Mittelmeerland Visiting Schools Urban Research Workshops in the Mediterranean

University AA London
Date 2011-15
Location Dubrovnik, Tangier, Algiers, Alexandria, Beirut, Izmir
Programme Directors Medine Altiok, Stephanie Tunka

The Mediterranean Sea is not only situated between continents but simultaneously acts as a historical and contemporary centre and border zone. The social, economic and political dynamics of this zone are complex. In the last century the Mediterranean has been separated but unified by climate and the history of civilization, the Mediterranean region has the potential to be seen as one geographic unit. Regardless of current national borders, cultural and economic transformations, the Mediterranean Basin is among the four most significantly altered biodiversity hotspots on Earth and should be studied as one territory. We will question, how the Mediterranean region can position itself as a ‘territory’, one that is based on climatic and economic conditions, and subject to specific social, political and spatial dynamics and experiences. What are similarities, differences and specificities of the cities?

Mittelmeerland explores the future of this area as a territory of water through six distinct Mediterranean metropolises: Dubrovnik, Tangier, Algiers, Alexandria, Beirut and Izmir. Over five years, we will study the dynamics of the cities’ coastlines, the mutual dependencies of land and water, the construction of new ports which are often in conflict with sensitive sea ground and the transformation of society.

Mittelmeerland uses a comparative approach about the whole Mediterranean with detailed case studies of six locations. Concentrating on five areas along the coastline we will analyse existing conditions and future projections, playfully utilising smallscale phenomena, translating found conditions into largescale urban interventions and envisioning future changes. We will produce architectural portraits, urban biographies, video narrations and imaginative collages, which ultimately will feature in a publication of the workshop’s research on various waterfront cities around the Mediterranean. By analysing current Urbanization and Future developments we aim to generate strong, narrative statements in the field of Urbanism, Architecture, Sociology and Art.

We conduct these workshops together with local and international students of architecture and related disciplines and involve the expertise of professionals.