How do we create community?
What are the conditions needed for people to mobilise and work together?
What are the shared values of a community?
Where does your freedom begin and end as a community member?
URBN is an initiative, launched in 2017 that aims to analyze the relationship between different cities and the societies that inhabit them. In doing so, we aim to initiate conversations about how we live today and how we think we can do it better, together.
Our city of engagement has been Cairo. For the last 3 years we have been focusing on community building strategies to remedy a divided society. The project explores different scales of territoriality and community; the lines we draw between us and the investigation of imposed boundaries; the conditions where we can work together, where we are okay with sharing space, and when we feel invaded. At a time where the world is starting to collectively face challenges that threaten us all, how can we reserve space for micro-challenges while still maintaining a collective conversation that allows us to advance as one.
We search for derelict spaces such as abandoned villas, parking garages, heritage sites, or simply locations in the heart of the city that we believe have untapped potential. We revive and repurpose them for a sliver of time, attempting to introduce a glimpse of hope and inspiration for a city in stalemate. In these created microcosms, we imagine the potential of our city and of ourselves as a society.
We have ongoing interventions and collaborative projects with a network of communities allowing the project to have diverse encounters with different stakeholders.
Like much of Cairo, we are still under construction. We are constantly experimenting. Our interventions are mostly in the form of events where interesting people can engage and collaborate. We look for voids and we try to fill them. We bring people together in social, intellectual, and creative contexts.