Cities

What is Urban Lab Medellín/Berlin?

For decades, Medellín was synonymous with drug wars, violence and a lack of public infrastructure. However, thanks to a progressive urban planning policy, the Columbian city has succeeded in turning this around. For decades, the Berlin district of Kreuzberg has also been a melting pot and the scene of various urban transformation processes. The Urban Lab Medellín/Berlin project, an initiative by architects and students of architecture, works both cities with the aim of developing and testing new urban planning concepts.

Why Urban Lab Medellín/Berlin?

Spanning two very diverse regions, Urban Lab Medellín/Berlin advocates innovative, participatory urban planning methods. This corresponds to Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft’s aim of fostering social cohesion, both in an intercontinental context, as well as in Germany and Europe.

What can urban planning in countries as different as Columbia and Germany have in common? It is not the intention of Urban Lab Medellín/Berlin to transplant prefabricated templates from Germany in a less well-off country. Rather, the project advocates a change of perspective and asks what the global North can learn from the South.

How does Urban Lab Medellín/Berlin work?

Urban Lab Medellín/Berlin sees itself as a “Think-Do-Tank”. Accordingly, two guiding principles define its work: first, Urban Lab wants to stimulate a long-term discourse on urban development in both cities. Second, the specific urban contexts in Medellín and Berlin are the basis from which widely applicable parameters for urban planning can be derived.

With these aims in mind, Urban Lab organised two multi-day workshops in 2017 which took place in Columbia and Germany. The “Spring School Medellín” focused on intercultural exchange and participation by an urban community which was being relocated. Mixed teams of Columbian and German students and experts from various specialist fields worked on a broad range of questions and developed concepts. The subsequent “Summer School Berlin” brought the participants together again to test and develop the results of the Spring School in Medellín in the context of Berlin-Kreuzberg.

A lasting monument to the project in Medellín is construction of an urban stairway in the Moravia district (Escaleras Oasis Tropical). A video documenting this can be found here.

Our Partners

Urban Lab Medellín I Berlin is a project run by Urban Oasis (Maximilian Becker, Albert Kreisel, Tobias Schrammek), in collaboration with the Habitat Unit at TU Berlin (Professor Philipp Misselwitz, Nina Pawlicki, Moritz Ahlert), the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (Prof. Alejandro Restrepo-Montoya) and representatives of the quarter Moravia, supported by Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and Arch+ Verein zur Förderung des Architektur- und Stadtdiskurses.

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