Challenging Practice - Essentials for the Social Production of Habitat (2011-2013)

Challenging Practice is a project developed by an Architecture Sans Frontières partnership funded by the European Commission under the LLP Leonardo Da Vinci programme to develop a training that teaches built environment professionals to work and engage with the low-income majority in the urban context. It involves five ASF organisations, and it was implemented over a two year period thanks to the volunteer work of a number of ASF members and associates based in France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

We have been partnering on this project over two years, designing a training programme called ‘Challenging Practice - Essentials for the Social Production of Habitat’. This training intends to challenge built environment professionals’ existing knowledge and perspectives, to enable them gain an introduction to the appropriate competencies and understanding of how to work effectively with margialised communities, to ultimately address the problems of urban poverty.

This course has been developed as ASF International strongly believes that the construction of social facilities for the benefit of the most underprivileged sectors of the world’s population requires a broader approach from built environment professionals. It is hoped that the course will build on existing skills and experience, and broaden the focus that we are all encouraged to accept during our studies and working lives, so that we together can improve conditions for the world’s urban poor by providing appropriately trained professionals.

This complete course is aimed at professionals working in the built environment (architects, engineers, builders, planners, urban designers, etc) and is delivered in English in every partner-country participating in the project. The core parts of the training will be delivered online for working professionals to be able to study in their own time.

The course is divided into four stages: a theoretical online introduction, a two-day seminar, a deeper theoretical online course and finally a practical workshop. We have developed different stages to this training integrating a short and long-term approach. Our short term approach is to deliver Stage 1 of the training, which has been completed at the end of July 2012 and is now available for free download, visit website:

Workgroup: ASF España (Jordi Balari, Marina Gutierrez, Lucia Zandigiacomi), ASF-France (Niclas Dünnebacke, Xavière Bouyer, Louis Lhopital with contributions by Eric Laube, Edouard Molard, Charles Phileppi, Stephane Plisson), ASF-Italia (Beatrice De Carli, Eliana Masoero, Silvia Nessi), ASF-Sweden (Teres Selberg), ASF-UK (Melissa Kinnear, Caroline Dewast, Sarah Ernst).