Downtown rehabilitation of Santiago de Compostela, Spain


Downtown rehabilitation of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Mismatches Services Cultural suitability
Policies and regulations Local policies Global frameworks
Urban Design Modelos De Ciudad Urban fabrics Environments Quality Liveability

Main objectives of the project

Santiago de Compostela, the historic capital of Galicia, faces the challenge of rehabilitating its medieval centre, protecting its heritage and avoiding the displacement of residents due to the influx of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Since the 1990s, a comprehensive programme has improved housing, facilities and public spaces, prioritising residential use and creating green corridors and pedestrian areas. These initiatives, financed in part by public-private partnerships, have raised the quality of life and fostered greater cultural identification and heritage conservation.


  • 1994: Implementation


  • Concello de Santiago de Compostela


Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Spain


Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, a region within Spain, is a medium-sized but ancient city. It has about 100,000 inhabitants. Known especially for being the final destination of the Camino de Santiago, Compostela is one of the main destinations for the Catholic community. This attracts many pilgrims and visitors, which has an impact on housing prices. This is particularly noticeable in its centre, where it faces the challenge of rehabilitating very old houses (some of medieval origin), protecting the heritage and ensuring that neighbours are not displaced. Hence, in the 1990s, a comprehensive rehabilitation programme was put in place, which sought to act on housing, neighbourhoods and neighbourhood support policies to enable a thriving city centre.

The main objective of the upgrading and recovery actions in the historic centre of Santiago has been to stabilise and improve the quality of life of the resident population. Therefore, the interventions have prioritised residential use as the central objective in the historic city, implementing comprehensive housing rehabilitation programmes.

These actions have been complemented by improvements in facilities and public space in various dimensions, such as the integration of peri-urban green spaces (corridors connecting the centre with the rural landscape) and the creation of a pedestrian priority zone. These strategies have increased the consideration of the centre as a meeting space. The strategic role of the historic centre as a space for residents is a topic of contemporary debate on historic centres which, in this case, has had a positive impact, contributing to improving the quality of the historic centre.

In addition, its environmental dimension is notable, with the integration of new green corridors in a compact historic environment, as well as the public-private partnership in its financing. Finally, the impact of the interventions has transcended the physical, as, together with the collaboration of a diverse network of agents, it has promoted the cultural identification of the heritage of the historic centre by the citizens, which has improved the quality of maintenance and a conscious use of the areas of the historic centre.