Prempura Schoolgirl

Global Studio is an action research program where international interdisciplinary students, academics, and professionals in the city building professions come together to collaborate on community-based projects. Informed by the UN Millennium Development Goals the program promotes participatory forms of education and practice that will benefit under-served communities and facilitate bottom-up, collaborative partnerships.

Global Studio will be held in Bhopal in 2012. In addition to community based projects in the ‘Design and Planning Studio’  Global Studio will also offer a research option, called ‘Research Projects’.


For the first time in history more than half the world’s population live in cities. Over one billion people live in slums and if nothing is done, this number will reach three billion by 2020. In 2004, the United Nations Millennium Project Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers spearheaded Global Studio. Developed by the University of Sydney, Columbia University and the University of Rome – La Sapienza, Global Studio aims to impact city building education and professional practice through the establishment of international, interdisciplinary, and multi-institutional partnerships. To date some 500 people from over 30 countries, over 66 universities and 11 disciplines have participated in its activities in Istanbul (2005), Vancouver (2006) and Johannesburg (2007, 2008, 2009).


Central to the Global Studio concept is a community-based action and research agenda with the aim of helping to improve people’s lives in disadvantaged communities. In addition, GS facilitates and feeds a developing national and international network of city building students, academics, and professionals who will be able to contribute more effectively to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, and especially Goal 7 to “ensure environmental sustainability’ which includes ‘improve the lives of slum dwellers’, and Goal 8 “develop a partnership for development’.

Global Studio has taken the position that these challenging issues in combination with climate change and the future impacts of peak oil will require the most talented urban professionals. Global Studio has selected its participants accordingly.

Principles & Goals

  • Bring together city building students from around the world, and build capacity in academic and community participants.
  • Work with, and learn from communities and individuals experiencing disadvantage.
  • Develop appropriate participatory design and planning skills
  • Contribute to community social and economic development, and environmental sustainability
  • Create global networks of professionals, educators and students
  • Work with universities, NGOs and professional organizations to address the MDGs.
  • Stimulate on-going interdisciplinary research and action.

Millennium Development Goals

1. Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality & empower women

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

8. Develop a global partnership for development

Global Studio has focused primarily on Goals 7 and 8, including Goal 7 target ‘improve the lives of slum dwellers’.

Report by the Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers

Garau, P., Sclar E., Carolini, G. A Home in the City (2005)

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