Francisco Toledo Lobo is Bachelor in Mathematics and a PhD from the University of Valencia, and Professor at the Universitat Jaume I since 1998. He is President of the Port Authority of Castellón since 2015.
Previously, he was :
• Economy and industry spokesman of GPS in Corts Valencianes 2011-2015.
• Rector of the Universitat Jaume I, 2001-2010.
• Vice Chancellor for Research and Planning at the Universitat Jaume I, 1997-2001
• Vice Chancellor of Economic Affairs and Planning of the Universitat Jaume I, 1995-1997
Experience on boards of directors and boards of foundations :
• Member of the Board of Directors of Universia
• Vice President Espaitec S.L.
• President of the Foundation Isonomía
• Vice President Jaume I-Empresa Foundation
• Vice President of the Institut Joan Lluis Vives / Vives University Network
• President of the General Foundation of the University Jaume I
• Member of the Board of the Foundation Caixa Castelló-Bancaixa
• President of the Network of communication offices of the Spanish Universities.
M. Toledo Lobo is also Doctor Honoris Causa by the University Ricardo Palma of Lima (Peru), and Gold Medal Machu Pichu awarded by the National Institute of Culture of Peru.
The Port of Castellón, tenth in goods traffic (16,5 million tons), among the 46 ports that make up the Spanish State ports system, redesigned its coexistence with the city by means of a port-city integration project taking down the barriers that separated the Port from Grao (district of the town with 25,000 inhabitants) and building leisure area with cafes and restaurants (52,744 m2) on the Coast Quay.
According to an evaluation study of the Coast Quay transformation project, the social benefits of environmental and urban improvements reach more than 27 million euros.
In 2009 the port undertook a new project of integration with the opening of a large sports club next to the beach.
However, these initiatives have not been sufficient to develop a large tourist area around the port or to overcome the sociological problems that occur in the Grao, derived from the necessary coexistence of people from 59 countries and the existence of a huge percentage of school failure.
To overcome these problems, Castellón City Council and Port Authority have agreed to work on a project together with the Valencian Government, Universitat Jaume I and the Red Cross. The project has 5 working areas : Education, Culture, Tourism Development, Urban Connectors and Social Intervention. The proyect working model has two 5-blades propellers :
Below the main activities of the project in the 5 working areas are shown.
The school failure rate (percentage of students who don’t complete compulsory education) at the Grao is 60%, almost triple that Spanish average.
One of the reasons why so many young people give up there studies is because they see that there parents did not need qualifications to get work, very often in the port, and that therefore studies will not necessary or relevant for them. In today’s society where so much is based on having the relevant knowledge and training this perception is erroneous.
However in order to obtain qualifications specifically linked to work related to port activities, currently young people from the area of Castellón have to go 150 kilometers away as there is no such offer locally. Aware that much of school failure could be avoided if such an offer were available, Castellón City Council and Valencian Government have promoted the creation of vocational training qualifications in maritime and fishing areas. The Port Authority has provided a 1,000 m2 building where training can take place and will collaborate by provinding opportunities for practical activities.
The old conception that limits culture to an aesthetic or creative process must be overcome. Cultural policies can mitigate the conflict that occurs in multicultural cities, which can lead to social exclusion and whose origin goes beyond the economic dimension, creating a bridge of communication and understanding between different cultures living in an area. Aware of this, Port and City will build new cultural spaces and the Port will provide facilities for an adequate cultural programming of the cultural institutions and associations.
4. Tourism Development
There is a great potential for the development of tourism in Castellón de la Plana (enjoyed by other nearby towns). This development needs more space where tourist facilities can be constructed but there isn’t much land available because it´s fully occupied with residential constructions.
Many ports have been shown to be useful in developing tourism and the port of Castellón it will be one of them because the area around North Dock is very attractive. To do so, port activity will move from the Inner Basin to the South Basin making it possible to use more than 150,000 m2 located between the beach and the Inner Basin (that will be converted into a Recreational Harbour) for the development of tourism.
The Port of Castellón with this initiative will embark on a policy of sustainable development of tourism, planned jointly by Castellón City Council and Valencian Agency of Tourism. Thus, the Grao economy, currently very dependent on the port activity, will be diversified.
5. Urban Connectors
The Castellón City Council will develop 10 investments at the Grao, including one in the port area, which will act as urban connectors of population. Figure 4 shows the location of these investments, which will be carried out along land in front of the Port.
This new network of living spaces and cultural and professional resources, known as Grao Open Net, is designed for the multicultural reality of Grao. It is composed by social, cultural and educational facilities, public open spaces, living Boxes (not permanent but mobile spaces designed from modular elements), green connectors and ways of sustainable mobility.
6. Social Intervention
Along with the physical side of the Grao Open Net there is a virtual dimension of information, participation and encouraging social interaction. The design and implementation of the network will be coordinated with participatory social intervention programs aimed at promoting coexistence between different groups, effective participation by each one in urban policies and social inclusion through improvements of education, training and employability.
To do so, young people from immigrant families will be involved directly, along with other groups, in the process of urban regeneration, helping them to participate in the network design and management of its contents and performances.
The ambitious project of integration and social transformation of Grao developed by Castellón City Council and Port Authority needs the involvement of other institutions (Valencian Government, Universitat Jaume I and the Red Cross). The working model of ‘two propellers’ uses social and urban criteria to successfully address the project, having culturally diverse young people as an engine of this process, and using Crossovers between port and city for development in educational, cultural, tourism and social inclusion.