The Calatrava model: reflections on resilience and urban plasticity


The article introduces a critical reflection on the effects that the version of cultural capitalism based on large events and architectural symbols has on the resilience of cities when used as an engine, and not as a complement to the policies of urban transformation. The article introduces as a case of study the so-called ‘Calatrava model’ of the city of Valencia. The model of a cultural bubble of Valencia, designed to enable a new space, is developed and contrasted with other two examples of urban transformation designed to revitalize spaces: Bilbao – symbolically represented by Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum – and the Barcelona 22@ – symbolically represented by Jean Nouvel’s Agbar Tower. Through the notion of ‘plasticity’ we analyse how, despite the overall failure of the Calatrava model and its negative effect on the short-term ability of the city to absorb shocks, Valencia is able to adapt and absorb the urban transformation around the Calatrava’s architectural complex and to incorporate it into their processes of dynamic resilience.

Rafael Boix Domenech Pau Rausell Köster Raúl Abeledo Sanchis Journal Article Data de publicació 2018 Journal European Planning Studies Volume 27 Issue Issue 1: The Role of Art and Culture for Regional and Urban Resilience Pages 29-47 DOI 10.1080/09654313.2016.1257570