Make City – a festival of architecture and urban alternatives


Berlin 11th-28th June 2015. The German capital is the venue of the first “Make City Festival – Re-sourcing the Urban”. The goal is trying to imagine the urban landscape of the future, and moreover, how to discover and optimize our resources.

The Festival brings together over 100 founding partners, among them: architects, designers, developers, civic groups and many others. Founded upon the notion of collaboration and participation, the issues at stake are several, and many of them are familiar to LabGov. Is it possible to re-think and renegotiate the urban space? How is it possible to open up spaces for new forms and practices of use? What is the future of our shared spaces?

To make the debate more challenging, the organization of the festival has found 3 main topics around which different levels of consultation and public events will spin, namely: urban commons, urban open sources, and urban living/working.

The city of Berlin, the venue of this first edition, was not chosen by chance; the city itself is a testimony of large-scale urban transformations, ad-hoc appropriations and new urban prototypes. The act of commoning is necessary for a city with the past and the present of Berlin. Collaboration among different levels of institutions is therefore contributing in the regeneration of many sites: RAW in the district of Friederichshain is an example. The organization RAW-Tempel, in collaboration with the city borough, has been managing independently this site – formerly a place for the maintenance of locomotives – for 15 years. RAW is now a hotspot for sports and other events. What is interesting in this case is the role of the public sector; the State was neither the planner nor the initiator, but was brought in to find a solutions between the owner and the squatters.

On the other hand, there is another case that needs to be mentioned here, and it is the one of the public referendum on the city government’s master plan for the re-development of the former Tempelhof Airfield (the largest open common of the city, now a park with urban gardening experiences). Citizens with their “nein” to this plan, showed that they want to be involved directly when it comes to decide about the use of their common spaces.

Although this successful cases, it is precisely to avoid the volatility of legislators (sometimes forward-looking, but way too often blind), owners, voters and sometimes squatters, that a more comprehensive and structured approach toward the issue of commons and urban regeneration is needed. The Berlin festival is an important moment along this path. We as labgovers and our community are of the very same idea. Professor Christian Iaione will be among the panelists, Friday 19th of June, to discuss with other experts on the issue of “Re-thinking Urban Governance”. Specifically, a governance that through participative processes will be able, in the future, to respond to global, economic and political changes.


Il festival “Make City” si terrà a Berlino dal 11 al 28 giugno. Tema centrale sarà quello di trovare soluzioni alternative per le città del futuro. Organizzato da più di 100 partner diversi – da architetti, a designer fino a gruppi della società civile – si cercherà di rispondere a domande fondamentali: come dovranno essere gestiti gli spazi pubblici in futuro? Come creare la sinergia necessaria per il bene comune?  La città di Berlino è da anni hub culturale di un movimento, quello della rigenerazione urbana, che sta prendendo sempre più piede. LabGov, nella persona del suo coordinatore, il professor Christian Iaione, sarà presente nel panel del 19 giugno sulla ricerca di alternative per una governance urbana.

Marco Quaglia