Case Study 3

Empower neighborhood groups and the city council to activate vacant buildings for new ways of communal living

Typology 3: Interrupted process

Cristina Botana Iglesias, Laura García López, Sabela Martínez Blanco, Tania Fraga Beiroa

Research Questions
The Group focuses on investigating local citizens necessities through on site interviews as well as the changing legal framework of the site and the opportunities for new proposals created by a recent change in local building law.

Research Methodology
Starting from understanding the history of the urban form of the neighbourhood, the group investigates in detail the last 20 years of changes in the legal framework relevant to their site. The abandonment of the construction as a consequence of the financial crisis was complicated by a change in the building law in 2013 (PXOM 2013) that prohibited the previous construction of 15 story buildings therefore freezing all possible interventions taking place using the existing structure. On Site interviews with neighbours investigated their needs and the heterogenous social fabric of the neighbourhood.

The group proposes to investigate the potential of recent building laws (Lei do solo Galicia, 2/2016, art. 135 (…duty to build according to the license obtained) and art. 137 (…council has the authority to expropriate…) as an opportunity for new proposals. The group proposes to empower the council to work with different local social groups to create social housing or co housing for elderly people as they consider this to be a mayor urban deficits.The group puts forward two proposals, one finishing the structure as is, the second reducing the height of the structure to the now legal height limit.


Empoderar os grupos do barrio e o concello para activar edificios desocupados para novas formas de convivencia comunitaria

Tipoloxía 3: proceso interrompido

Cristina Botana Iglesias, Laura García López, Sabela Martínez Blanco, Tania Fraga Beiroa

Cuestións disparadoras
O grupo céntrase en investigar as necesidades dos cidadáns locais a través das entrevistas realizadas no lugar e no coñecemento do marco legal cambiante do sitio e das oportunidades para novas propostas creadas por un cambio recente na lei de construción local.

Metodoloxía da investigación
A partir da comprensión da historia da forma urbana do barrio, o grupo investiga detalladamente os últimos vinte anos de cambios no marco legal relevantes para o seu sitio. O abandono da construción como consecuencia da crise financeira fíxose aínda máis complexo por mor dun un cambio na lei de construción en 2013 (PXOM 2013) que prohibía a construción previa de edificios de quince plantas polo que conxelaba todas as intervencións posibles que tivesen lugar usando a estrutura existente. As entrevistas realizadas no lugar ás persoas residentes permitiron o coñecemento das súas necesidades e do tecido social heteroxéneo do barrio.

O grupo propón investigar o potencial das recente leis da edificación (Lei do Solo de  Galicia, 2/2016, art. 135 “...débese construír de acordo coa licenza obtida” e do seu art. 137 “...o concello ten a autoridade de expropiar...” como oportunidade para novas propostas. O grupo propón capacitar ao concello para que traballe con diferentes grupos sociais locais para crear vivendas sociais ou vivendas para persoas maiores xa que consideran que se trata do maior déficit urbano actualmente. O grupo presenta dúas propostas, unha que remataría a estrutura tal e como foi planificada en orixe e unha segunda, reducindo a altura da estrutura ata o límite de altura agora legal.


Javier Harguindey

Interested in uncovering the links between forces that shape the urban environment (social, technical,…) with focus on the demographics and data.

Architect / Urbanist, UDC

Prof. Dr. Placido Lizancos

Interested in building up a research methodology to address key questions on identification and classification of the issue. Interested in understanding what has the "crisis" left behind and to establish a scientific method by which to address it. Interested in exposing academia to "real life" contexts and setting the teaching conditions to ensure that the classroom is not committed to supporting such practice that facilitates such crisis.

Architecture Professor UDC

Scott Lloyd

Interested in understanding the actions, networks and forces that give shape to the city. Interested developing new models of applied research to investigate the issue. Interested in the format of teaching to inform and empower the next generation of city makers.

Architect, MSc Arch ETHZ

Xosé Lois

Interested in analysing what can be done with existed buildings with the notion that each example is of itself a particular context. This takes into account the relations between different components of the systems that shape the building context.

Population and the role of Galicia in state policy where real state is one of the main economic motor of economic growth.

This is a very complex situation, we cannot propose just one question, as the project is develops, questions will appear. What kind of economic model we want? Rental or production? What kind of country do we want? We destroy our productive model and now we have a speculative model based on construction of space

Architect, UDC

Hans-Christian Rufer

Interested to create access to affordable housing. Interested in a multidisciplinary approach that corresponds to the complex environment of housing. Interested to use the architecture studio as a place to integrate the diverse range of partners into site specific projects.

Architect, MSc Arch ETHZ


Dr. Estefanía Calo

Interested in recovering links between the right to housing and the right to the City: both are under threat and both are required in order to achieve urban justice. Interested in establishing Empty Coruña? is a first stage to develop knowledge about how to resist this systemic threat against basic citizen rights.

Sociologist, UDC


Anxo Calvo

Is the market able to solve the problem by itself or should we be looking for regulatory solutions? What regulatory frameworks are available and appropriate for Coruña?

Economist, UDC

Roberto Castro Thome

Interested in the question of regulation as nothing is possible from a single bank with even the ethical banks that are trying to do something having no success. Furthermore interested in the Valuing agencies as they overvalued housing during the creation of the bubble.

Banker, Association Pro-Housing


Fernando Del Llano

Interested in researching the current conditions as an environment issue focusing on energy and economic point of view.

Environmental Scientist, UDC

Ángeles Longadera

Interested in researching energy efficiency, energy “pobreza”

Environmental Scientist, UDC

Urban Studies

Manuel García Docampo

Interested in investigating a research methodology that encompasses the three dimensions of: Agency – Processes – Objects

Sociologist, UDC   


José María Cardesín Diz

Interested in researching urban growth and development of 7 cities in Galicia during the crisis in order to compare them with A Coruña

Historian, UDC


Ricard Leonardo

Interested in researching the formal administrative tools utilised to frame and criminalize “illegal” occupation. Research should take a critical point of view and investigate what people do by themselves to solve the problem.

Architect / Activist


Michael Juan Sierra

Sonia Beltrán

Interested in researching the right to housing

Interested in researching the social problem of the crisis and how these are urban issues

Architecture Students / Mapping team, UDC


Amal Nnechachi

Interested in the human side of the crisis as hauman rights are being undermined. Drawing from experiences of colleagues who have suffered directly from the housing problems.

Cartolab UDC

Alberto Varela

Interested in mapping and understanding the effect of the crisis in the urban context in order to visualize the problem.  In order to identify the problem the social point of view should be taken into account through information tools and extend the study to other cities.

Cartolab UDC

Building Engineering

Santiago López

Interested in researching technical approaches to improving environmental issues and to minimize the environmental impact of empty buildings. There is a social interest in this approach.

We should complete empty buildings taking into account alternative materials and techniques and develop innovative environmental building techniques.

Building Engineer