Activating obsolete spaces: temporary uses as a tool for urban regeneration projects

Activating obsolete spaces: temporary uses as a tool for urban regeneration projects

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In recent decades, rapid changes in society combined with economic crises have resulted in an accelerated production of obsolete spaces in cities. For the most part, obsolescence did not occur due to the physical detrition of the structures, but due to the mismatch between the characteristics of the space and the needs of the new contemporary dynamics. As a solution to reverse this situation, there are many large urban regeneration projects that use obsolete spaces to insert new dynamics into a certain part of the city disconnected from the history of the place and the existing community.
However, projects of this nature require huge political, technical and financial efforts, in other words, the time required to carry out this entire process is too long and this fact provides the opportunity to reflect on the possibilities of temporary uses in these territories. Between the use that was discontinued and the next planned use, it is possible to use obsolete structures to activate the spaces, attracting people, legitimizing new uses, and collaborating for the success of the implementation of the project.
In this paper, three urban experiences that captured the potential of the obsolescence moment of the spaces and promoted temporary uses with minimal impact on the structures, but with great changes in people's mentality will be presented: (i) part of the old King`s Cross railway complex in London; (ii) the old docks of Oudde Doken in Ghent; and (iii) the Bijlmerbajes prison complex in Amsterdam. Three different brownfields typologies where temporary uses have served to support existing regeneration and redevelopment projects, and which may show different perspectives for action in obsolete territories.

Corresponding Author

Pablo Costa

Universidade de Lisboa

Author #1:

Pablo Costa

Universidade de Lisboa

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Preferred Track

3. Terrain vague redevelopments

Second Preferred Track

6. Urban policies

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