Living Lab

Generating Common Grounds on the Move

From the Global South to Berlin

Transformative science promotes the generation of transformational knowledge that is oriented towards social change. It thus stands in contrast to status-quo promoting knowledge, on the assumption that transformation is indispensable to achieve more sustainable ways of inhabiting this planet. By definition, this involves the integration of diverse forms of knowledge, including those other than scientific. At the same time, it raises the question of how to raise this new integrated knowledge, where, with whom, how to make it visible and experiential, and how to share the knowledge gained to stimulate change on a larger scale. As landscape architects, we seek methods in and with the space and materialities of the soil we work with, and at the same time, the many fragmented urban landscapes that face global challenges. We understand these landscapes as interactive spaces whose interwoven socio-natural processes can be made sustainable through stimulating design. The aim here is to enhance the quality of sustainable urban living. In recent years, we have come together in various transdisciplinary collaborations to initiate change through spatial ideas and interventions in places of extreme fragmentation in the Global South: in selected urban landscapes in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Kigali (Rwanda). The emerging methodological approaches have been tested with different strategies that generate transformational potential. What they have in common is that they materialised integrative knowledge in space, linking synergies between actors, infrastructures and natural processes for future scenarios, developments or practices. They stimulate transfer to selected European transformation spaces, e.g. Berlin’s Mitte, where the north-west of Kreuzberg is considered one of the most fragmented districts of the metropolis. Integrative methodologies developed in our “source landscapes” of the Global South can stimulate a co-transfer to the “target landscapes” of the Global North, so that during this transfer, common ground can be built that is interconnected both at the concrete level of the selected places and at the level of transdisciplinary methodology and knowledge generation. Three films from each of our source landscapes show how a series of collaboratively and interactively developed projects brought about spatial and systemic changes on the ground, while helping to fill knowledge gaps in the methodology of transdisciplinary research.

“Creating” means engaging in collaborative research and spatial design processes.

“Common Grounds” means generating integrative knowledge about different actors, spaces and systems as interactions of natural processes, human-made infrastructures, perceived realities and imagined futures.

“Movement” means gaining insights and at the same time transferring lessons from the Global South to the Global North.

Thematic approaches:
#methodological approaches #co-transfer of transformation knowledge.

Spatial approaches:
#fragmented urban landscapes

Methodological approaches:
#building = collaborative design processes
#common grounds = integrative and interactive knowledge production
#on the move = cotransferring lessons from Global South to Global North

TU Berlin (FG Landscape Architecture.Open Space Planning) – Prof. Undine Giseke, Dr. Kathrin Wieck + SLU Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Department of Landscape Architecture,
Planning and Management) – Prof. Dr. Lisa Diedrich + UBA Universidad de Buenos Aires (Faculdad de Arquitectura Diseño e Urbanismo) – Prof. Dr. Flavio Janches

Video from Buenos Aires project ‘Diseñando Oportunidades Urbanas Juegos e Integración’
Video from Rapid Planning (Kigali) project ‘Amazi n’ubutaka – Water and Soil, The Rapid Planning Entry Project in Kigali/Rwanda’
Video from Rio de Janeiro project: COLLOC 2019 – Alumniworkshop in the self-organized occupation Solano Trindade, Duque de Caxias’