La Candelaria is a traditional neighborhood in the historic city center, located behind the old cathedral of Managua, next to the lake. The area was emblematic—with a vibrant urban life, cinemas, bars—and it was where Managua Central Railway Station was located until 1992. But this prestigious neighborhood was completely destroyed during the 1972 earthquake; it was abandoned and left to decay until the 1990s, when spontaneous settlements brought new life to this area. La Candelaria’s strategic central location is an asset, but the neighborhood sits on two seismic fault lines that, together with the risk of flooding and landslides, makes it extremely vulnerable to disasters. In addition, forty years of urban dereliction have resulted in severe problems that continue to affect the neighborhood’s inhabitants today. An acute housing shortage and insecurity are some of the most pressing issues. Today, La Candelaria is one of the poorest and most unsafe neighborhoods in Nicaragua capital city, but the area was profoundly influenced by the transformation of the Paseo Xolotlan, one of Managua’s largest public space interventions.
The urban revitalization strategy for La Candelaria is structured into three projects of different scales. The conceptual design suggests reviving the neighborhood through housing projects that respect the historic urban grid and streetscape. The strategy seeks to strengthen sustainable mobility through public transportation, cycling, and pedestrian-friendly solutions. Furthermore, new centralities will emerge as an urban ecosystem made up of connected green spaces and corridors that is integrated into an urban fabric offering a diversity of uses and high density housing.
February to May, 2014
Authors: Do Huber, Emma Grün, Roland Krebs, Andreas Hofer