Urban Transformation

Neighborhood Workshops in Hamburg and Cairo
Review and Outcome of the first Workshop in Hamburg (21.-30.8.2012)

“It is people who make a city tick.”

Having this idea in mind; 20 international students from different professional backgrounds discovered/explored/experienced/studied/discussed neighborhoods and their various appearances and functions in the city, while attending the “Neighborhood-Workshop” at the Neighborhood University (Universität der Nachbarschaften; short: UdN) in Hamburg.

This workshop was the first of two international “Neighborhood-Workshops” (Part-2 in Cairo: 21.-30.9.2012), funded by Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) and organized by Students of the Masterprogram Urban Design (UD) at HafenCity University (HCU) Hamburg under the supervision of Prof. Bernd Kniess (Dean Urban Design, HCU) in cooperation with the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University.

Participants stayed for 11 days in UdN, making it not only a place of learning, but rather created their own “neighborhood” for the duration of the workshop; with all its opportunities, responsibilities and also challenges related with living together, sharing common space and managing the different needs and wishes of each individual “neighbor” in the neighborhood.

Referring to the idea of “It is People who makes a city tick”, neighborhoods have been researched on by “zooming-in” into the neighborhood of Hamburg-Veddel, a residential area located on the Elbinsel in Hamburg. Participants were asked to develop own research-topics in interdisciplinary working groups and to focus their research by making use of the different professional methods and skills available.

Working Groups have been researching by trying to get as close as possible in touch with the neighborhood. Using office space in the research-area was the attempt to become a better feeling for the neighborhood, meeting local residents and activists sharpened the understanding of different neighborhoods in the research-area and participation in the community-festival helped to “get involved” with the neighborhood.

Outlook Cairo and Aims

In the second part of the workshop-series in Cairo, working groups will adjust their developed research strategies to the different urban context in Cairo and further develop their research-approach on understanding “people who make a city tick”.

The workshop-series in Hamburg and Cairo aims to develop interdisciplinary strategies on how to research recent processes of urban transformation from an international and multi-professional perspective. In order to overcome professional barriers, participants need to develop a “common language” by making use of the different tools and competences brought in by the participants. By putting high emphasis on interdisciplinary group-work and a rather interest than problem-based research approach, young academics’ will learn to widen their views regarding the complexity and various dynamics of today’s cities and urban practices.