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Challenges of implementing sustainable urban design plans through community–university partnerships: lessons from Colombia, China, and Germany

Pizarro, Rafael E
Current opinion in environmental sustainability 2015 v.17 pp. 48-56
planning, professionals, students, villages, China, Colombia, Germany
The article illustrates the challenges of implementing sustainable urban design master plans produced in university–community partnerships. It presents three cases in Colombia, China, and Germany, where the author led groups of urban designers (students and professionals) in response to requests by a fishing village in Colombia, a municipality in East China, and a neighborhood coalition in Berlin to produce sustainable urban design master plans. Although the studio projects were intended to be built, the plans were marred by misunderstandings between the partners: in the Colombian case, the community mistook the role of the university by that of a consultant that would carry the project through approval by the municipal planning agency; in the Chinese case, by a hidden agenda in the part of the municipality; and, in Germany, by the high costs of construction that would resulted from implementing the university proposal.