Cohabitation Strategies seeks to work with governments of municipalities, provinces, and regions as well as non-profit, cultural, neighborhood and community organizations that wish to generate socially just and environmentally responsible urban projects by designing and developing strategies focused on:

1 | Understanding the complex ecology of cities through trans-disciplinary methods of research and analysis with the purpose of producing useful and operative knowledge to address interconnected social, economic, political and environmental issues affecting communities, urban systems, and cities.

2 | Producing new spatial relations involving citizens through the design and implementation of urban pedagogy frameworks, community-led initiatives and urban campaigns that call-for and exercise the right to the city in all its derivatives.

3 | Devising non-speculative and shared ownership property models to promote equitable neighborhoods and just urban environments, including community land-trusts, limited-equity housing cooperatives, co-housing schemes as well as other self-help and community-controlled dwelling models.

4 | Transforming everyday life by creating new social relations through initiatives promoting knowledge exchange and cooperation as well as coalition building and new alliances to achieve social goals and in turn gain shared benefits; initiatives involving cultural, artistic, educational and planning endeavors are usually envisioned to transform the relations involved in housing, transportation, food and other urban systems.

5 | Developing emancipatory and cooperative economic processes in urban and rural areas by using people’s knowledge, local skills and available resources seeking to create sustainable models based in mutual-aid and solidarity.

6 | Formulating actionable pilot public programs and policies involving decision-making and cooperation at different governance levels bringing about sustainable and transformative processes in cities and urban life.

7 | Envisioning new collective urban imaginaries leading to socio-spatial change using creativity and urban play!

Cohabitation Strategies’ practice is rooted in socio-spatial investigations leading to transformative urban projects. Its research framework seeks an urban understanding at a macro and micro scale through both strategic and action research. These inquiry components, which are interconnected and feed each other, aim to facilitate a thorough diagnosis of areas by those who live and work there with the assistance of  innovative tools. The macro level of our research is centered in scientific knowledge: academic understandings produced through transdisciplinary and dialectic investigations that use quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The  micro inquiry component, on the other hand, focuses on popular knowledge: practical expertise and wisdom from the local community, which is mostly revealed through local initiatives and projects using creative participatory research tools and methods. The dialectical research framework combines theoretical and practical knowledge bridging the divide between conceptual and empirical understandings of urban dynamics in transformative projects that involve the public.

Over the last ten years the methodologies and pedagogical tools involved in Cohabitation Strategies’ action-research have progressively evolved responding to the local values, social arrangements, and organizing schemes established in the spaces where the research framework is applied, as well as to the cultural, institutional and governance challenges experienced in such contexts. Furthermore, the long term collaborations, exchanges and alliances established across cities have inspired and driven Cohabitation Strategies to incorporate new forms of socio-spatial inquiry, design and action.

The hybrid and transdiciplinary practice envisioned by Cohabitation Strategies has inspired alternative pedagogies in academia. Its members have lectured and taught widely. Most of the academic projects have involved extensive field work and hands-on learning scrutinizing pressing and complex urban and social issues. Urban projects with social impact at different scales have been at the core of the academic work.  The socio-spatial implications of urban decline, inequality and segregation, have been core topics and most projects have developed in a transversal way intersecting different disciplines. The academic work has been produced with the assistance of a large number of engaged students, external partners and collaborators including local experts, citizens, civic associations, community organizations, community leaders and urban activists. Some of the experimental projects have evolved into actual projects and neighborhood initiatives.



Lucia Babina is a cultural activist whose focus is on research and reactivation of sustainable ways of cohabitation and coexistence. Her aim is to reflect on the current global unevenness and injustice by means of collective and artistic process. She is the co-founder of iStrike and iStrike.ultd in Rotterdam, an environmental organization aimed at creating multidisciplinary platforms of analysis, comparison, and international exchange. With iStrike and Strike.ultd she co-produced projects such as: Ars&Urbis International Workshop (Douala, Cameroon, 2007), Salon Urbain de Douala (Douala, Cameroon, 2007), Moving in Free Zones #1 and 2 (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2007 and 2009), Talking About! (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2009). She is co-author of The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour as part of Stedelijk Goes West (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2009); Market Academy Naschmarkt as part of Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria, 2010); TheBrantClub as part of Musagetes’ Guelph Program (Guelph, Canada, 2012). 2017 and 2018 Lucia has been in residence at the Atelier LUMA in Arles and has initiated the Food Circle_Collective Kitchen together with Atelier LUMA and Petit à Petit. She has started a new project together with Morland Living Lab in Paris which will develop in 2019. Lucia has been giving lectures and producing writing contributions for several international platforms.


Emiliano Gandolfi is an architect and independent curator, Director of the Curry Stone Design Prize and co-founder of Cohabitation Strategies. Gandolfi was co-curator the 11th International Architecture Exhibition – Biennale di Venezia, and before this role, he was curator at the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam. He has curated exhibitions and presented work in numerous international venues including the Tirana Biennial, the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, the public art biennale Evento in Bordeaux. He is a co-founder of REbiennale, a cooperative platform created by a net of associations to share methods, processes and competences linked to self-construction. Over the past years Gandolfi has been involved in a wide range of projects, exhibitions and conferences that dealt with methodologies and strategies for urban transformation, on both theoretical and practical level. He has lectured and organized conferences in many institutions worldwide.


Gabriela Rendón is an architect and urban planner committed to social and spatial justice whose work combines urban research, spatial planning, strategic design and community practice. Her research interests include neighborhood decline and restructuring, community planning and design, participatory action research, women-led urban and community practices, solidarity urban economies, housing cooperative models, as well as other collective and non-speculative housing models providing equitable development in profit-driven urban environments. Rendón an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Parsons the School of Design/The New School, in New York City. She currently co-directs the MS in Design and Urban Ecologies and the MA in Theories of Urban Practice programs. Before teaching at The New School, she taught graduate urban studies at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, where she received a Master of Science in Urbanism and a PhD in Spatial Planning and Strategy. Rendón is the author and co-editor of a number of publications including Cooperative Cities (co-editor), Social Property and the Need of a New Urban Practice (co-author), and Cities for or Against Citizens? Socio-spatial Restructuring of Low-Income Neighborhoods and the Paradox of Citizen Participation. Her work has been exhibited at different venues worldwide.


Miguel Robles-Durán is an urbanist, Associate Professor of Urbanism and member of the Parsons School of Design Graduate Urban Council in New York. He is a Senior fellow at “Civic City”, a post-graduate design/research program based at the Haute École d’Art et de Design (HEAD) Geneva, Switzerland and is a current fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center Sally & Don Lucas Artists Residency Program in Saratoga, California. Previously, Robles-Durán designed and directed the Masters in Science program in Design and Urban Ecologies at Parsons School of Design; he directed the Urban In-habitat unit at The Berlage Institute, The Netherlands; and co-directed the Civic City postgraduate program at the Zurich University of Applied Arts and Sciences (ZHdK), Switzerland and the Urban Asymmetries research unit at the Delft School of Design in The Netherlands. In 2008, Robles-Durán co-founded Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra), parallel to his work with CohStra, Robles-Durán consults diverse state and municipal governments on issues relating to democratic urban governance and strategic urban methodologies for achieving greater spatial justice and alternative housing and property systems. His direct engagement with urban social movements and institutions has led him to become acting Judge at the International Tribunal of Evictions, advisor to The Right to the City Alliance and co-directed with the marxist geographer David Harvey the National Strategy Center for the Right to the Territory (CENEDET) in the Republic of Ecuador.


Cohabitation Strategies has worked in different localities around the world with a wide range of local and international specialists, including geographers, lawyers, anthropologists, sociologists, political-economists, environmentalists, artists, architects and urbanists. Projects collaborators include: Thomas Purcell, Guillermo Delgado, Philip Lühl, Angel Lara, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Teddy Cruz, Erik Swyngedouw, David Harvey, Ruedi Baur, Imke Plinta, Alejandro Echeverri, Tahl Kaminer, William Morrish, Lorenzo Romito, Michelangelo Pistolleto, Lucia San Roman, Shari Hersh, Damon Rich, Marjetica Potrc, Aetzel Griffioen, Peter Zuiderwijk, Merijn Oudenampsen, Jan Konings, Carlos García-Sancho, Taufan Ter Well, Florian Arrijuria-Minaberry, Anne-Cecile Paredes, Fanny Liatard and Emmanuelle Roussilhes-Pouchet.

Long-term alliances and partnerships established involve the following cultural, art, urban and social oriented organizations and institutions: Right to the City (European Union), Bik van der Pol (Rotterdam), Stealth Ultd. (Rotterdam), Netherlands Architecture Institute (Amsterdam), The Berlage Institute (Rotterdam), The New School (New York City), Civic City (Zurich, Geneva), URBAM (Medellin), The Center for Urban Ecologies (San Diego), SKOR (Amsterdam), Curry Stone Design Prize (San Francisco), Warsaw Museum of Modern Art (Warsaw), Stalker (Rome), Political Equator (Tijuana/San Diego), Creative Time (New York City), Cittá del Arte (Biela), The Bordeaux Biennial (Bordeaux), Van Alen Institute (New York City), Atelier Tarwewijk (Rotterdam), Blackwood Gallery (Toronto), Fabrica Urbana, M7Red (Buenos Aires), Metahaven (Amsterdam), Casco (Utrecht), Musagetes Foundation (Guelph), Istanbul Design Biennial (Istanbul), The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program (Philadelphia), The Museum of Modern Art (NYC) and The Right to the City Alliance (United States).

Furthermore, Cohabitation Strategies has worked with municipal governments in the following cities: Bologna, Valencia, Caracas, Medellin, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Casarano, Bordeaux, Hamburg, Newark, New York City, Guelph, Philadelphia, Milan, Quito and Vienna.


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