The University of Arizona


A Good Plan Gone Bad: Unintended Consequences of Urban Planning in Madrid

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Presented by Dr. Malcolm Compitello of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Anyone familiar with Tucson’s recent urban history knows that sometimes things do not go as planned. This presentation examines one of the most conspicuous examples of how this can come to pass in a European capital. The hallmark of the new urban plan for Madrid, completed in 1985, was to guarantee the right to the city for all residents and undo the destructive effects of previous plans. A study of the planning process in Spain’s capital reveals how a seemingly good decision, motivated by a rational desire to improve the nature of the city center’s decaying urban fabric, led to a wave of unintended gentrification that had significant effects on the center of the city. This presentation also shows the role that culture writ large has in this process.

Malcolm Alan Compitello is professor of Spanish and Head of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Arizona. He is the executive editor of the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, and he has authored four books and numerous articles on contemporary Spanish literature and culture. Compitello is currently completing two books: From the Reina Sofía to Lavapiés: Urban and Cultural Change in Madrid’s City Center and Cities, Culture, and Capital about the role of space, place and capital in the formation of cultural identities in Spain. Professor Compitello is the Program Director of the Humanities Seminars Program in the College of Humanities. 

This presentation is part of the fourth annual Humanities Week October 17-21, 2011, a concentrated offering of free lectures and events on the UA campus providing access to the best of College of Humanities faculty and research.

Next Topic: The Marketability of Marlene Dietrich in Post-Wall Germany



Tue, 2011-10-18 17:00 - 18:00


The University of Arizona Poetry Center
1508 E. Helen St. (at Vine)