Negotiating the Future of Urban Living

Article

Nine Urban Biotopes (9UB) brings together cultural exchange with artistic research in a multi-layered network project onvisionary practices for sustainable cities in Europe and South Africa.

Street art in London of a human face.

CUCR became the academic partner in the international cooperation project Nine Urban Biotopes: Negotiating the Future of Urban Living conducted under the aegis of the European Commission Culture Programme Strand 1.3.5. in the period from 2013 to 2015. 

About the project

Nine Urban Biotopes (9UB) brings together cultural exchange with artistic research in a multi-layered network project onvisionary practices for sustainable cities in Europe and South Africa.  

With partners in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, London, Paris, Turin and Berlin, the project aims at generating an inclusive trans-local dialogue on bottom-up urban development bridging diverse socio-cultural contexts and concerns. Innovative and practice-proven local initiatives in the fields of migration, housing, provision of livelihoods, mobility, health and public safety will be brought into creative exchange by means of 3x3 community-integrated artist-in-residency programmes, an comprehensive web-based communication platform and an innovative dialogical exhibition and outreach strategy.  

CUCR will lead the academic support to the overall project and evaluate it throughout, encouraging and critically accompanying the trans-local and multi-level dialogue, measuring the project’s achievements and impact, and situating the project within the wider theoretical discussion. 

About 9UB

9UB is initiated by Berlin-based metropolitan art organisation urban dialogues. Projectpartners are Cape Town Community TV, dala architecture (Durban), Drama for Life Wits University (Johannesburg), id22: Institute for Creative Sustainability (Berlin), Istituto Wesen (Turin), Planact (Johannesburg), Quatorze (Paris) and South London Gallery, as well as Anschlaege (Berlin), CUCR Goldsmiths (London), German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ (Pretoria) and Goethe-Institut South Africa (Cape Town). 

The project builds on CUCR’s on-going partnership and collaboration with Urban Dialogues and the South London Gallery. 

Lead Evaluators: Alison Rooke and Christian von Wissel

Goals of the project

“The key goal of this project is to discuss and discover solution models and practical alternatives that reach beyond the key challenges of today’s cities, to bring them in relation and to inform each other, and to strengthen local positions in the articulation of such urban futures.” (9UB EU-1.3.5. application, 2012)

3x3 artistic projects will researchin 3x3 local urban contexts engaging with active citizens and initiators of innovative, ‘self-made’ and ‘street-level’ urban development projects. Close working relations between involved artists, activists and organisations, together with an on-going dialogue with local and international publics, create an exchange of ideas, methods and practical skills in search for local answers to global urban questions whilst bringing into focus the diversity in socio-material conditions within our modern urbanity.

Local network communicators – 9UB’s “embedded/integrated reporters” – will accompany and portray each participatory arts project using social apps and smart phone technology. By means of web-based communication and the power of virtual social networks, the citizens of local participating projects are linked up and become themselves actors in an “arena of exchange”.  

“Thanks to the fact that many organizations are involved and the exchange of ideas takes a central place, the proposal promotes intercultural dialogue. This will be done by transferring the project message and deepening the understanding of living conditions in an urban and cultural sense. This is positive since the proposed activities will be interventional as well as participative and especially will be woven into the network of existing projects.” (Strand 1.3.5. Application Evaluation Report)

Further details

Urban Biotopes website

Urban Dialogues website