The social, environmental and urban recovery of the General Belgrano railway premises

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Main actors

City Government, Public Utility

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Project area

Neighborhood or district

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Ongoing since 2018/11

The railway premises plan is an initiative of the Municipality of Cordoba, aimed at the recovery of the General Belgrano railway premises and surrounding public spaces through urban regeneration.

This plan is framed within the objectives of urban development and territorial planning outlined in the "Sustainable Cordoba" Strategic Line, as part of the 2016-2019 Government Goals Plan. The key goal of the plan is good use of state-owned real estate based on criteria of sustainable urbanism.

The recovery project aims to overcome the physical barriers generated by the railway lines, by transforming them into axes of mobility and urban development, integrating these extensive areas into the fabric of the surrounding neighbourhoods. Another objective is to develop a system of strategic locations close to the central area of the city.

This project has been chosen by the city of Córdoba to be peer-reviewed in the frame of the Sustainable Cities Collaboratory:

Sustainable Development Goals

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Córdoba, Argentina

Size and population development
Córdoba has a total extension of 576 square kilometres. In 2010, the census data recovered showed that the city had 1,329,604 inhabitants, only 45,000 more than it did in 2001. Furthermore, its projection to the year 2025 is for the population to increase only a total of 100,000 inhabitants (this means an annual variation of four percent in average). The city is highly urban, although with a population density that is significantly lower in comparison to Buenos Aires, with 2,308 people living per square kilometre.

Population composition
The city of Córdoba is known partly because of its university (the University of Córdoba, founded in 1613), with its over 114,000 students coming from across the country and the continent. Many of the students who arrive to Córdoba come from the North and Northwest of Argentina, as well as from neighbouring countries like Perú, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The majority of the people born in Córdoba are of Italian and Spanish descent. Additionally, Córdoba hosts the second most extensive Jewish community in the country (after the city of Buenos Aires), and has also received an influx of people from Lebanon, Syria, Korea, China, Japan, Ireland and Croatia. It has a long multicultural tradition, with the number of foreign born making up 43 percent of the population in the 1910s.

Main functions
The city of Córdoba is the second most populous city in Argentina, and it is located 484 metres above sea level in the nation’s central region, on the banks of the Suquía River. It is also the capital of the Province of Córdoba, which is not identical with the city. It is a place with a strong colonial tradition, maintaining its place as the country’s most active provincial city. The preeminent role of higher education and the presence of university students has earned it the nickname of La Docta or The Knowledgeable. Furthermore, Córdoba differs from other cities in the country like Buenos Aires that represent more important touristic hubs. Culturally, the city is recognized for its colonial architecture in central buildings, owed to the presence of the Catholic Jesuit order. The National University of Córdoba is one example, as it is the oldest university in Argentina and fourth in the American continent. Another example is the Jesuitic Quarter (la Manzana Jesuítica) was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2000.

Main industries / business
Córdoba is a city that thrives from the commerce and services sector, which make up 77 percent of its Gross Geographic Product. In 2007, Córdoba’s contribution to the national GDP equated to 3.65 percent. The automotive industry is important as well, as the city hosts the most important terminals for car manufacturers like Renault and Fiat. For more than a decade, Córdoba has also made an effort to have an influential technological sector, made possible by the creation a technology cluster and the establishment of national and foreign companies around the National University, which contained the largest supercomputer in Argentina between the years of 2010 and 2017.

Sources for city budget
The city budget combines the local tax revenues and capital injection. Córdoba is one of the few cities in Argentina that is allowed to collect taxes, being its largest budget source, followed by the Federal Tax-Share to which all provinces are subjected by law. Third, a budgetary source for the city of Córdoba is the revenues collected through user fees, property rents and business licenses.

Political structure
Córdoba is the capital of the Province of Córdoba which means that, in addition to local governance, the city hosts the powers of the state, housing the governorship, the Justice Superior Tribunal and the State Congress (single chamber congress). These decide on every matter except those of national interest, which means that the Province (one of 24 nationwide) possesses great degrees of autonomy according to law.

Administrative structure
The city is divided into 11 Communal Participation Centres (CPC) which serve as terminals of the municipality, to help take care of the main administrative functions of the city: green areas, waste management, public transport services, control and decision over the use of soil, etc. Each of these CPC’s is composed of a number of barrios or neighbourhoods, to which we may add the existence and presence of countries, private neighbourhoods closed off to the public. The CPC’s are complemented by neighbourhood centres (Centros Vecinales), civil associations conformed by neighbours who monitor municipal activity.

The project is located in the northern peri-central area of the city, on the route of the General Belgrano Railway (FCGB). Together, the estates cover an area of approximately 62 hectares.

Objectives for the project are:

  • Preservation of architectural heritage
  • Social housing
  • Urban & Metropolitan mobility system
  • Public space and new programs destined for the civil and community use
  • Financing of the project
  • Citizen’s participation

Within the framework of the social, environmental and urban recovery plan, an agreement has been signed between the Municipality of Córdoba and the State Property Management Agency, establishing the main guidelines for the future development of the sector:

  • Intervention on 51 hectares of the approximately 62 hectares of total surface area that make up three railway estates: Los Galpones, the one corresponding to the Station in Alta Córdoba and Ex Forja neighborhoods. The remaining 11 hectares are reserved for railway use, in order to maintain the operation of the General Belgrano Railroad, also considering the future reactivation of the passenger rail system and the development of multimodal transport alternatives.
  • On the 51 hectares to be intervened, the percentages that will correspond to areas of public use and utility and areas of private use are established, defining that between 60% and 65% of the properties will be transferred to municipal domain. This transfer means that the City of Cordoba will have between 30 and 33 hectares for new urban parks, green spaces, community facilities and new streets that integrate neighbourhoods.
  • An area of approximately 8.5 hectares has been established where the new headquarters of the City Council and a new Municipal education park are to be located, among other activities, and existing building infrastructures can be recovered.
  • On an area of between 40% and 35% of the 51 hectares of intervention, the proposal includes the redevelopment of informal settlements that will be integrated in the existing fabric. Similarly, the proposal foresees new urbanization areas for the development of collective housing mixed with commercial and service activities, accompanied by green areas. The overall objective is the functional integration with the existing neighbourhood fabric.
  • The integral urban development of the complex will be carried out through the realization of a public competition of ideas of national scope. Entries closed on 17/07/18; 14 proposals were submitted and are currently being evaluated.

The lead agency for the project is the Municipality of Cordoba.

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