At the turn of the 21st century, in Spain nothing was impossible. No construction project was too large or too difficult. With vasts credits from German banks and money pouring in from generous European Union funds, visionary politicians sowed the Spanish territory with overdimensioned urban plans and yesterday’s state of the art infrastructural projects. The business was in construction; the projects’ necessity or economic viability were secondary issues all too often overlooked, if not plainly ignored.
In the peak year of 2006 Spain constructed more houses than France, Germany and Great Britain put together. Spain had Europe’s longest highway network, twice as many commercial airports as Germany, and the world’s second longest high-speed rail network. Spain was the land of gold and honey and the economic growth seemed to have no limits. The world was in awe of the “Spanish miracle”.
When reality finally caught up with Spain, in 2007, its urbanized surface had increased by a shocking 52 % in only 18 years, and its landscape was littered by a myriad of deserted infrastructural projects. Airports without passengers, highways without cars, hospitals without patients… Not to mention the two million empty houses no one wanted to move into. All built with the money of the future generations.