The Global Urban Lab | TU Delft & BK Initiative

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The Global Urban Lab | TU Delft & BK Initiative

Development of sponge cities, urban renewal decision making in China, underpinning housing policy as design for values and management of low-income condominiums in Bogotá. – just a grasp of the topics covered by the Global Urban Lab. 

As a part of the TU Delft | Global Initiative, the Global Urban Lab is a communication and action platform with the goal to bring visibility to TU Delft staff and students doing work on the urbanisation on the Global South. With a team of around 80 staff and students, the Global Urban Lab works tirelessly on creating a platform that encourages learning, meeting and collaboration between universities, researchers, and practitioners in a transdisciplinary manner.

This platform is international, it focuses on the urbanisation problems of the Global South and uses its knowledge and capacity to generate solutions to the known problems. It is a space for experimentation, informing, initiatives and research. 

The Global South can roughly be defined as the areas of Latin America, Africa and Asia. This makes the topics covered by the Global Urban Lab very diverse. The last year has been filled with public events, eg. BK initiatives (1Million homes, or African Perspectives) and UTC’s (Urban Thinkers Campus – part of the UN Habitat movement). All these events happen over the course of several weeks, or months, and have more than one publication, lecture or other part to participate in. 

The last UTC, Manifesto for the Just City, focussed on the right for housing in a sustainable way. As the GUL says: The Just City is not only a place that allows all its citizens to live a healthy and accomplished life, but also a city that allows the planet to regenerate itself and fosters civic life and democracy, affording all its citizens the right to the city. ”

Students from over a 100 universities came together to discuss this topic and learn from lectures of professionals globally. After attending diverse conferences during a month, they wrote a manifesto, to propagate beliefs and solutions on how a Just City should be created. Over 50 manifestos were submitted, these can be read online at the Global Urban Lab website or TU Delft repository. 

Furthermore the Lab wants to share alternative views and knowledge with a positive collaboration from all over the planet, working together to develop alternative solutions for political and environmental unrest. When all the current urbanising cities are developed sustainably, a lot of the current world problems will be solved, says Roberto Rocco (member of the GUL team and Associate Professor of Spatial Planning and Strategy at the Department of Urbanism). He goes on to say that we need to listen to and learn from each other. Collaborating with people around the world brings out the best and we share challenges we need to solve together. The silver lining of the Covid pandemic has been connecting further and globally than usual – the connections were almost magical. 

Listen to the latest podcast of BOSS to hear more about what Roberto has to say. If you are interested in the topics covered, or in joining the Global Urban Lab, you can find all their information on their website, Do not hesitate to reach out to them, for more information or any questions.