2016 Mondragon, Spain
Nominated as a Knowledge City-Region.
Mondragon is considered the backbone of Alto region, a strategic place. This city-region is geographically located right at the center of the Basque Autonomous Community, a nation that extends its borderline influence between two countries: France and Spain. The environment of the region is strong and stable, its functional cohesion is strong, and has developed over the years. Its historical data of social, economic and business dynamics are a testimony of nationalism. However, due to lack of transportation infrastructure the region has not taken full advantage of their geographical location. Today, the business projects are promoting improved communications. Mondragon city-region's new and important challenges are consolidating the city system, resilient to further position itself as a pole for development. As in other cities of the province, the physical space is a limited resource and project development is conditioned by the city municipality. Within the city-region, Mondragon is a small but key piece in the landscape of the region's development. It combines urban and rural areas that preserve the neighbouring sites, and people's quality of life, thus increasing the level of attractiveness of the city-region.
As a major industrial hub, both of Gipuzkoa and the Vasco Country, Mondragon plays an epicenter role for the Basque cooperative movement, which crystallized in the second half of the twentieth century with the creation of numerous cooperative ventures. The headquarters of Cooperative Corporation which conglomerates most of them, are based in this city. Today, Mondragon provides about 12,000 jobs, so that not only employs most of the population of the municipality, but also attracts workers from nearby towns and even neighboring districts.
Since the Middle Ages metallurgy has been and is the backbone of the economy of Arrasate (today's Mondragón); of the first ordinances of the Confraternity of San Valerio shows that already in the fifteenth century most of the approximately 1,900 people that had the municipality undertaking work relating to the collection and processing of steel. For many centuries this activity was developed in accordance with plans and craft forms of production.
In the late nineteenth century were adopted industrial production models, maintaining the tradition focused on metallurgy manufacture of locks and hardware, at this stage is born and develops Cerrajera Union as an integrated company, which for much of the century XX will be the most important job center of the village. We must stress the importance of social work Cerrajera promoted by the Union as the Apprentice School, starting point for initiatives that will shape the future development of Arrasate: Technical Vocational School, home of the current "Mondragon" (MU), and the cooperative movement, symbol and bastion of the economy mondragonesa the last half century, which has turned the town in reference to the socio-economic and organizational model internationally.