Mobilising the Periphery
with the Schindler Transit Management Group



A collaborative project focussing on the development of the urban periphery, aiming at stimulating an exchange of ideas, discussing new solutions and contributing new insights to the understanding of evolving global urbanisation patterns

Urban peripheries - such as informal cities, barrios and suburbs – are typically perceived to present only great challenges or problems. With the project Mobilising the Periphery, ANCB and the Schindler Transit Management Group set out to stimulate new ways of thinking, to question the given precondition of current development and to initiate a discourse on urban realities at the periphery. The aim of the project was to cross-connect new approaches and insights within a widening network and to archive and share best-practice examples with a global audience, thus creating a new public community for urban peripheries worldwide.

The subject was explored and interpreted from a range of perspectives prevalent in cities today, including examples of physical periphery – on the edge of the city (ghettos, suburbs, segregated housing estates), unregulated periphery – outside of the formal masterplan (slums, barrios, informal cities) and social periphery – on the margins of society (homeless, disabled, elderly, ethnic minorities).

Over the course of three years, four types of periphery, exemplified by four case studies – top-down-planning (China), informality and urban pattern (Sub-Saharan Africa), segregation (Europe) and upgrading (Latin America) – in connection to participation and social justice were discussed in different formats.

ANCB Project Curator: Eduard Kögel, architect and researcher, Berlin

Mobilising the Periphery #1. Four Types, Four Cases
Symposium and Workshop: 6 June 2015. Video recording
This kick-off symposium brought together experts from Europe, Asia, South America and Africa. They shared their work and insights into the issue of informality, upgrading, top-down-planning and segregation in the on-going process of urbanisation in the respective case-study areas. The public symposium was continued with an Internal Expert Workshop. The workshop provided an opportunity for the invited experts of the four study regions to discuss in-depth the pressing issues in an open discourse with the aim to sharpen the research questions for the project. In four working groups the need for outreaching networks and the exchange between the different investigated aspects were discussed. What can be learned from African informality and how can it be transformed to be useful in regions with strong formal frameworks? What can be transferred from upgrading favelas in South America to formal housing in Chinese developments? How to break open segregated communities with informal or upgrading strategies in unconventional ways?

Mobilising the Periphery #2. Focus China: The New Habitat
Symposium and Workshop: 27–28 November 2015. Video recording
The government and the population in China are challenged by rapid urbanisation. The amount of arable land in the urban regions is shrinking at high speed and is therefore a valuable resource in need of a new strategy for allocation. There is a high demand for affordable housing, for additional forms of food production, for the reduction of long commuting distances – simply for a compact city organised in clusters of high functionality and with resilient impact. How to reach an inclusive model that uses synergies and produces a dense network of interaction? How to integrate a city-wide strategy with bottom-up initiatives on a local scale? What are the realities and obstacles of the people living in so-called Urban Villages? How can the existing low-quality settlements at the fringes of the cities be upgraded? Are there new strategies in discussion for a hybrid new habitat?

Mobilising the Periphery #3. Focus Sub-Saharan Africa: Informality and Urban Pattern
Symposium and Workshop: 1–2 July 2016. Video recording
Africa is urbanising at the fastest rate worldwide. A combination of significant, survival-driven rural-to-urban migration, continued high population growth and the reclassification of vast amounts of land as urban are resulting in slum-like urban conditions on the edges and in the centre of cities; critically so in Sub-Saharan African cities where any coordinated provision of basic utilities and services cannot keep pace with population growth. Consequently, the condition of informality dominates. This third symposium within the ANCB and Schindler collaborative research project on urban periphery focused on informality and its associated urban patterns, as manifest in the urban peripheries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Participants presented exemplary responses from urban practice and research, across the spectrum from policy to on the ground project.

Mobilising the Periphery #4. Focus Latin America: From Segregated to Integrated Urban Landscape
Symposium and Workshop: 27–28 January 2017. Video recording
As a result of three decades of continuous population growth, today 80% of the Latin American population lives in urban areas, making it one of the most urbanised regions in the world, albeit with dramatic variations in the degree and type of urbanisation across the region. Significant social and physical inequalities challenge urban planning and governance, and seem to be ingrained in the overriding form of peri-urban landscape that has emerged, characterised by distinct and expansive low-density peripheries. This fourth symposium within the ANCB & Schindler collaborative research project on urban periphery explored broad-ranging urban research and practice responses to this peri-urban condition.

Mobilising the Periphery #5. Focus Europe: From Fragmented Periphery to Metropolitan Region
Symposium and Workshop: 27–28 April 2018. Video recording
Within the past decade, many European municipalities have attempted to remedy problems in social housing estates on their urban fringes with new planning concepts that integrate the provision of employment, recreation, affordable housing, cultural infrastructure and mobility; often seeking out new co-production structures with local inhabitants and actors to deliver these infrastructures and services. In this context, urban planners and architects are increasingly asked to provide proposals that think beyond basic spatial provision. 

This fifth and final symposium within the ANCB and Schindler Collaborative Project on the urban periphery invited reflection on these attempts, and whether they are transferrable to the other manifestations of European periphery mentioned above. It also continued the central enquiry theme on the potential role of self-initiated or 'informal' strategies in this context. The urgency of the periphery is not only about preventing further marginalisation. Ultimately, it is about turning the situations into an advantage for the local inhabitants, and for the wider city.

An ANCB Collaborative Project with the Schindler Transit Management Group, Ebikon


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