure funding difficulties

EuroVegas would be the third resort macrocomplex to open outside of the United States of America (after Macau and Singapore). The completion of the works will likely wait until 2022 and inauguration final and official until 2025 or 2026.

eurovegas2Possible site of Vegas – Source: http://definanzas.com

EuroVegas No
EuroVegas No is a platform that consist of civil organizations, trade unions and private individuals. It is founded in Madrid in March 2012 to show total opposition to the installation of the a big project for leisure and games called EuroVegas planned to be built in Madrid. It currently consists of 21 parties. They claim the EuroVegas would provide money laundering for corrupt politicians, prostitution and poverty and excessive temptations for workers to cheat.

eurovegas3Protests against the EuroVegas Project in Madrid – Photo: EPA

This is a interesting case that relevant to the theme of money in our studio. As we know overheating expectations on the urban extension will cause terrible results to the whole society, but just after a expensive lesson of bubble bursting in Madrid (there is huge amount of vacant real estate existing on the outskirts of Madrid after 2008 Crisis), why the huge projects like EuroVegas will be proposed?

The speculative aspect of capital
As we know what capital is look for is more profit, no matter it is from by fulfilling people’s real demand (creating real value) or from the investors who think there will be buyers after (speculation). This is the power which make the machine of market works. However, sometimes, when the speculative aspect of capital is out of control, a crisis is generating.

Speculation in urbanism
Capital (money etc) play a big role in the decision making processes of a urban project, so inevitably there is a speculative aspect inside of urbanism. Speculation in urbanism is more (if not the most) harmful than in other fields. The bad result of speculation in stock market is more on the economy, however, the bad results of speculation in urbanism will cause crucial economic, social and environmental problem, and they are more irreversible. That is once the crisis have happened in the urbanism field, it cause more waste and take longer to recover. The speculative aspect of the urban expansion will threaten the financial system, create social segregation, waste land resource, create big projects without human scale and so on as we can see from the result of 2008 Crisis in Madrid.

eurovegas4

What can urbanist do to avoid the bad effects caused by speculative urbanism?
The speculative aspect in urbanism should be no doubt avoided. First of all, the speculative behavior of capital (money) should be limited by a better legal and financial framework. As a urbanist, we have to understand what spatial results may caused by these frameworks, and improve these frameworks by testing the spatial results. Secondly, the urbanist should think over flexibility in infrastructure, urban typology, land regulation etc to resist the unknown future risk.

Back to Excursion Madrid