Living University at El Hierro

Last week, the Urban Sciences Lab of IAAC, together with The Blue Economy and the local Cabildo, organized the 2nd Edition of the Living University at El Hierro, in Canary Islands. The conference happened between the 21st and 24th of November, and was led by the worldwide known economist and author Gunter Pauli, together with Javier Morales (Cabildo) and Willy Muller (IAAC), with coordination of Laura Guimarães (IAAC).

This second edition of the event offered the opportunity to understand how a small group of committed people turned the future of their 10,000 citizen strong island around. Throughout these 4 days we were able to visit closely the advanced experiences in territorial sustainability that are being applied at El Hierro, as well as meet the ones responsible for it:

– The key persons who transformed El Hierro

– The Blue Economy team that accompanied over years

– The urban designers who envision how to replicate it and develop it

– The local economic development planners

– The systemic thinkers and do-ers

– The movers and shakers who want to mainstream this

– The new generation of islanders who envision the next phase of sustainability on El Hierro.


Amongst the key persons who shared their knowledge with us, we were able to learn from Mauricio Cardenas, expert in Bamboo constructions from Studio Cardenas Conscious Design; Tobias Broening from Skysails, company specialized in providing clean energy; and Dr. Kiss Tibor, mathematician and expert in sustainability research.

“El Hierro is the prime European example of local economic development using what is locally available, responding to local needs and building resilience while generating jobs.” – Gunter Pauli