Neighborhood reconstruction, community identity, and place attachment: mixed experiences from the mass social housing complex of Sant Cosme, Barcelona

Raquel Colacios, Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo, Isabelle Anguelovski


While recent scholarship on place attachment has focused on the social construction of the people-place relationship, few studies to date have examined the role that (1) processes for neighborhood reconstruction and designing public space and (2) the configuration of the public space itself play in generating community identity and place attachment. This paper attempts to contribute to this debate by analyzing through an innovative mixed-methods approach the extent to which both neighborhood reconstruction together with the physical characteristics of newly built open space and the procedural dimension of its design influence the creation of feelings of identity and attachment in historically marginalized mass housing neighborhoods. Through the analysis of the level and nature of citizen participation in the  reconstruction of Sant Cosme, a mass social housing estate in the periphery of Barcelona, we argue that when a reconstruction process does not further build identity beyond the home space and marginalizes civic participation, it eliminates opportunities to develop the self-esteem needed to create a more empowered and pro-active community, and it produces social separation and segregation within the neighborhood itself. Second, when the design process marginalizes civic participation and disregards everyday experiences, socially constructed places, places of significance, mixed uses and social mixity, and the community needs and visions regarding memory and shared history, it creates disconnected public spaces from the residents’ imagery and expected uses.


Place attachment; urban reconstruction; community involvement; neighborhood; social housing.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Raquel Colacios, Carmen Mendoza-Arroyo, Isabelle Anguelovski

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

ISSN: 2239-267X

Licenza Creative Commons

Quest'opera è distribuita con Licenza Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale 4.0 Internazionale