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CNU 20 - Havana: Paradigm of a Caribbean City

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Published on May 29, 2012

Transcending the speculative, religious, military, and formal intentions operating since the time of the conquistadores, Havana has evolved over five centuries as a harmonious, spatially identifiable city with a traditional, yet pragmatic urban plan; one that is accommodating to pedestrians and ingratiated by its public spaces and well-defined streets. Imported urban precedents, building typologies and laws have been layered upon "La Perla de las Antillas". At first glance, the present-day layout of the city of Havana could seem haphazard due to its patchwork design pattern of 'remnants,' but upon further inspection the stitch-work of its organization becomes more evident. Its resulting composition can be attributed to the diverse leyes (laws) and ordenanzas (codes) that over time have both been informed by and, in turn, shaped the city's complex layout. Analysis illustrates the relevance of those inherited or home grown design concepts, and their adaptability to 21st century challenges and opportunities which sustain physical, cultural, and spiritual traditions.

Sonia Chao, Director, Center for Urban and Community Design
Eduardo Luis Rodriguez
Isabel Rigol

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