The Arrabal of Alcázar viejo from Cordoba: Urban, Hereditary and Sustainable Regeneration of the Historic City Centre

  • Rafael Cabello MontoroEmail author


Building sustainably begins from planning. Urban regeneration of our old city centres requires finding a functional balance between residential and touristic areas, especially between them and the rest of the city. In order to build public facilities or housings in a sustainable way aiming at repopulating them, municipal ordinances are needed. They shouldn’t evoke idyllic images that create an attractive and touristic reality that never existed. Repopulation, tourism and heritable identity have to walk hand in hand thanks to the planning. My thesis focuses on an arrabal (historical suburb of 13th century) called Alcázar viejo in Cordoba, where traditional houses are still in use. Each ancient house (casa patio), which count with a popular courtyard, used to be the home of several families. Nowadays these structures are owned by a single family. After being recently declared “Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO, the tangible value of them has been raised, resulting in such an increase in the tourism that the residential use is becoming endangered. Current Cordoba’s Historic City Centre Protection Special Plan (PEPCH) lays down an only ordinance regarding traditional casa patio for all this area. This rule is breaking arrabal’s popular identity and makes it difficult to repopulate it. This is a problem to build eco-efficient and sustainable constructions. The Plan pretends to impose an historical image not adapted to the society’s demands. So here I expect to propose improvements for a sustainable regeneration of the arrabal, especially regarding the planning, balancing it with tourism and heritage identity.


Courtyard Popular Sustainable Eco-Efficient Tourism 



Thesis Tutor and Director Victoriano Sainz Gutiérrez, Contributor Isabel Parras Pancorbo.


  1. Barrionuevo A (2005) Seville, forms of growth and construction of the city, 2nd edn. University of Seville, Secretary’s office of publications, SevilleGoogle Scholar
  2. Busquets J (2000) Toledo and its future. District Council of Toledo and Saving Bank of Castile La Mancha, ToledoGoogle Scholar
  3. Castilla del Pino C (1973) Hurry up to see Cordoba. Triunfo, 538 year XXVII, pp 20–23Google Scholar
  4. Cervellati PL (2007) The low density city, Provincial Council of Barcelona, From the city-garden to “chalépolis”, pp 185–200Google Scholar
  5. Daroca Bruño F PEPCH,
  6. Daroca Bruño F (2015) Personal interview, 15th of September, 2015. Architect and Professor of ETSA´s Project Department of the University of Seville, Andalusia, SpainGoogle Scholar
  7. Falini P (1985) Project’s new forms of the existing ones in Italy (Chapter 2) Evaluation of the necessities of the renovation. M.O.P.U, SevilleGoogle Scholar
  8. Nieto Cumplido M, Luca de Tena C (1980) The Alcázar viejo, a repopulation from Cordoba in the 14th century, Axerquía Journal of studies from CordobaGoogle Scholar
  9. Pino García JL (1999) The Cordoban house in the elderly of the Middle Age, Cordoba in the history: the construction of the city, Conference proceedings, 20th–23rd of May, 1997, Cordoba, pp 249–262Google Scholar
  10. Sierra JR (1980) Introduction to the formal analysis of the popular and domestic architecture in Seville. University of Seville (thesis)Google Scholar
  11. Solano Márquez F (1986) Cordoba’s squares from A to Z. no 29. The Corredera, an unpublished novel. Daily paper of Cordoba, CordobaGoogle Scholar
  12. Solano Márquez F (2014) Cordoba is patio. Editions Buendía, CordobaGoogle Scholar
  13. Ximeno F (2007) The low density city, Provincial Council of Barcelona, Free spaces and urban centres to restrain the low density, pp 427–452Google Scholar


  1. Figure 1: Cabello, R. (2011) The trace of the Corredera. (PhD thesis)Google Scholar
  2. Figure 2: Daroca, F. (2003) Building Plan from Cordoba´s PEPCHGoogle Scholar
  3. Figure 3: Cordoba Town Hall, (2016). Cordoban Patios Festival and Contest Plan, from 2nd to 15th of May, 2016Google Scholar
  4. Figure 4: Building Projects from Cordoba´s Historical and Municipal Archive (1880–1900)Google Scholar
  5. Figure 5: Building Projects from Cordoba´s Historical and Municipal Archive (1920–1950)Google Scholar
  6. Figure 6: Plans from Project of multi-family residential building on San Basilio Street, 47, Cordoba´s Historical and Municipal Archive (1984)Google Scholar
  7. Figure 7: Crespo, J. E. (2010) Plans from Project of renovation of a single-family home between Mediatrix on San Basilio Street, 42Google Scholar
  8. Figure 8: UPM Research Group New Techniques, Architecture, City. 2009–2010 (2010) Study about collective-patio housings from Cordoba. VIMCORSAGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Urban Sciences and Territorial PlanningSeville UniversitySevilleSpain

Personalised recommendations