Urban Typhoon Workshops
Exhibition: Network | January 12, 2012 by Andrea-Lipps
Based on the philosophy that residents understand the primary needs of their communities, Urban Typhoon Workshops provide a platform for collaborative analysis and planning between urban planners, artists, architects, academics, and local residents involved in neighborhood life. As cities throughout the world work to redevelop unplanned areas with high real-estate value, Urban Typhoon Workshops and URBZ believe that local residents should be able to respond to redevelopment projects and offer their own alternative. Often, decision-making for urban development is inaccessible to most citizens. URBZ works to help neighborhoods participate in the production of information about their communities. By organizing community workshops, local residents can engage with professionals to produce valuable suggestions for governments and municipalities. The first workshop was held in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo when a city plan threatened to divide the community with a large, busy road. Ideas from professionals as well as local residents offered an alternative to the government’s initial plan. Two years later in 2008, URBZ organized a similar workshop in Dharavi for 130 people; both local and international participants contributed to the planning process. Thoughts and ideas for potential change were expressed through maps, drawings, texts, and photographs, intended to lead to a larger design plan for the community. In 2010, a third workshop was held in Khirkee Village, New Delhi, an area prone to excessive flooding and exposure to sewage. URBZ was invited by local arts association, KHOJ, to better understand the needs of the community and build relationships with residents. Both groups worked to ensure that local residents had a voice in the future of their city. Content from the meetings was uploaded to an online wiki source which could be accessed and referenced regardless of location, including site plans and essays translated into various languages. Projects generated from the various Urban Typhoon Workshops include community painting, a local cookbook, ringtones incorporating sounds of the village, and a photo project of local residents.
: URBZ: User-generated cities. Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, Japan, June 2006; Dharavi-Koliwada, Mumbai, India, March 2008; Khirkee, New Delhi, India, November 2010