UCL Urban Laboratory


Website for Turning Tables at La Biennale di Venezia launched

25 May 2016

UCL Urban Laboratory is exhibiting at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, as part of the URBAN LAB+ network's Turning Tables project. The website for the project is now online at www.turning-tables.it

Turning Tables website

Education guides architects and urbanists towards taking up a responsible position in time and space. Through education, it is possible to question, evaluate, relocate and re-identify this position.

Where is intervention most critical, most effective? How can educational institutions learn from each other, recognize common ground and unite to challenge existing models which simplify, segregate and monopolize urban space? We have observed that although urban issues are complex, space has been simplified, although cultural diversity is rich, daily existence is segregated and although resources are plentiful, access is scarce.

The laboratory format of Urban Lab+, a network of urban laboratories across the globe, aims to step outside the standard university framework and find new ways of preparing for action, for reflecting on and interacting with, the urban environment. It aims to turn the tables between Europe and the Global South, between theory and practice and between inside and outside institutions. In order to guide the makers of the future environment, it pursues an expanded range of practices, protagonists, disciplines and "cultures" in the urban debate.

Turning Tables describes our combined positions.

On the table, eight placemats set a place for each urban laboratory plus one placemat that represents all the "others" who will join the table during the Biennales time. At a range of scales and in diverse cultural contexts, the projects embedded in this table will tell the stories of our Topics - Commons, Climate and Social Relations - our Strategies - Reappropriation/Regeneration, Adaptation/Mitigation, Cooperation/Inclusion - and our Tools - Games, Online Platforms and Maps.

A participative educational program will be developed for the table over the period of the Biennale: interested groups and biennale visitors are invited to participate in the learning exchange at the table and expand or contribute to, the stories initiated by our labs. It will become a space and an educational resource for all in an open-ended process. Accompanying the events at the table, an online platform records and organizes events in real time, but also offers a virtual space and time at the table for distant participants.

Turning Tables is the platform utilized to present positions and to create an evolving set of relationships, which we argue will be essential to our very existence in time and space- new forms of learning  and collaboration must be found. Turning Tables refers to the exchange of expertise, dialogue and democracy, but also to a purposeful critique, suspicion, rejection and reversal of existing paradigms.

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