2024 - Here we are !

2024 - Here we are !

We take a moment to reflect on urbz's achievements in 2023 and our objectives for 2024. We started in Mumbai in 2008 where we are busier than ever. Over the years we expanded our activities to Goa, Bogota, Geneva and now Paris. For 2024, we make the good resolution of communicating better and more frequently with our friends and followers!

As the earth and its inhabitants start a new trip around the sun, we take a minute to reflect on our journey in 2023 and what we would like to achieve in 2024.

The best news from 2023 (which we haven’t shared yet) is being approached by re:arc - a Danish foundation working with a new paradigm: selecting a handful of architecture/urban practices around the world and offering them funding to realise their dream project. We proposed to work on a participatory urban plan for Dharavi-Koliwada in Mumbai, the neighbourhood where urbz was created in 2008. More about this soon on urbz.net - but yes, we are incredibly thrilled to have been selected by re:arc and working on something that we find so meaningful in the context of a city that we love.

Meanwhile, the team was busy working with two Red Cross organisations: In 2023 we wrapped up a plan for a total makeover of the ICRC’s headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The plan was validated by the ICRC and presented to the government. Its implementation, however, will have to wait for better days as the organisation had major financial difficulties in 2023, linked to its deep involvement in Ukraine and about 100 other zones of conflict around the world.

In 2023 we continued working with the IFRC on a Red Cross park project around their headquarters in the neighbourhood of Petit-Saconnex, in Geneva. The pre-project emerged through a series of 60 participatory events aimed at staff and neighbours. These were documented by the Paris team on a dedicated website: ifrcpark.ch. We are now about to enter the project phase, when detailed plans will be elaborated and a series of hands-on actions will take place on-site.

We also have some great news from Bogota. Last year, our team was invited to share experiences at the National Housing Forum in Costa Rica and by municipalities of Nicaragua, Salvador and Guatemala. Alongside this, we continued working on community space projects in Cazuca and Soacha, especially the community cinema - Casa Guadua. We conducted several bio-construction workshops to add finishing touches to the structure. 

For this year, we plan to continue our collaboration with Proyectos Escape - a community organisation of Altos de Pino and will host several international workshops on architecture and emerging urbanism to work on a large public space in Cazuca. Additionally, there will be an exciting discussion event - architecture in community, in which architecture and urbanism collectives, social organizations and community leaders will share their experiences. Stay tuned to urbz.net to learn more about it. 

Another exciting thing that happened last year; urbz launched an office in Paris. This allows the expansion of urbz activities in the realm of participatory urbanism into the European Union. urbz Paris will also strengthen our longstanding interest in media, by using video documentation as a form of intervention in urban contexts. Some of our ongoing projects explore the concept and reality of Third Spaces (Tiers Lieux) in Paris and a special laboratory for creative exchange between urbanists and storytellers (mainly film and TV producers).

Paris also came to Geneva in the form of a collaboration between urbz and the Centquatre, a multipurpose art space and collaborative platform based in Paris’ 19th arrondissement. Together with the Centquatre team, urbz will develop the program of a cultural space at the heart of Geneva’s new Étoile neighbourhood. This is the continuation of the Cultura Fertilis project started in 2017.

Other projects and collaborations in 2023 include (in no specific order): the design of an eco-resort in the Konkan region (between Mumbai and Goa); the design of 4 houses in Dharavi; a plan for civic infrastructure in Dharavi-Koliwada; several consultative processes on mobility in Geneva and Lausanne (Lausanne, Plan-les-Ouates, Tour-de-Peilz); and the elaboration of a funding proposal for Urbanology - a talks and residency program in Geneva.

Last but not least, we have continued publishing and disseminating our ideas, experiences, methods and theories through a series of lectures and workshops with New York University Abu Dhabi (NYU AD); Harvard; EPFL (Lausanne); CEPT (Ahmedabad); and the India Land and Development Conference in Pune. We have also published peer-reviewed articles on Mumbai’s homegrown neighbourhoods and tool-houses with the “Routledge Handbook of Asian Cities” and the journal “Built Environment” special issue on ‘Homes that Work’.

In 2024, we want to develop new capacities in video production, project management and business development. But more importantly, we want to get better at keeping in touch with long-time and new friends and collaborators who are following our work and supporting us through their comments on social media, engagement with our writings, and participation in our workshops.

Looking forward to seeing you soon in Mumbai, Goa, Bogota, Paris or Geneva!

Best wishes from the urbz team


Matias Echanove (Geneva, Mumbai)

Rahul Srivastava (Paris, Mumbai)

Bharat Gangurde (Mumbai)

Samidha Patil (Mumbai, Goa)

Amin Khosravi (Geneva)

Andres Sanchez Arias (Bogota)

Jai Bhadgaonkar (Mumbai)

Kareena Khochery (Mumbai, Goa)

Leonardo Vimos (Cartagena, Geneva)

Gabriela Jeanrenaud (Lausanne)

Clarissa Pelino (Paris)

Ardjoume Binbin (Geneva, Lomé)

Arthur Modoianu (Geneva)

Antonio Gioia (Naples, Paris)

Sunset / Sunrise by Hugh Ebdy / urbz
Sunset / Sunrise by Hugh Ebdy / urbz