Best urban regeneration projects of 2023

A selection of the most important urban projects we published this year, from ambitious master plans to brand new city parks.

In the race to make cities and metropolises resilient to the challenges we will face due to climate change, some projects are emerging as new starting points for thinking about public space.

Among the areas of intervention capable of making the urban fabric a more sustainable place, both from an ecological and social point of view, we can observe different variations of scale, from large master plan programs that will reshape the coastline of an entire city, to the design of squares and playgrounds.  

From the articles published by Domus in 2023, we have selected the projects that, from Europe to Asia, address today's challenges in the most interesting way.

Chinese sports park is inspired by local natural landscape

In China’s Kangbashi district of Ordos, PLAT ASIA studio signed the redesign of the Shijie urban plaza, now a sports park. The organization of the program responds compositionally to the various landscape types found in the area – which includes deserts, steppes and rivers – and integrating these elements into the spatial experience. Read more

The redevelopment of the oldest public park in the capital of Texas

In 2014, the city of Austin approved a redevelopment and restoration plan for the 84 acres of urban green space occupied by Pease Park, the oldest public park in the Texas capital, focusing the design on built elements, historic features, and cultural resources. For the project, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects collaborated with Clayton Korte and Mell Lawrence Architects to revitalize the southernmost portion of the park, known as Kingsbury Commons. Read more

High-biodiversity artificial lake created to contain flooding

Swedish firm White Arkitekter recently completed a stormwater pond in Uppsala, Sweden, that provides water purification and flood protection while creating a biodiverse landscape for local residents. The pond is located in Exercisfältet, a former military training area that has recently undergone major development that has reduced water infiltration. Read more

Trondheim harbour becomes a colourful neighbourhood with wooden buildings

COBE Architects presented the winning design in the competition for Nyhavna Utvikling, transformation of an industrial harbor into a new mixed-use neighborhood in Trondheim, Norway. The competition invited participating firms to reimagine the urban core while respecting the cultural heritage and maritime vocation of the place. Read more

MVRDV reimagines Vancouver’s coastline as sea levels rise

Organized by the City of Vancouver, Sea2City Design Challenge is a research team invited to define a framework and vision to guide urban development and ecological revitalization of the False Creek floodplain. The diverse design team worked specifically on long-term proposals for the Between Bridges and Coopers' Park areas, strategic points for a broader rethinking of the waterfront area in anticipation of a 2100 vision. Read More

Train depot becomes new urban landmark in Helsinki

The team resulting from the collaboration between MASSLAB and AFRY Ark Studio will develop a new urban landmark for the Pasila machine shop area in Helsinki. The proposal was selected from five submissions in a separate two-stage competition hosted by the Train Factory Group and the City of Helsinki. The former electric train building was transformed into a 45,000-square-meter office, retail, and hotel complex and reimagined as a social, commercial, and cultural hub, upgrading its historical heritage. Read more

SOM designs climate crisis research center in New York City

US firm SOM will design a new zero-emission university campus for Stony Brook University, one of New York's leading public research institutions. Named the New York Climate Exchange, the new buildings will be constructed on Governors Island – a 172-acre island in New York harbor – and will house an international research center for the development and dissemination of dynamic solutions to the global climate crisis. Read more

In Cyprus, the new Larnaca seafront signed by Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners recently unveiled plans for the redevelopment of the waterfront in Larnaca, a tourist city on the southern coast of Cyprus. The new project, commissioned by the oil company Petrolina Group, will gradually replace two kilometres of oil refineries located on the waterfront north of the town center. Read more

From mine to “cultural pier”: Sassari’s waterfront is taking a makeover