The 2015-2016 edition of The New Town lecture series at the TU Delft is organised again in cooperation with Design as Politics (Prof. W. Vanstiphout) and Urbanism (Prof. Han Meyer). The topic of this year is Havana, a city at the cusp of enormous change. The communist government is gradually opening up its economic system, while the United States are expected to relax their boycott. This means that one of the most beautiful historic cities, with one of the most spectacular positions around a deepwater bay on the Caribbean, is open for the forces of the globalized economy.

In its existence of more than half a century shielded from capitalist pressures, it has developed some unique characteristics and strengths. It has one of the most complete systems of urban agriculture, managing to feed virtually the entire city. It has a healthcare system based on prevention which makes it both cheap and effective. And its beautiful 17th century downtown area is one of the most impressive examples of development through heritage conservation. When Havana will change, will these qualities survive, or will they be sacrificed to a neo-liberal redevelopment strategy?

The question this project wants to answer is how Havana can have its own specific form of urban transformation, that will redefine its strengths,in the context of an open society and an open economy. We will try and answer these questions by focusing on one of Havana’s youngest and most adventurous areas, the New Town of Alamar, a satellite city with 90.000 inhabitants, on the eastern side of Havana.

Lectures start at April 21, excursion to Havana 9-13 May.

Alamar is a satellite city 10 kilometers to the east of Havana built in the 70s by communist Micro Brigades. There are approximately 100,000 people living in identical concrete flats, surrounded by ample green space.

Outside of Cuba, Alamar is known worldwide for its state of the art organopónicos’s: urban agriculture on the scale of plantations. Alamar is providing 95% of its fresh vegetables. Next to that, Alamar is the birth place of the Cuban hip-hop culture and has produced many famous artists and groups.

The International New Town Institute (INTI) together with its Cuban partners are organizing a festival, Alamar Adalante, to celebrate the value of (growing) healthy food, the active participation of the residents in the improvement of their environment and the meaning of active public space. And of course: it will be fun!

This is what the experts say on Alamar:

The festival will present the results of two preceding events: a New Town Lab and a Cooking/Eating/Building workshop
During the New Town Lab, professional international designers will come up with a convincing and innovative concept for the future of Alamar, combining three topics: participation, food production and water. This task combines the technical and architectural issues of water collection, the design and incorporation of food production in the district, and the social question of the mobilization of residents. The purpose of the workshop is to unite all these aspects in the design of public space.

During the Cooking/Eating/Building workshop, students will design a campaign to engage residents of Alamar in this healthy cooking/eating event, focusing on the fun and variety of cooking with the produce of organoponico Vivero. They will think of ways to get (young) people interested, and to make them participate in the event. They will build a creative cooking/eating table and a clay oven to be used during the festival. 

 Friday September 15:

 Saturday September 16:

Location: Park Hanoi, Enguayabera, Organoponico Vivero, Centre Alamar.
Details of the programme to be announced.

Our partners:
AHS, Asociacion Hermanos Saiz, Havana
CUJAE Ciudad Universitaria Jose Antonio Echeverria, Havana
Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Havana
Creative Industries Fund, Rotterdam