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Regeneration in Old Havana and the Role of Value Capture

Ricardo Núñez Fernández and Carlos García Pleyán

Enero 2000, inglés

The last two decades have been marked by a worldwide explosion in urban regeneration processes, with the main objective to revitalize inner city areas, especially Old Historic Centers. Among the most important causes for this renewed interest in the inner city are cultural heritage, economic and social aspects. Renovation planners have shown a strong tendency to favor diversity of uses, where the same areas will shelter commerce, housing, gastronomy and administrative functions, to improve the local vitality and generate at the same time high profitability rates. The intention to revitalize these sites, making them really competitive, has been the departure for broader development programs, and has made necessary meaningful and accurate urban land and property valorization.

In this essay, the experience of Old Havana is presented as one example of the new management in the city and the country, identifying and introducing value capture mechanisms. This last aspect is essential for the success of the regeneration process of the urban patrimony and in the activation of financial flows that can secure its continuity.

Legal, financial and institutional procedures are a vital part of this analysis. In this essay they are introduced to evidence the logic of the financial flows and the decision to generate and assign the new value. The operational patterns of government institutions to make agreements and mobilize and acquire benefits are mentioned along with the main dilemmas and difficulties of the experience.

Some considerations on the conceptual interpretations related to this subject will be included as a complement to the analysis, in addition to some peculiarities of land management in socialism. Finally, a preliminary evaluation will be made on the procedure of using land in an urban setting to capture value and its redistribution to favor urban regeneration in non-capitalist countries.