PAX—Patios de la Axerquía

Urban Regeneration and Social Innovation in a Heritage Context

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Gaia Redaelli

Research Team 'Contemporary City, Architecture and Heritage'. University of Seville, Spain
Email: gaiared@hotmail.com


ABSTRACT  Following a decades-long real estate bubble involving a culture of indiscriminate ownership and occupation of land, PAX—Patios de la Axerquía is proposing an innovative system of governance in the city of Córdoba in Spain that fosters a new urban model consistent with the aims of the New Urban Agenda and a Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive City: from a culture of speculation to one of rehabilitation.
   A system of multilevel co-management between the public administration and the social economy provides the basis for the acquisition and cooperative use of empty houses as a model of urban regeneration through social innovation in a heritage context. The rehabilitation of the patio-houses in Axerquía, which have been threatened by gentrification, aims to restore the environmental values of the Mediterranean city and upgrade its historical characteristics in a contemporary way together with the citizenship: from its architectural value as a World Heritage site to its anthropological value as Intangible Heritage of Humanity, as recognised by UNESCO in 2012.
   The interaction between innovative mechanisms of sustainable urban development opens up a pathway of virtuous policies for the densification of the existing city by the local population, generation of micro-employment, and support for collective projects that incorporate refugees and migrants in a system of solidarity.
   Updating the urban, environmental, social, and economic values of the traditional city is a step toward understanding the Mediterranean city as an undeniable reminder of our past and, at the same time, providing an essential tool for the future development of a smart, sustainable, and inclusive Europe.

KEYWORDS  urban rehabilitation, social innovation, gentrification, heritage, cooperative processes, Housing cooperatives

Received February 4, 2019; accepted March 12, 2019.