Costa de la Ruina: Neglected places at the Costa del Sol all the way from Malaga to Manilve

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SoftGrid in association with AESOP and IFHP
This chapter deals with the topic of the current situation of hundreds of empty and abandoned construction sites and their relations to their environment. This phenomenon has its roots in the time of mass construction, which was followed by the global financial crises. Nowadays these places are neglected and avoided by local residents and city municipalities. In particular, this paper is going to refer to the example of the Costa del Sol area in the south of Spain as the main case study. Since the 1950th this area in southern Spain experienced a tremendous urban growth in providing settlements and infrastructure for Mass Tourism. Rapidly it became one of the most travelled holiday destinations for Europeans. Short term vacation tourism, as well as long term and constant residents from Spain and abroad, bought a 2nd or summer resident home at the coast. Hence the major part of the developments comprises residential buildings. Most of these developments especially inland, prioritised time efficiency of construction, not quality of the structures. The developments have almost no reference to the history or identity of that area. This creates the feeling of being in a copy-paste-mass-production-urbanisation, with fences and borders. There are isolated settlements, unrelated to their surrounding and even other neighbouring regions. The levelling of the topography to establish infrastructure for roads and houses caused big scale nature destruction and landscape sealing. These developments continued until the Spanish property bubble burst in 2008 due to the global economy and financial crisis. Since then plenty of ‘in progress’ buildings stopped in construction and still remain in that very situation as they came to halt four years ago. Some of the developments could continue but even these structures are empty today. Together with other vacant developments they are generating ghost towns as though nobody ever lived there. What is going to happen with that kind of abandoned and neglected urban obstacles, when there is no money to continue, to transform or to destruct? How can one interact with the residential building typology that appears along the coast and has become part of Costa del Sol’s identity?
Architecture & Planning in Times of Scarcity : Reclaiming the Possibility of Making. 3rd AESOP European Urban Summer School 2012, Manchester
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