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The New Town lecture series at the TU Delft, 2015-2016

The 2015-2016 edition of The New Town lecture series at the TU Delft is organised again in cooperation with Design as Politics (Prof. W. Vanstiphout) and Urbanism (Prof. Han Meyer). The topic of this year is Havana, a city at the cusp of enormous change. The communist government is gradually opening up its economic system, while the United States are expected to relax their boycott. This means that one of the most beautiful historic cities, with one of the most spectacular positions around a deepwater bay on the Caribbean, is open for the forces of the globalized economy.

In its existence of more than half a century shielded from capitalist pressures, it has developed some unique characteristics and strengths. It has one of the most complete systems of urban agriculture, managing to feed virtually the entire city. It has a healthcare system based on prevention which makes it both cheap and effective. And its beautiful 17th century downtown area is one of the most impressive examples of development through heritage conservation. When Havana will change, will these qualities survive, or will they be sacrificed to a neo-liberal redevelopment strategy?

The question this project wants to answer is how Havana can have its own specific form of urban transformation, that will redefine its strengths,in the context of an open society and an open economy. We will try and answer these questions by focusing on one of Havana’s youngest and most adventurous areas, the New Town of Alamar, a satellite city with 90.000 inhabitants, on the eastern side of Havana.

Lectures start at April 21, excursion to Havana 9-13 May.