URBZ facilitates the production and exchange of information, knowledge, ideas and practices towards better cities for all.
We organize participatory workshops, designs adaptable structures and develops web tools for urban communities and practitioners.
URBZ believes that residents are experts in their neighbourhoods. Their everyday experience of the places where they live and work constitute an essential knowledge for planning and urban development.
For policy-makers, urban planners, architects and real-estate developers, accessing this knowledge is the best possible way to enhance the quality and impact of their work. Understanding a locality from the point of view of those who inhabit it improves the chances of success of a project at several levels:
. It identifies local stakes and players
. It opens multiple communication channels
. It generates new ideas and solutions
. It provides a deep assessment of the ground-level situation
. It improves social impact and environmental sustainability
. It lifts up the image of the project and increases support
URBZ is engaged in communities in various parts of the world. We support individual expression, grassroots involvement and ground up development and are committed to information sharing, open access and public participation.
Tools & Methodologies
URBZ uses web-based tools for the production and sharing of information by residents and stakeholders. URBZ develops “mashup sites”, comprising tools and applications such wikis, blogs, interactive maps, photo and videos albums and dynamic web pages.
Based on the experiences of its team, URBZ believes that – notwithstanding the digital divide – the Web remains the best medium to archive and spread knowledge and information on localities. It is cheaper than the print medium and allows many people to contribute over time.
URBZ regularly organizes participatory workshops that last 2 to 7 days where local residents work in small teams with guests from various fields to produce documentation in the form of surveys, designs, multimedia products, or documented action.
We then upload all the material produced on a website that all participants can access. In the process, the output is edited, organized and summarized so as to make it directly useful to all interested parties.
The URBZ workshops are resolutely open and inclusive. We believe that play and fun are natural paths to knowledge and innovation. The success of our workshops is based on the motivation and creativity of the participants.
URBZ is also interested in other forms of engagements with localities. Thanks to the variety of expertise represented by our team we are as likely to work on architectural projects, as getting involved in artistic or pedagogical initiatives. We have notably organized several conferences, seminars, studios and exhibitions.
URBZ’ main strength is its team, which is composed of extremely motivated and creative members from diverse fields including planning, architecture, design, anthropology, economy and information technology. We have offices in Mumbai and Geneva and our collaborators are spread around the world in places such as Mumbai, Goa, Geneva, New York and Santiago de Chile. In addition, we are lucky to have a constant influx of bright interns that join us to learn from our projects and unique methodology.