A bus took 150 first-year students
from the School of Architecture at the European University in Madrid to the new
residential neighborhood in Seseña called Residencial Francisco Hernando.
Once they arrived at Seseña, the students visited a show apartment.
Students left the university context to head for a miniature city in the middle
of nowhere. For two hours, they confronted the experience of living in a semi-deserted
city, a city that is the result of the country’s latest real estate bubble.
An urban wasteland where there are no businesses, almost no inhabitants and it’s
hard to find a bar. A place where there are cobwebs in the wastebins.
Mammoth Residential Complex
Five years ago, Paco "El Pocero" ("The Well-digger") planned
to raise 13,508 dwellings in the arid plains of Seseña, thus multiplying
the town’s population by six. To date 2,536 homes have obtained a first
occupancy permit but, according to census records, only 750 people live in the
mammoth residential complex.
Of the 13,508 dwellings initially planned, 5,096 have obtained a building permit.
The remaining permits have been turned down due to a lack of infrastructure and
water and because there’s a high-voltage power line passing through the
area that would have to be moved.
At the peak of Spain’s real estate price boom, the project was promoted
under the slogan "The home you can afford to buy". The residential
complex was meant to include a stadium, soccer fields, fountains, swimming pools,
a park that would bear the constructor’s wife’s name (María
Audena) and an artificial lake with its own pier.
Most of the people who bought these homes did not intend to live in them, they
bought them hoping to make money on a future sale, but since investments in bricks
and mortar are no longer profitable, now no one’s buying homes in Seseña.