Designing Madrid, 1985-1997

Malcolm Alan Compitello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The Plan General de Ordenación Urbano de Madrid (PGOUM) of 1985 is a crucial watershed in the planning processes in Madrid. This essay is particularly interested in how the tension between spatial production and consumption played out during a period in which consumption-based strategies of urban growth and design began to supplant the last stand for a radical modernist-based use of urban planning. In Madrid a consumption-based urban boosterism approach to the planning process was inexorably hegemonic but vigorously resisted in certain sectors. Examining how graphic design figured into urban planning battles offers an interesting example of the synergies between capital, the production and consumption of space and cultural creation. Graphic design becomes a crucial element in the process of reshaping the image of Madrid, of re-presenting the city as a modern or post-modern European metropolis. The PGOUM was perhaps Spain's last great attempt at rational modernist urban planning with an emphasis on social justice. The resistance to capital once played out on the center stage of planning was replaced with slick images, portraying a city of consumption and growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Consumption
  • Culture
  • Graphic design
  • Politics
  • Selling place
  • Spain
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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