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Malaga and Cartagena de Indias advance in urban regeneration pilot projects in tourist cities

The cities of Malaga (Spain) and Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) have shared their knowledge through nine virtual meetings and are beginning to advance in two pilot projects that will benefit their citizens. The pilots focus on the most touristy areas of both cities, with the aim of avoiding a gentrification or touristification process. 

In the District of Cartagena, the most important tourist city in Colombia, the pilot project – Implementation of community artistic practice “To stay here” – focused on neighborhoods in danger of gentrification and loss of cultural identity; The expected results include the devising of an El Espinal Community Development Plan – 2030 based on the preservation of the neighborhood’s cultural identity and the compilation of graphic pieces that allow generating a promotional image of the identity that represents both the inhabitants and the neighborhood as a whole.

“To begin this work, we will make a participatory plan for the community of El Espinal with the support of the city of Malaga and we will also carry out a beautiful process of improving facades and improving notices, so that all local stores are proud of being in your neighborhood and being able to stay there ”, highlighted Ana María Gonzalez, advisor to the Office for International Cooperation of the Mayor’s Office of Cartagena.

Following up on the pilot, the Institute of Heritage and Culture of Cartagena, within the scope of the project “Urban Regeneration in Tourist Cities: actions in neighborhoods at risk of gentrification and loss of cultural identity” has arranged the first dialogue space for the analysis of learnings in order to successfully replicate their experiences in favor of the inhabitants of the El Espinal neighborhood as an area of ​​high influence of the Property of Cultural Heritage Material Interest. The purpose is to know the experience that Malaga has given in terms of strategic planning between civil society, the public and private sectors for the prevention of gentrification processes and the preservation of intangible heritage.

The pilot in Cartagena will continue with actions to formulate the Community Development Plan, with a cultural emphasis and beautification of community spaces, such as facades, contemplative areas and small green areas.

In Malaga the neighborhood in focus is Lagunillas. Located on the outskirts of the historic center, it is a traditional popular neighborhood adjacent to an area with a marginal population with a vulnerable profile that presents a population mix between native inhabitants and new inhabitants of a medium-high sociocultural profile who flee from the touristification of the historic central almond But, touristification has not occurred in a reliable way, but rather is a threat detected by the neighbors, which has led them to show resistance to any urban regeneration action directed by the City Council. 

The project called “Lagunillas, space for everyone” aims to regenerate this public space through solutions based on nature, through the participation of residents and neighborhood groups in the design , implementation and management of this area. The public space that has been chosen in Lagunillas, to transform through the co-design and co-implementation of the neighborhood actors applying solutions based on nature, is the Huerto La Yuca where the pilot is being implemented .

This action aims to capitalize on the experience of Cartagena de Indias in the management of public spaces by citizens.

“We are trying to apply the pilot project with the civil society of the neighborhood and with the young people and social entities that are working on the same object that is a project of co-design and co-participation, where they get involved, from the first moment to the citizenship ”, highlighted Montserrat Blanco, from the Malaga City Council.

It is expected that in the end the project will result in the elaboration of a Protocol for the design and management of public spaces with citizen participation, the regeneration of the free space of the neighborhood, which has already begun, and the training of neighbors on environmental issues and nature-based solutions.  

The two pilots continue to exchange information and experiences through meetings between representatives of the cities and civil society organizations.

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