The traditional city center of Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic has shared the same fate as many other historic areas in Latin America and the Caribbean. Once the most significant areas of urban life, traditional city centers have often been abandoned; they deteriorated as a result of rapid urban growth, decentralization, and urban sprawl. In the 1970s residents of Santiago de los Caballeros began to move to new neighborhoods, commercial activity was transferred to modern shopping malls and industrial production shifted to upcoming free trade zones. Today, the historic city center has been left behind as a monofunctional area of commercial use, thus leading to empty streets in the evening and at the weekend, when the area is considered dangerous.
In order to initiate the regeneration of the historic city center, a network of public spaces of cultural importance has been proposed. During the participatory workshops, we identified Benito Monción as the area with the highest density of cultural heritage buildings, and formulated an integral urban regeneration strategy for this particular site. Once the Benito Monción street has been transformed into a pedestrian-only corridor, it will become the main axis of activity crossing the area from north to south and connect the two most important bus stations. In the long term, the strategy seeks to densify the northern blocks through additional housing, create new public spaces within each superblock, and revitalize buildings and spaces of historical importance. Five concrete interventions have been proposed to catalyze the rehabilitation of the historic city center.
May to October, 2014
Authors: Tamara Egger, Andreas Hofer, Roland Krebs