Within the context of a world ever more urban and a seemingly ever growing number and magnitude of urban challenges, several Higher Education Institutions all over the world have in recent years established so-called “Urban Laboratories” to expand and strengthen their competences in the realms of architecture, urban planning and other built environment disciplines – and in doing so respond to the complex challenges associated with today’s urban age. These units have in common, that they are situated outside the traditional disciplinary boundaries of academic programs and are dedicated to inter- or transdisciplinary research and learning, put an emphasis on hands-on collaborative research and education, and are bringing together the disciplinary resources of the academy with the practical spheres of architecture, urban design and planning.
Composed of a total of eight established Urban Laboratories the project provides a platform for dialogue and cooperation between partners from Europe as well as from major regions of urban growth in South Africa, Asia, and Latin America and, in doing so, advance a common goal: to promote and deliver high-quality research and education in the built environment disciplines.
URBAN INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION
Aiming at addressing critical questions of today’s status and future orientation possibilities of the built environment the project URBAN LAB+ focusses on the thematic issue of urban inclusion and exclusion, which is widely recognized as a formidable challenge and figures prominently in current debates in the realms of architecture,planning, and public policy. A host of state and non-state actors at all levels of governance including the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the European Commission have embraced inclusion as a major objective in their urban development policies and many have called attention to the need for more research and innovative programs designed to work towards the vision of an Inclusive urban development.
A vision, the proposed network seeks to contribute to by enhancing research and training in this thematic area and by devoting our practice-oriented activities in real-life environment to the promotion of more inclusive forms of urban development. For these purposes three thematic clusters have been identified which each addresses one important aspect of the thematic umbrella of urban inclusion and urban laboratories in its practics are committed to, as:
- Internationalization/Global Education