A solution by URBAN OASIS submitted to Building Social Labs for Integration!

The SEMBRANDO VIDA_pavillion is a place of mutual exchange, learning and economic opportunities for newcomers and residents in the informal settlement Moravia in Medellín, Colombia. It will be realized on the former landfill El Morro - the hill where new arrivals used to settle in the waste will now be transformed into a lab for education and production.

(Pitched: 19/04/2018)

One Page Summary

The devastating effects of over 60 years of civil war in Colombia cause mass migration  movements of people to cities searching a secure and dignified living environment. With over 7 million people the country has the highest amount of internally displaced people in the world, the fast-increasing number of refugees from Venezuela is adding to Colombia´s growing challenges. Reality in the rapidly growing urban places of arrival is harsh. Besides a lack of basic infrastructure such as water and electricity supply, the access to job and educational opportunities is cumbersome resulting in economic weakness and shere poverty. Specific knowhow and skills that rural-to-urban refugees with a background in farming are bringing with them can not be applied in an urban setting and don't serve as potential sources of income. By that, knowledge about natural nutrition and food cycles gets lost, as well as parts of cultural identity. Unhealthy nutrition has become a serious, societal problem.

The SEMBRANDO VIDA_pavillion is a place of mutual exchange, learning and economic opportunities for newcomers and residents in the informal settlement Moravia in Medellín. It makes use of the spatial and iconic ressource of the former waste dump El Morro , which tells the very special story of a place of arrival, occupation and transformation. In the 60s when a vast amount of peasant families fled the violence in their home regions the hill became a
source of income and living environment for thousands of them. Within a few years it was completely covered with sheds and the neighbourhood of Moravia was developing around it,  soon becoming the most densely populated area in the country. After 2004 most of the 
inhabitants of the Morro were evicted and resettled and the hill was transformed into a public 
park. Moravia itself has also undergone a transformation process from a stigmatized slum to  a safe, colorful, productive habitat with a unique local identity, a mosaic of the different backgrounds and melting pot of refugees from all over the country shaped by the united
struggle to survive and improve living conditions.

As a first step to kickstart the SEMBRANDO VIDA Lab on the Morro the pavilion will be  realised. It will provide an easy and practice-based access to apprenticeship and training -  unlike a conventional school system. Knowledge related to urban agriculture, environmental  formation, preparation of food and historic and cultural revision is being evolved and  translated into skills in the fields of gastronomia, food production and tourism. The existing  1100 sqm greenhouse offers the necessary structure and ideal conditions for growing plants  in a protected surrounding. Whilst it is nowadays used for the cultivation of flowers that have  no positive impacts on the community, the greenhouse could be converted into a lab for  urban farming with little means, showing self sufficient food cycles, offering stable job  opportunities and sustainable value chains within the neighborhood. Additionally community  gardens, a mobile kitchen, a kiosk and vending stand for local products will get realized. The pavilion will serve as a hub for the lab, where gatherings, workshops, events and classes will  take place. It will be run by a local initiative consisting of community leaders together with an  advisory board of experts with institutional ties. Design and realization will take place in  collaboration with architects from German and Colombian universities.
The SEMBRANDO VIDA project is strongly based on the experience and network of the  coordination team as initiators of two projects: the Urban Lab Medellin I Berlin and the  Kitchen-Hub. For two years the Urban Lab Medellin | Berlin has brought together urban  actors to research, discuss and design. Based on the principle of co-production an  intercultural and international exchange of knowledge took place between residents,  students, community initiatives, NGOs and political actors. Precise concepts, innovative  strategies and inclusive models for sustainable transformation were developed and a first collective action implemented: the Escaleras Oasis Tropical. The idea for SEMBRANDO VIDA developed in a co-creation process led by Moravia´s community members. The Kitchen-Hub is a place for refugees and local residents in Berlin Schöneberg run by the Über den Tellerrand since 2015, where refugees and non-refugees cook, eat, work and think together. Together they create a place of coexistence and mutual exchange, where refugees are not only welcome but become active in shaping their own living environment. Theexperiences and challenges made will directly be transferred in the operational and design concept of the pavilion. Amongst those is the facilitation of access to job and educational opportunities as most urgent need.