Cities play an increasingly main role in the development of nations and are the result of a collective construction between the state and the citizens. Therefore, they require rules to determine the responsibilities and rights of both of them and more comprehensive policies and strategies from the environmental, sociocultural and socioeconomic point of view, as well as the means to ensure the fulfillment of the goals. In this context, it is essential to articulate four types of urban instruments: planning, management, control and promotion of development that understand the participation of citizens and institutions as a transversal element.
At present, Cuban cities are subject to strong transformations because of the boom in tourism, the opening of new forms of economic management, the authorization of selling and buying of property and the growing role of the foreign investment. Although they represent an opportunity for the creation of new infrastructures, the gene- ration of jobs and income, and the rehabilitation of buildings, among other positive aspects, they can also cause territorial unbalance economically, environmentally and socially and the loss of patrimonial values due to the pre- valence of visions encouraging development over the cultivated ones. The growth of the cities demands on the one hand natural, human, economic and technological resources, and on the other hand suitable policies and urban practices that can promote a prosperous, sustainable and including development. Handling these situations can imply changes in the institutional, legal and administrative frame of the city and the updating of the town planning instruments that guarantee greater control of the future of cities, both for the public actors and the citizens.
The strengthening of local governments and the cession of competences for municipal or provincial management create new governmental challenges, which are manifested in the generation of capacities and instruments to order the actions of the public sector and the private sector, to generate local sources of income, to promote the citizens’ participation and to exercise urban control. It cannot be obviated that when transformations in the institutional, juridical, administrative frames and others occur, or when big urban transformations linked to economic development are foreseen, it is necessary to assess and possibly re-analyze the traditional instruments for planning and management of the city, supplementing them with instruments for financing, control and promotion of development that even nowadays remain as pending subject.
In this context, the Master Plan of the Office of the Historian of Havana City calls to the 15th International Meeting on the Handling and Management of Historic Centers, with the goal of having a dialogue about the topics presented. Sponsored by the European Union, the Town Hall of Barcelona, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE), and the Friedrich Ebert Federation (FES), the meeting will take place in the Palacio del Segundo Cabo (the former Vice-governor’s Palace) current Centre of Interpretation of the Cultural Relations between Cuba and Europe., located on the Square of Arms, in Havana’s historic centre.