Saturday, 11 March 2017

Spain Unveils Footbridge to the Future

Spain Unveils Footbridge to the Future

It may not be the longest, widest, tallest, or highest pedestrian bridges in the world, but it is the first footbridge of this type anywhere, ever, and is considered to be a milestone by the local authorities of Alcobendas – a Spanish town located just north of Madrid.

The very first 3 D footbridge is the start of things to come

So, do you want to know what makes this bridge so special? Well, we’ll tell you.

This bridge spans a water feature in the Castilla-La Mancha Park. It’s 12 metres long and 1.75 metres wide. The reason that this unassuming bridge is so special is because it is supposedly the very first completely 3D printed bridge made entirely from reinforced concrete. Amsterdam is currently constructed a 3D printed bridge of their own, but theirs is made from stainless steel.

The bridge was designed by the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in Barcelona. It’s made up of eight sections and took a total of 18 months to put together, with the 3D printing itself handled by Spanish conglomerate Acciona. The unique properties of 3D printing – including that the technique is not limited by moulds, joints, and frameworks – means that the architects were able to create a unique bridge, designed to resemble roots, branches, and other organic forms.

Now we’re left wondering what comes next after 3D printed bridges. Maybe 3D printed houses are in our future, and why not? The academic director of IAAC Areti Markopoulou said it best; 3D printing allows for faster, cheaper, and sustainable construction.

The Dutch Studio DUS Architects are currently working on a 700m2 3D Print Canal House project, which, they claim, can revolutions the construction industry and provide people with more tailor-made solutions forhousing.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Spanish Economy Outperforms Much of Europe with 3.2% Growth

Spanish Economy Outperforms Much of Europe with 3.2% Growth

The Spanish economy is booming.
It’s not often that individuals care all that much about GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Individuals are often more concerned about issues such as cost of living their wages, their job security, their ability to buy the things they need and, of course, their personal happiness.

Given the way that Spain endured a double-dip recession a few years ago, however, one could hardly blame Spaniards for feeling proud and happy of the way that Spanish GDP grew 3.2% during 2016.

The reason why this growth happened is because of the hard work, positivity, and stoicism of the Spanish people. They kept the country moving through the dark times, with some help by government reforms that breathed new life into the labour market.

The National Statistics Office (INE) of Spain reported that the GDP in Spain grew another 0.7% during the fourth quarter of 2016. This means that 2016 was one of the best years for the Spanish economy in over a decade.

This growth stems from the third quarter of 2013, when Spain experienced growth for the first time in over three years. Once the upturn had begun, the growth steadily increased, with only the occasional fall during particularly economic stress.

The resilience of the Spanish economy means that the country has outperformed much of the rest of Europe. It’s expected that this growth will continue through 2017, even if it’s at the smaller rate of 2.7%.

Even so, it would mean that living in Spain could no longer be thought of as a recovering economy. Instead the country is one where growth and confidence are assured. This means great benefits for individual Spaniards, including better job prospects, wage growth, an increase in confidence in the tourism and real estate industries, and just a general improvement to the national mood.

The Spanish economy is doing so well that it’s now performing at 80% of the output of 2008; just a few short months before one of the largest economic crashes in Spanish history. That is certainly worth celebrating.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Why Spanish Women Live Longer than Most

Why Spanish Women Live Longer than Most

The latest research from the medical journal The Lancet shows that the Spanish women that will be born in 2030 can expect to live to the ripe old age of 90.

Its a fact that Spain is one of the best places to live in the world
The current life expectancy for Spanish women is around 84years, but it’s expected that medical advancements mean this figure will rise to 88.1 years in the next few decades – and it could end up being over 90 years.

The study also discovered that the conservative estimate that 90 was the highest average life expectancy is, in fact, too conservative. They expect that the average life expectancy will soon hit 125 years in some places.

Not every nation can expect to live this long though. The USA is the worst performer for life expectancy out of the 35 developed economies in the survey. American women born in 2030 would have an average life expectancy of 83.3 years.

The report suggested there were a range of factors as to why the rich USA couldn’t provide the kind of longevity offered by the countries that topped the list such as Canada, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Australia, Switzerland and France.

The national average life expectancy for women in America has been pulled down by the lack of universal healthcare, and the unusually high rates of child and maternal mortality. Obesity also remains a lingering issue in the country, as does homicide. Men don’t fare much better, and are expected to have an average life expectancy of 79.5 years of age by 2030; which is still below the 82.5 years the average Spanish man of today can expect to live.

So what is it about countries like Spain, Japan, and South Korea that allows them to top the lists? These three nations might have their share of poverty, but scientists remain convinced that the excellent healthcare and healthy lifestyle each country has is the main reason the people there can expect to live so long.

Spain offers incredible liberties for women despite the heavy Catholic influence, making things equal between both sexes. It also has great healthcare. Obesity and cholesterol are beaten by the traditional Mediterranean diet of fruit, vegetables, fish, and olive oil, and the country enjoys a generally active lifestyle. The Spanish are social and outdoorsy. The Spanish family unit is so strong that elderly Spanish people rarely feel lonely because their family is always around.

So, if you want you and your offspring to enjoy a long and healthy life, then it looks like Spain is where you should be – especially if you’re a woman.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Spanish Exports Reach All-Time High in 2016

Spanish Exports Reach All-Time High in 2016

Living in Spain is at an all time high and Spanish exports totalled €254.53 billion last year, which was not just a 1.7% increase on 2015, but also the best year ever for Spanish exports.
Everything in Spain is moving in the right direction.

Last year Spain was the best-performing country in the EU and Eurozone as a whole in terms of exports. This incredible performance also allowed Spain to reduce the trade deficit by 22.4%; bringing it to €18.7 billion; the second-best it’s been since 1997.

Imports were down 0.4% to €273.28 billion, suggesting that the country is shifting towards being more export-based; a model similar to the one Germany has. Germany has always been considered to be a country that knows how to handle business.

There was a rise in the balance between exports and imports, bringing the balance to 93.1% for 2016; another sign of this changing trade and a friendly reminder that there is demand for Spain and Spanish goods around the world.

Through posting this 1.7% year-on-year increase in exports, Spain was able to outperform the average of the EU (0..7%) and even outperformed Germany; which only managed to increase exports by 1.2%.

Exports were down during 2016 in several countries, including the UK, France, China, and the US.

The goods that were most commonly exported from Spain were ships, medicines, olives and olive oil, and electronic devices. Spain has become the third largest exporter of wine, fruits and vegetables in the world. Around 70% of the goods exported from Spain stay within the European Union.

The most popular imports of Spain, on the other hand, include machinery and equipment, chemicals, fuels, foods, and medical instruments.

Everything in Spain is on the up even buying property.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Spain to Introduce Universal Carrier Bag charge in 2018

Spain to Introduce Universal Carrier Bag charge in 2018

Spain is already used to supermarkets charging for
bags so this new levy is welcomed
For all the progressive values that Spain embodies – such as consistently voting for left-wing Prime Ministers, being among the first countries to legalise gay marriage, and opening its arms wide immigrants and expats the world over – the country has been less than progressive when it comes to environmental issues.

Even though Spain is one of the sunniest countries in Europe, its relationship with solar power has been complicated at best. There has also been a lack of political support and public awareness of recycling compared to much of Western Europe.

The Environment Ministry of Spain is ready to change all this though, and plans to start with the checkout. Environment Minister Isabel Garcia Tejerna announced that shops in Spain will no longer be allowed to hand out free plastic bags from the 1st of January, 2018.

There will be a levy charged on plastic bags from that date, with some bags costing as much as 30 euro cents. Some Spanish supermarkets areal ready charging between 1 and 5 cents for small carrier bags, but there’s never been a national decree that every shop in the country should do so until now.

This kind of scheme was launched recently in the UK, complete with a little controversy and discomfort. Most people have accepted the change and see it as a success now though, with plastic bag usage falling 85% since October 2015. Brits have already adjusted and reformed their habits.

Other countries – including Germany and Denmark – have been charging for carrier bags for a long time now. Citizens in these countries almost always keep a “bag for life” handy to avoid paying the charge.

Spain might be somewhat late to getting in on the party, but the country is still within the time frame set by a directive from the European Union in 2015 compelling EU countries to reduce their waste and use of plastic. Charging levies isn’t necessarily instructed by the directive. Instead it gives countries until 2020 to bring plastic bag usage down to 90 bags per person. Studies into the matter showed that a carrier bag charge was the easiest and best method to encourage a change in behaviour.

Spain isn’t the worst offender in the EU when it comes to using plastic bags. Data shows some 87% of Spaniards head to the supermarket with their own shopping bags.

Even so, the country used just under 5 tonnes of plastic bags in 2014, which is around 158 million bags each year. This works out at around 133 carrier bags per person per year. Most of these bags weighed up to 29 micrograms, making them a little more stable than the carrier bags you’d find at a gift store or supermarket. These sturdy bags are the ones that will come with a 30 cent cost, with the price decreasing as the weight and sturdiness of the bag decreases.

Monday, 6 March 2017

UK Ambassador of Spain Says Costa Del Sol Keeps a Special Place in the Heart of Brits

UK Ambassador of Spain Says Costa Del Sol Keeps a Special Place in the Heart of Brits

British ambassador to Spain Simon Manley was speaking at a forum in Marbella last week when he remarked that the Costa del Sol still holds a special place in the hearts of Brits, reassuring everyone in attendance that the Brexit would have no impact on this relationship.
Spain will always be a special place for Brits

The forum took place in the Costa del Sol to address what the Brexit could mean for both Spain and the UK. Manley said that the Costa del Sol can still expect to see many British holidaymakers, as 2017 could very well break the record set last year of 18 million British tourists flocking to Spain.

The ambassador was also keen to remind the crowd that Britain remains the third largest investor in Spain, and spoke of his belief that this relationship is likely going to last through the changes to the UK’s membership in the EU.

In terms of specifics, Manley said that the Madrid British Embassy is working hard to develop the relationship between Spain and the UK on a number of topics including telecommunications, creating closer aviation ties, and renewable energy.

Given how much air traffic passes between these two countries, it only makes sense for the UK and Spain to develop a stronger working and commercial relationship as far as air routes and airports go.

Both Spaniards and Brits alike are sure to enjoy measures that make it cheaper and easier to travel between the countries. Such measures would also no doubt increase tourism revenue and boosting the Spanish property market, which has always been a favourite with British investors.