2 min read
Jun 2020

Conservatorio: Urban Regeneration Without Gentrification



Conservatorio is a real estate development company that builds mixed-income, mixed-use (commercial or residential) projects in deteriorated but historically significant areas of Central American cities, particularly in Panama, El Salvador and Honduras.

Urban revitalisation poses a balancing challenge between urban development and social inclusion. In the usual ‘gentrification’ process, community spaces, affordable housing, and diverse retail are absorbed by investors, pricing out lower-income residents who are forced to move out of the city. The unique cultural identity of a place is lost to homogenisation, and cultural symbols and traditions are destroyed.

Conservatorio has developed policies including building one affordable unit for each high-end unit and focusing on attracting independent retail businesses. The company also works with NGOs dedicated to building social and human capital in order to help local residents take better advantage of the opportunities created by the revitalisation of their neighbourhood. These include an organisation that rehabilitates gang members.

This case study was prepared for the 2019 Oxford Economics of Mutuality Forum

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