Creating transformations with urban interventions – University of Copenhagen

International Education > Newsletter > Urban Intervention

08 January 2017

Creating transformations with urban interventions

Because we can no longer roll out completely new-made cities, we must learn to respond and work within the existing. This is the idea behind the Urban Intervention Studio course which University of California Berkeley exchange student Joan Campos attended at UCPH. In this course traditional classroom teaching is replaced with hands-on work and breakfast salons.

Joy – the rocking boat

The Urban Intervention Studio gives students an insight into how temporary interventions can act as agents of change in urban environments. Instead of attending conventional classroom sessions on urban design theory, Joan and her fellow students were asked to tool up and get practical: “We actually had to build it ourselves!”

Joan passionately emphasises the importance of building your own intervention by hand:  “It made us feel that our intervention had a meaning and was there to stay.” Joan shows us the sketches of Joy – a colourful tree boat-shaped playable piece of furniture, which she and her fellow classmates built for a site in the Copenhagen harbour.  “The name is very representative of the location and of our design concept,” Joan explains.

Landscape Architecture meets Performance Studies

Associate Professor Bettina Lamm, the prime force behind the Urban Intervention Studio course, finds it important to facilitate a presence on site that allows for adaptations and alterations to be made in the moment. “New conditions require new tools for transformation. In this course, we construct urban interventions that respond to current conditions on site while simultaneously setting out potential trajectories for the future,” Bettina Lamm says.

Urban breakfast salons

In addition to the practical and on-site approach, the course also takes a different approach to student-lecture interaction. To foster creativity and help students develop innovative ideas, students and lecturers get together at breakfast salons for discussions and conversations. The informal yet structured forum works to support and expand the understanding of how to work in new ways on places in transition.

To Joan Campos, the Urban Intervention Studio course was a unique and rewarding experience during her exchange programme at UCPH.