It had been a while since I had a chance to work with architects and urban developers, so I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. Urban Sustainability Rwanda and Dutch Studio Rosa organised a week-long workshop on slum upgrading in Kigali. The goal of the workshop was to test, together with students from the University of Rwanda, a method to involve inhabitants of slums (or better: informal settlements) in formulating the problems and solutions for upgrading their neighbourhood. As usual (but I had conveniently forgotten) there were several models to work with. Those were finished on the spot, so I could help. Well, me and clay, glue and fumbling everything together… let’s say that the result was reasonable (at least, for what I’m used to). Nevertheless, it was fun to have such a mixed group working together around the table and chatting about anything and everything (study and jobs, how many children you have or want, religion, history, cultural differences).
We worked hard as well. Although some organisatory matters complicated things, there were lots of new insights, unexpected experiences, known problems and creative solutions. In any case, there was a lot to think about and a solid base to build further. But the most important result of this week were still: new friendships and relations between students and professionals. An impression: