Refurbishment as a Sustainable Urban-Design Strategy

Zachary Craun
April 18, 2012

As the world’s population moves from rural regions to urban centers, it is imperative to design policies and physical environments that can accommodate such a massive influx. In response, many countries have been building cities from scratch, clearing greenfield sites and building at an extremely rapid pace. Additionally, existing urban centers have been slow to respond, instigating suburban sprawl. A new conceptual framework is needed, one in which existing buildings and infrastructures can be seen as spaces for grafting and injecting additional density and public space. A marriage of the philosophies of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses is required, recognizing important cultural centers and economies, while allowing new buildings, infrastructures and ecologies to be incorporated in harmonious coexistence. In order to create alternative urban-design strategies, it is beneficial to study Spain, whose history and architectural philosophy has promoted a healthy relationship between the urban-planning policies of the past, present and future.