Revitalization of Spanish city guides creation of new urban design publication

Only 15 years ago the city of Pontevedra, Spain, faced a declining population and a city center swarmed by nearly twice as many cars as residents.

To transform the city from a place dominated by traffic, noise and air pollution, Pontevedra leaders incorporated a series of simple but progressive measures that have created an inclusive, vibrant, streetscape tailored to the needs of residents.

By implementing a traffic calming plan, creating pedestrian-only avenues, and introducing humancentric elements such as quality lighting, public art and trees, the city has reversed the population slide, increasing residents by a third.

They have also created a network of well-connected public spaces, services and amenities that residents from all backgrounds frequent and enjoy.

Pontevedra’s success in transforming its public domain is exactly the type of story the Center for Active Design will use as a precedent in the development of a new publication, the “Design Guidelines for Robust Engagement.”

With the support of Knight Foundation, we will build on the success of the “Active Design Guidelines” by bringing our evidence-based approach to a new subject: the impact of design on civic engagement.

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