But the other side of the Zorrozaurre story is that of a small, isolated, but deeply rooted community living with not-so-trendy real derelict factories, heavy traffic and vacant lots. This village in the heart of the city (an image much loved by urban planners) is faced with "redevelopment" which residents fear mean being quietly swept aside under a rising tide of concrete. After being refused representation on the Managing Commission for the area (a public-private partnership with the emphasis firmly on the "private"), residents mobilize for themselves, organizing a series of debates to which all are invited. Please note: The only free and open discussions on the area's future take place in unofficial debates _organized by the residents_, to which the latter invite the clients and Zaha Hadid's team: _not_ the other way around. (Hadid herself didn't bother turning up to these sessions, by the way.)
The vision that emerges is radically different from that proposed by Hadid. Zaha's initial Masterplan portrays a modernist Manhattan with plenty of skyscrapers, no public parks, and way too many cars - a four-lane highway is proposed to run along the whole length of the 400m-wide peninsula. The workshops organized by the residents emphasize green space, pedestrian-friendly streets, environmental sustainability, and preserving existing buildings where possible. (The island/peninsula question is largely viewed as an irrelevance by the area's residents, since the place is practically isolated already. In fact, it was the residents of neighbouring Deusto who were up in arms against converting Zorrozaurre into an island, because the work threatened to obliterate a much-used riverside park.)
Following a lull while the client sorts out the basic legal and technical aspects of the project (changing their minds to the peninsula option, then back again to an island, this time definitively), Zaha's team is called on to produce an update of the plan - the superstar herself having long since moved on to greener pastures. Thanks to continued pressure from the residents and the openness of certain members of the Managing Commission, the new plan (October 2007) has quite a bit in common with the vision put forward at those unofficial debates organized by the residents back in 2004 - including a car-free zone at the heart of the peninsula, renovation of all the existing houses, more parks, connection with the city's tram system, and no through traffic; the highway has been cut down from four lanes to two and a linear park substituted.
As you may have guessed, I have a personal interest in the outcome of the Zorrozaurre story: I happen to be one of the 450 residents. We still don't know how the story will end, but I'm betting it's the stubborn locals and their vision of a place that's actually decent to live in who will prevail - not the flashy, superficial design of the superstar architect, parachuted in to give the project brand-name value. It takes more than a big name to come up with a viable urban redevelopment project: genuine debate by local people - as opposed to stage-managed "participation" - will always produce a superior result. If you don't believe me, just ask Google. Type in "Zorrozaurre" and Zaha's masterplan comes up in third place; first and second are links to the website of the residents' association!