A Good Plan Gone Bad: From Operation Atocha to the Gentrification of Lavapiés

By Malcolm Compitello.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper studies a particularly significant example the dynamics of urban transformation in Madrid’s city center from the mid-1980s forward. It offers a case study of what happens when, as David Harvey has opined, modernist urban planning cedes to postmodern urban design.
The new urban plan for Madrid, completed in 1985, was a template for other planning documents done in Spain. The hall mark of the plan was to guarantee the right to the city for all residents and undo the destructive effects of the growth based plan of the 1960s. One of its most important components was a thoroughgoing renovation of the center of Madrid that area most affected by the deleterious effects of the 1960s plan.
The consequences of this planning decision for life in the city center of Madrid were enormous. A study of the process that led to them offers a significant example of the dynamics of the urban process. It reveals how a good decision, motivated by a rational desire to improve the nature of the decaying urban fabric of the center of the city and which had a number of positive effects on it, could lead to the unintended deleterious consequence.

Keywords: Spain, Urban Planning, Gentrification, Critical Geography

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.75-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 4.577MB).

Prof. Malcolm Compitello

Professor of Spanish and Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Spanish and Portuguese, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Malcolm Alan Compitello es Director del Departamento de Español y Portugués en la University de Arizona, puesto que ocupa desde 1995. Entre 1977 y 1995 el Profesor Compitello era miembro del profesorado del Departamento de Lenguas Románicas en Michigan State University donde también ejerció varios cargos administrativos. Profesor Compitello también es Director Ejecutivo de la revista Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies. Los ensayos del profesor Compitello sobre la narrativa, cine y cultura Peninsular se han publicado en revistas profesionales en España y los Estados Unidos. Su cuarto libro De Fortunata a la M: 40: Un siglo de cultura urbana en Madrid fue publicado por Alianza Editorial en 2003. Ha preparado con Edward Baker, Cultura, formas de representación y la lógica de los objetos: España 1850–2000 y esta acabando City, Culture Capital: Madrid’s Cartographic Imaginary que estudia la plasmación de la imaginaria urbana en la cultura madrileña desde el Cambio en adelante y From the Reina Sofía to Lavapiés Urban and Cultural Change in Madrid’s City Center. Prepara también una biografía intelectual de Luis Martín-Santos.