About our project and our website

This blog provides information on the international research project “Hybrid Urbanisms”, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG – Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). You will find insights into our work and information about upcoming events. Furthermore reports and results of fieldwork and notifications on publications can be found. More information about the research project itself can be discovered in the Project tab. In case of questions about the project, you can contact us via the contact form or by writing an e-mail.

Visit from our project partner in Peru: Álvaro Del Carpio León in Cottbus

Right at the beginning of the new year, we welcomed our Hybrid Urbanisms project partner and Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the Universidad San Martín de Porres (USMP) Álvaro del Carpio León to B-TU in Cottbus.

We took the opportunity to discuss the many joint projects for 2023: the upcoming workshop with Peruvian experts on the findings from our project in Arequipa, the freshly approved summer school directly afterwards and the preparations for a joint book project to conclude the research project.

We also used the time to talk about further joint projects and deepening the exchange between the B-TU and the USMP. After a full day of work we also had a wonderful evening together to celebrate our fruitful cooperation!

Funding granted: DAAD Summer School “Practising Interdisciplinarity in Planning and Design of Secondary Cities” in Arequipa in September 2023

We have received the good news from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) that our application in the programme area “Summer Schools Abroad” was successful. For September 2023, we are planning a 10-day summer school in Arequipa, which will be run jointly by 10 academics from Peruvian and German universities.

The summer school “Practising Interdisciplinarity in Planning and Design of Secondary Cities” will use concrete projects in Arequipa to look for interdisciplinary approaches to finding answers to planning and architectural challenges in Secondary Cities of the Global South.

Up to 30 students and young researchers from Peru can participate in the summer school. We will soon publish a Call for Participation and the programme of the summer school, both of which will also be posted on this website.

A Month in Sunyani; Field works and a bit more 

After Pearl´s first day of exploration in the various study areas, it was key for her to build a relationship with members of the community, their traditional leaders, opinion leaders and experts in the Municipal Assembly (Sunyani West Municipal Assembly and Sunyani Municipal Assembly) as well as experts in Ghana Water Company. To be allowed to enter a suburb for official purpose, it was important for the team to formally visit the Traditional Leaders of Baakoniaba and Berlin Top and the locally elected opinion leaders to inform them about our presence in their neighborhood. This act, technically known as community entry, was done to show respect to the elders of the community as well as serve as a safety measure for the team members since acceptance from the elders can be directly translated as acceptance from the residents of the community thus community members being more opened to team members. The team also went to the offices of all the experts that will be needed in the course of the study. Two weeks after being in Sunyani, Pearl had to visit Nairobi-Kenya for a workshop on African Cities in which she had a presentation on informal water vendors. Returning in the last week of the month, Pearl with the assistance of the research assistant began interviews with households as well as water vendors and taxi drivers.

First Day on the Field in Ghana

Investigation into hybrid forms of infrastructure delivery can only be exhausted if the researchers live with and speak to the people who are directly involved in these infrastructures; water and mobility. For this reason, to begin the field survey, Pearl Puwurayire, arrived in Sunyani, Ghana on Sunyani 7th May, 2022. To integrate more easily into the city, it was imperative for her to consult Dr. Akudugu, the Dean for the planning school in University of Energy and Natural Resources – Sunyani and engage the services of a research assistant, Nathaniel, with whom they took a trip to take a look at the tentative study areas by moving through the nook and cranny of the various areas; looking out for the first impression of the water points, water vendors, stand pipes, tanks, roads and transport services. Few conversations were held with dwellers of the residents during the short expedition for the purpose of building rapport and having a fair understanding of their interpretation of translated words in the interview guide.

Generally, the reception by members of the community were was very warm. The team was able to decided which neighbourhood fitted best into the criteria of the Project. In the end, it was agreed that ´Kotorkrom´, ´Baakoniaba´ and ´Berlin top´ were the most suitable places for the study.

The struggle for land titles: Protest march of the people of Peregrinos de Chapi

The residents of Peregrinos de Chapi (but also in our other neighbourhoods) have as their goal the formalisation of ownership in their neighbourhood. Property titles do not only mean more security for the residents regarding their land and the buildings erected on it, but also strengthen the claim to infrastructure services such as water and electricity. They thus represent a central tool for the formalisation of the pueblos jovenes. To demand their land titles, the president of the association organised a protest march in the centre of Arequipa. The route led past the office of the state registration authority and the headquarters of the Arequipa regional administration. Talks were held with employees at both institutions and documents were handed in, and an employee of the administration also addressed a few words to the protesters. The protest ended at the Plaza de Armas, the central square in the city centre. Here, all participants signed up on lists to document their participation.

Hybrid Constellations in Practise: Sundays “faenas” in Arequipa

In the “pueblos jovenes” there are often neighbourhood meetings organised by the presidents of the associations on Sundays. The neighbours also meet there to work on the development of the local infrastructures themselves. According to the associations’ statutes, non-participation is subject to a penalty fee for neighbours. We have taken part in many of these meetings, conducted interviews there, documented ourselves with photos or had the neighbours take pictures for the project. We also helped out ourselves and had people explain to us how auto-construction works in the different contexts of the neighbourhoods.

Angeles de la Cruz- in hilly Sachaca, residents are busy constructing 2 central connecting roads at different elevation levels. The building material is cut out of the hill directly on site, the resulting free flat areas are already planned as plots for further residential houses. These projects will continue for several months until the first cars can drive on the roads. It is unclear when the government will take over the tarring and the installation of professional protection on the sides of the roads.

Casa Huerta de las Lomas del Cural – Here, the first steps towards the design of the central square are being taken by the residents. The municipality has provided several hundred trees, each resident plants four of these trees him- or herself and is subsequently also responsible for the care and watering of these trees.

Sector 10 in Peregrinos de Chapi – this is also part of the activities at the neighbourhood gatherings. On the central square in Sector 10, neighbours meet on Sunday afternoons after the meeting and play volleyball together. The neighbours would like playground equipment for the neighbouring open space so that their children also have something to do within sight. At the moment, the management of Sector 10 is looking for funding options for this; municipal or government funding options are not known to those responsible.

Exploring our neighborhoods in Arequipa

The conclusion of the first exploratory phase in the field research in Arequipa was the final selection of three neighborhoods in the north, west and south of the city. All three neighborhoods are united by their relatively young age of 15-25 years and the construction activity of current and future residents. The neighborhoods are organized as “asociaciones” and the neighbors elect a president every two years. This president, in turn, has a varying amount of personnel and material resources at his disposal. This administrative apparatus is financed by contributions from the residents. Through the support of the three presidents of the neighborhoods, it has already been possible to gather a lot of information and establish contacts with the residents. We have completed many field visits and observed a wide variety of forms of infrastructure provision and the underlying processes of their social and material production.

In the next phase of the field research, we will conduct on-site interviews with many residents to focus on their perspectives on the development of their neighborhoods and, in particular, their use of water and mobility. In addition to the semi-structured interviews, some residents will be asked to take photos of their perspective on their neighborhood in order to capture key places and developments for them.

Angeles de la Cruz is located in the west of the center of Arequipa in the district of Sachaca. Buildings are constructed on a hill surrounded by agricultrual land.

Peregrinos de Chapi is located in the south of Arequipa Center in the district of Quequeña. The association covers a lot of land and is divided into 10 sectors. We conduct our fieldwork in sector 10, the newest of them.

Casa Huerta las Lomas de Cural in the north of Arequipa is located in the district of Cerro Colorado which is often described as the arrival area for many immigrants coming from other regions in Peru, mostly north of Arequipa.

First impressions from fieldwork in Arequipa

Christian Rosen’s field research in Arequipa, Peru, began on 2 April. For a total of three months, he will be researching hybrid forms of urban development in various parts of the city using the concept of delivery configurations of the infrastructures water and mobility. The first two weeks are dedicated to explorative work. This includes visits to many different neighbourhoods, including initial discussions with residents, discussions with researchers from local universities and initial interviews with other local experts. The aim is to review the case selection already prepared in advance and to determine a suitable procedure for the following phase of on-site field research in the neighbourhoods.

First impressions from two city districts:

Consolidated neighbourhoods in Sachaca next to agricultural areas

New developments of high price housing on former agricultural lands in Sachaca

Land of a housing association in Cerro Colorado being protected by a wall. Multiple housing projects being constructed inside.

Water supply for the surrounding houses in Cerro Colorado

Online Expert Workshop

On 18.03.2022, the Hybrid Urbanisms team is organizing an online expert workshop. Fifteen researchers from Germany, Ghana, Peru, France and the United Kingdom will discuss questions related to the topic of our project. In particular, they will discuss questions of hybridity, the concept of delivery configurations, informality and social inequality, infrastructure research (especially water and mobility) and field research methods.

The workshop will especially serve to discuss the comparative level of the project with our local partners in Ghana and Peru to strengthen the network within the project as well as to get input from other internationally renowned experts.

The annual meeting of the AAG

The annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) in New York City will take place from the 25th of February to the 1st of March 2022 virtually. It will be our first chance to present and discuss our progress with a broader range of colleagues, since the project officially started in July 2021. As we are currently working on the operationalisation of our theoretical framework and the preparation for fieldwork, we are looking forward to this opportunity and we are excited to listen to many inspiring presentations. More than 6000 attendees are expected to participate.

Pearl Puwurayire from our team will give a presentation in the panel “Managing informal Cites” talking about “Deciphering the drivers of Informal Water Vendors through the lenses of historical debates in literature“.

The Hybrid Urbanisms team is also organizing a panel on “Hybridity and delivery configurations of infrastructures in the Global South” with the following four presentations:

Conceptualizing Hybridity through delivery configurations seen from building and dwelling perspectives

Christian Rosen (Hybrid Urbanisms Team, Brandenburg University of Technology)

Re-producing heterogeneous electricity constellations through governance: SDG7-induced changes and their local translations in Greater Maputo

Mathias Koepke (Utrecht University)

Behind railways of hope: Environmental politics in China’s connectivity infrastructure between the local and the international

Xiaofeng Liu (University of Hong Kong)

Reconceptualising sustainability-oriented transitions in the delivery of urban infrastructure services: The role of community-based organisations in municipal solid waste management in Southern cities

Lucy Oates (Delft University of Technology)

More information can be found on the conference website: http://www3.aag.org/aag2022nyc