Urban Oasis is a collective based in Medellín, Colombia and Berlin, Germany. Following the principles of co-production we develop and organize intercultural and multidisciplinary Urban Labs to jointly learn, discuss, design and build and thus to accompany transformation processes in informal neighborhoods.
Our heart and long-term project since 2016 is the Urban Lab Medellín I Berlin – an international think and do tank that brings together inhabitants, students, architects, artists, local authorities, and other urban actors from Colombia and Germany.
Its starting point is the informal settlement Moravia in the center of the Colombian metropolis Medellín. Moravia arose in the 60s, when displaces people from the civil war founded the neighborhood on the city’s landfill. Throughout the decades Moravia has defended its place in the city against all odds and has undergone an extraordinary transformation process, from a stigmatized slum to a safe, colorful and productive living space with a strong identity. Whilst the remarkable genesis of Moravia and its transformation state a hopeful example for the potentials of informal settlements, the circumstances of the forced relocation process of a part of the inhabitants that had lived on the former hill of garbage – el Morro – to the periphery of Medellín have caused great controversies. Further city plannings to demolish and resettle mayor parts of the remaining areas of the neighborhood keep causing a menace for the habitants and tensions between the city and the community.
Within the concept on an engaged teaching and applied research project, the goal of the Urban Lab Medellín I Berlin is to develop an alternative planning process for Moravia. Until 2020 six summer schools in Medellín and Berlin, five design studios, various thesis projects, several building projects (e.g. Escaleras Oasis Tropical, Taller Tropical, Cocina Popular) and several public events have taken place in both cities. A publication on the project, the Moravia Manifesto, was released in 2018.