Observatorio de la Vulnerabilidad Urbana, Spain


Observatorio de la Vulnerabilidad Urbana, Spain

Policies and regulations National policies Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The Spanish Ministry of Housing Development realized that, despite having systematized housing census data, it had not systematized the information to make informed affordable housing and neighborhood improvement policies. For this reason, it has created the Observatory of Urban Vulnerability. The objective of this observatory is to inform through an open data system the information available from the Spanish administrations on residential insecurity, unaffordable housing or urban deprivation.


  • 2015: Implementation


  • Ministerio de Fomento (Spain)


City: Madrid
Country/Region: Spain


Spanish cities are facing an unprecedented housing crisis. Added to this is an aging housing stock, most of which is owned but whose inhabitants do not have the capacity to rehabilitate the buildings. In this way, Spain sees how the social crisis is added to the housing crisis, giving rise to significant urban vulnerabilities and growing residential insecurities. For this reason, it wanted to promote various programs to help alleviate this situation. The problem was (and is) that there is no systematized, open and worked data on these matters. Hence the Observatory of Urban Vulnerability was born.

The Observatory manages 2 atlases or data visualizations. One is directly related to housing. It is the Atlas of Residential Building in Spain, with information on the characteristics of residential buildings and housing at the census section level of all Spanish municipalities (referring to the Population and Housing Censuses of 2001, 2011 and 2018). The indicators range from income to the state of housing in the last two decades. All of this is delimited in census sections, the smallest delimitation that Spain has, comparable to neighborhoods.

The other atlas is that of Urban Vulnerability. In this case, the Observatory relates the housing situation with the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of its inhabitants. In this way it can generate an index of urban deprivation for the whole state, detecting which locations will have the most difficulties in the future to live in adequate living conditions.

Apart from the visualization of the data, the observatory reports on them. All the data it generates is open to the public and easy to consult. In fact, the objective is to be used by other administrations and researchers as a reference in the field in the state. From there, to share diagnoses and common actions in urban regeneration. This fact is especially important in Spain, whose competencies in housing are the responsibility of the Autonomous Communities (regions and nations of the State) and not the central government. Thus, the observatory can be a support point for common information and coordination. It is being so for the development of the Urban Agendas.

Although it is not exclusively a housing observatory, it has an impact on the capacity of inhabitants to access housing and its characteristics. In this way, it is a vital instrument for their policies.