Metropolis Laboratory 2007

28 & 29-07 and 04 & 05-08-2007, Copenhagen University

27 lectures, 32 work presentations, 20 master classes and workshops. More than 70 architects, artists, academics and some 250 participants.

These are the figures after the first METROPOLIS LABORATORY which took place in Copenhagen during the summer 2007. Concurrently a wide range of performances have been presented in and around Copenhagen including out door blockbuster screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, expeditions in the terrain vague of in the harbour of Copenhagen with Cargo Sofia-Copenhagen and Group Dunes audio-visual interventions in the urban landscape.

Planned and unplanned
Many discussions concerned the borderland between the planned and the unplanned, between determined space and temporary uses of space in time. The discussion seems intrinsically tied to the interdisciplinary approach of the Metropolis Lab and the attempt to unite the understanding of the hard and soft aspects of city life. From planning big scale to experiencing as an individual body. From architecture to artistic expression. From infrastructure to social and cultural interaction in urban space.

The discussions have oscillated between theoretical reflections about urban life and city development on the one hand to and artistic interventions in specific contexts in Copenhagen on the other. A central question for 21st century city-making seems to be how planning and architecture can accommodate the temporary use of space – and allow for places to change and develop over time. How is the rich and complex nature of city life incorporated in the making of cities?

Individual and public
Another central question that emerged regarded the relationship between individual and the public. How can cities support public space open for interaction between individuals and groups beyond categories of class and race? How can public space encourage interpersonal interaction and expression? In these discussions many of the artistic interventions in public space proved to be both playful and thought provoking examples of ways to explore new ways of interacting in public space.

Capital and community
The relationship between economical and bureaucratic power structures and aspirations of public participation and community engagement in city-making surfaced as another recurring theme. The necessity of rethinking the dichotomous positions between “bad” capitalist developers, corporate businesses and bureaucratic structures – and “good” artists, community activists and independent operators – was argued. A crucial question then is: how can we create more subtle and precise ways of operating between power and community in city-making?