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Poland, Gdansk 2015

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The 2015 International Planning Studio was organized by Dr. Gabriela Rembarz and hosted by Gdansk University of Technology located in Gdansk, Poland. Students and Faculty participants hailed from such countries as Poland, Germany, Turkey, Serbia, South Africa, and the United States. The title of the 2015 workshop was "A Local Market Place: Modern Agora for Building an Open Urban Society?" The event focused on community engagement and democracy in the context of the public marketplace.

Krista Evans presenting her project

The studio workshop involved student planning process exposure, cross-cultural collaboration, and the development of creative urban initiatives in a marginalized neighborhood in Gdanks known as Orunia. Clemson PhD student Krista Evans wrote an article about this international planning studio experience which was been accepted for publication in the Town Planning Review. On the final day of the workshop, students presented their studio projects to the Orunia community. (click here for examples)

The workshop also included a day-long academic paper presentation from international faculty based upon the studio theme. Papers were presented from such varied disciplines as archaeology, anthropology, architecture, and urban studies. Mickey Lauria, Professor and Director of the Planning, Design, and Built Environment (PDBE) program at Clemson, presented a paper on urban regeneraion and public participation based on his research in New Orleans, Louisiana. A book is currently being written about the knowledge generated in this collaborative session.

Perhaps the most inspiring outcome of the International Studio is that the workshop sparked real-world change in the Orunia community. Students have stayed in touch via a Facebook page, and have learned that many of their workshop suggestions and ideas have been implemented. For example, one group worked on improving the emotional associations with the neighborhood by introducing uplifting changes to areas that were especially dismal. One such place is a railway underpass that connects housing to commercial and social functions which many residents use every day. Since the workshop, the community has implemented vibrant artwork in the formerly dreary walkway. (see photos below) Furthermore, the neighborhood has experienced increased community involvement and pride since the studio was held.

           Orunia Tunnel     Orunia Tunnel 2