Preserving Cuba's Urban Quality

As U.S.-Cuba relations evolve with a new presidential administration, author Richard Louv argues that officials should be careful about relying on commerce to save the country's decaying urban areas without preserving them.

"Havana's beauty and spirit, even in miniature, can move a visitor to tears–as Neal Peirce wrote in his column shortly thereafter."

"Peirce's column endorsed the idea of the United Nations declaring an "international architectural emergency" to save the city's 500 years of architecture, including the globe's largest collection of Spanish colonial-period buildings. All is in peril from heat, salt, humidity, hurricanes and Cuba's poverty–and with melting of barriers, a potential invasion of Big Box Stores."

"New Urbanist architect Andres Duany (a native Cuban who's lived for decades in Miami) has argued that Havana's urban quality exceeds any Latin American city, indeed all U.S. cities south of Washington. Duany means Havana's preserved design, not the decay, which grows worse every year. Centuries old buildings crumble. Roofs cave in and balconies fall, sometimes killing Cuban families."

"Lifting the embargo, if that happens soon, could bring needed capital for the repair and preservation of the best of Havana's architecture. Or it could destroy it."

Full Story: Cuba and the Invasion of the Big-Box Stores

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $50.
$369 includes free shipping!