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The restoration of Old Havana is internationally acclaimed as one of the world’s most innovative and inspiring projects of urban renaissance.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which had a dramatic impact on the Cuban economy, the Office of the City Historian led by Eusebio Leal generates revenues through the touristic infrastructure to invest in heritage restoration and social facilities.
With an “integral restoration” plan, Eusebio Leal has rescued hundreds of landmark buildings and revived its cultural life while taking a stand against gentrification by insisting that Old Havana inhabitants must continue to live, work, study and retire amidst the historic city centre.

How to answer to the titanic challenge of preserving the architectural and cultural heritage of the city? Is it possible to avoid the pattern of a tourist mecca so spread throughout the world without overwhelming and distort local culture and citizens? Can a city urban plan foresee social impact? How to finance the restoration in economic conditions of extreme adversity?

BOZAR and the Embassy of Cuba are inviting Eusebio Leal to share the professional secrets of his work, the on-going and future plans and Benoit Moritz architect and urbanist to steer the conversation.