PAX-Patios de la Axerquía
PAX-Patios de la Axerquía is an innovative system of governance for heritage buildings that fosters a new model of urban regeneration through social innovation in a heritage context. The rehabilitation of the abandoned patio-houses or “casa de vecinos” in Córdoba, Spain, aims to restore the environmental value of the Mediterranean city and to upgrade its historical characteristics in a contemporary way, together with the local community. The cooperative model aims to offer a more sustainable solution in response to the real estate bubble in Córdoba, the depopulation of the city centre, as well as unsustainable tourism in the city.
The strength of the PAX project is based on the consolidation of a heritage community around urban regeneration and the social recognition of a rich material heritage, which in turn sheds light on the intangible heritage to which it is tied.
On the one hand, PAX facilitates the co-management of an ecosystem that links citizens, social entities, institutions and universities. On the other hand, the housing cooperative is an instrument for the building of a Social and Solidarity Economy (economic activities that prioritise people and the environment over maximising profits), which in turn contributes to community cohesion in a patio.
As a pilot of the strategy, the first PAX cooperative, financed by the Ethical Bank, rehabilitated a vacant 18th-century patio-house in Córdoba. The house is one of the most interesting “casa de vecinos” in the Axerquia area of the city of Córdoba and represents not just the intersection of European and Maghreb architecture, but also the intangible heritage of a way of life that is present in much of the Mediterranean.
This model of sustainable urban development opens up a pathway for the repopulation of the inner city by the local community, the generation of microemployment, and support for collective projects that incorporate refugees and migrants in a solidarity system based on the heritage value of the patio.
Based on the empowerment of citizens as managers of their habitat, the proposal for urban regeneration contributes to their understanding of a more socially and environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient model of the historical Mediterranean city.
“The PAX-Patios de la Axerquía project is commendable for dealing with depopulation and sustainable living and focusing on climate action. In renewing these often-forgotten inner spaces of these residential buildings, the project has shown how the revival of a way of life can offer solutions for dealing, for example, with high temperatures in cost-effective and climate neutral ways. It is an example of how the revitalisation of cultural heritage can be significant in addressing contemporary challenges,” emphasised the Awards’ Jury.