Construction of the development started in 2008; when finished, the neighbourhood will be able to house 2,800 families. The masterplan proposes flexible housing units that respond to contemporary situations, for example young singles with low incomes or elderly people living alone who require some degree of support. The family units take into consideration childbirth at a later age and higher life expectancy for the elderly.
Sociópolis also introduces the concept of the virtual family, in which people of various generations who are not related share resources or activities. The blueprint thus proposes an open-ended organisation of residential units, facilitating multiple configurations within a single building and enabling each house to be as individual and unique as the people who live in it. “One way of breaking out of the city-country dichotomy is to generate places of transition between the two, to create ‘urban’ territories,” says architect Vicente Guallart.
Sociópolis enhances Valencia’s culture of the “Huerta”, the orchard, and integrates it into the new neighbourhood. The project site stands on orchards once watered by a complex irrigation system built by the Moors around 800 years ago. The four historic farmhouses will form the centres of urban farming areas cultivated by the local residents. Sociópolis aims to use IT for better planning and a better lifestyle. A fibre-optic network parallel to the traditional telecommunications networks creates an intranet for the whole neighborhood which enables residents to share resources and create support networks. Sociópolis also envisions a “neighbourhood website”, a collaborative project involving residents in the construction of an open-source digital parallel of the neighbourhood. This network of digital spaces and services will foment the social cohesiveness of the neighborhood.