Metropolis nonformal


Symposium launching the UN-Habitat Hub on Informal Urbanism, Sophiensaal, Sophienstr. 6, Munich

20. - 23. November 2013


Informal urbanism is one of the dominant forces driving urban growth in cities in the developing world. During the last half-century a range of interventions were developed to improve the living conditions of existing informal neighborhoods. Less clear, however, are viable strategies for the additional projected two billion ‘slum’ dwellers by 2050. Policy makers mostly focus on the infrastructural deficiencies and illegal status of informal urbanization. In contrast, Metropolis Nonformal – Anticipation operates under the realization that self-construction is in many countries the only viable urbanization model for low-income migrants. Metropolis Nonformal – Anticipation insists that cities must shift from a negative attitude of prevention to a more positive attitude of anticipation and assistance to growing numbers of informal settlers.

The symposium explored anticipatory strategies that actively integrate the entrepreneurial capacity and intelligence of low-income migrants in the production of future urban growth. Are there alternative land ownership and land allocation models that can provide buildable sites? What is the urban form and framework of managed self-construction? How does one communicate with urban migrants in waiting, in transition or recently arrived? Can self-built holistic and resourceful infrastructures be deployed to foster water management, close food-waste cycles, provide building material, offer transport solutions, mitigate unsafe sites and ultimately generate income and jobs?

Metropolis Nonformal served as the launching event of a new ‘Hub on Informal Urbanism’ as part of the Habitat Partner University Initiative (HPUI).


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17:00 Reception  


Claudio Acioly: The Nonformal City



[Translate to en:]

09:00 Introduction  
  Regine Keller: Welcome by the vice president of TUM?Christian Werthmann: Metropolis  Nonformal - Landscape, Infrastructure and Urbanism in the Global South          
09:30 Community  
  Phillip Thompson: Participation and Social Engineering Flavio Janches: Whose City is it? Design Strategies for Marginalized Communities in Buenos Aires?Moderator: Hubert Klumpner          
11:30 Productivity  
  Gabriel Duarte: Angolan and Brazilian Favelas
Arthur Adeya: Productive Public Space in Kibera, Nairobi 
Moderator: Phillip Thompson    
13:00 Lunch Break  
14:00 Fluidity  
  Fernando de Mello Franco: Watery Voids, São Paulo 
Anuradha Mathur: SOAK, Mumbai
Moderator: Gabriel Duarte      
16:00 Mobility  
  Hubert Klumpner: Scaling Caracas’ Magic Mountain
Alejandro Echeverri: Transportation, Education and Public Space in Medellin
Moderator: Fernando de Mello Franco        
17:30 Final  
  Oliver Heiss, Werner Lang, Regine Keller, Udo Weilacher, Sophie Wolfrum
Moderator: Christian Werthmann    

Farewell, Get-Together




Christian Werthmann,
TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Senior Fellow (TUM Institute for Advanced Study),
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Design, Leibniz University Hannover

Hosted by:
Regine Keller, TUM in collaboration with UN-Habitat

Supported by

UN-Habitat – Claudio Acioly Jr., Head Capacity Development Unit, Housing & Urban Management Expert
TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS) – Director Gerhard Abstreiter
International Center, TUM
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
TUM Graduate School - Graduate Center Architecture
Bayerische Architektenkammer
CAD-Solutions – Graphisoft
Bruns Pflanzen-Export GmbH & Co. KG
Südhausbau KG


Juliane Schneegans, coordinator of the symposium
Sigrid Wagner, event manager/web coordinator of TUM-IAS
Tatjana Steinberger, program manager of TUM-IAS
Asa Isacson, UN Habitat
Christina Milos, Leibniz University Hannover


Nonformal urbanization will be the dominant mode of urban growth in the coming decades. The results of this growth go by many well-known names, including: slums, favelas, and shantytowns. The precarious conditions of these settlements, excluded from formal legal, social, and infrastructural systems, present a central challenge—and opportunity—in our current and future cities. Short texts explain a range of projects and initiatives, complimented by photographs and personal insights, to present a diversity of responses to the global phenomenon known here as “Metropolis Nonformal”. 

Metropolis Nonformal
Christian Werthmann and Jessica Bridger
ORO Applied Research + Design, 2016
240 Seiten
ISBN 978-1-940743-14-1

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