During the UniGrowCity gathering, March 4-8, 2013, participants will enter a world of do-it-yourself building, reusing materials, and growing and harvesting vegetables. Here water is seen as a precious natural resource and a territory that is less regulated than land. We will revisit the concept of the commons at a time when public space is increasingly being privatized, and we will rethink the relationship between city residents and nature in an age we call the Anthropocene.

We will take a houseboat project by Kåre Grundvaag, an art student at the Tromsø Art Academy as a case study that articulates out-of-the box ideas relating to existence and co-existence in the city, as well as the possibilities to move the world through artistic practice.  Housing is one of most pressing problems for Tromsø residents, as it is extremely expensive and scarce. Viewing the problem as an opportunity for re-imagining the housing problem, Kåre has designed the houseboat, which will be constructed from recycled materials, as a family house on a floating platform by the Tromsø shoreline. During the UniGrowCity gathering we will work with him on the construction of the houseboat.

UniGrowCity Tromsø is hosted by Tromsø Art Academy (partner in the Unigrow City Network) programmed and organised in collaboration between Veronica Wiman (Professor Tromsø Art Academy) with Margrethe Pettersen (Artist based in Tromsø) and Marjetica Potrč (Professor the University of Fine Arts/HFBK) with students of Design for the Living World, HFBK Hamburg. The program will take place at the Tromsø Art Academy as well as off sites in the city.

The program of Unigrow City Tromsø is based on meetings with local partners as well as thematical conversations related to the chosen focus. Students of HfBK invites us to be part of their research and life in Tromsø based on their interaction and exchange with residents: among other things, we will harvest vegetables and share leftover food, exchange skills and knowledge, practice time-banking, through living with local residents.

On March 7, UniGrowCity Tromsø participants will meet with Tromsø residents to discuss and articulate recommendations to the mayor for more sustainable living based on citizen participation and community building. Focused discussions on food, construction, water, space, and residents’ rights and responsibilities will be organized as the World Café at the Troms County House, where we will also present our recommendations to the public.

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