Contemporary cities in the Iberian Peninsula have gone through a period of dramatic changes during the last decade. A period of upward economic indicators and massive urbanization was followed by a tremendous financial crash in 2007 that sank Spanish and Portuguese societies into a profound crisis. That period of massive urbanization has been explained by several factors: the availability of financial capital that was speculatively invested in real-estate, a rather sympathetic land use regulation, and the real or perceived social mobility by most social groups which included housing acquisition enabled by unusual credit facilities. In this book we aim to show several different aspects of this process both in Portugal and Spanish cities, problematizing the economic and social consequences of such a model of urban and economic growth and also presenting some policy and governance outcomes that took place along the last decade. This book was published as a special issue of Urban Research and Practice.
Nuria Benach is a human geographer at the Universitat de Barcelona working on urban issues and critical spatial thinking. Andres Walliser is an urban sociologist. He is currently an associate professor of sociology at NYU and of urban governance at Hertie School of Governance in Berlin as well as a practitioner in urban policy.
1. Introduction: urban problems and issues in contemporary Spanish and Portuguese cities Nuria Benach and Andres Walliser 2. Subversion of land-use plans and the housing bubble in Spain Eugenio L. Burriel 3. The process of residential sprawl in Spain: Is it really a problem? Arlinda Garcia-Coll 4. Catalysing governance in a paradoxical city: the Lisbon Strategic Charter and the uncertainties of political empowerment in the Portuguese capital city Joao Seixas 5. Area-based initiatives and urban dynamics. The case of the Porto city centre Jose A. Rio Fernandes 6. The five challenges of urban rehabilitation. The Catalan experience Oriol Nel*lo 7. Urban governance and regeneration policies in historic city centres: Madrid and Barcelona Ismael Blanco, Jordi Bonet and Andres Walliser 8. Epilogue Nuria Benach and Andres Walliser