Posted on: 21. June 2018

© Festival-Urbanbat

Theme and context: INSTANT CITIES

Under the concept of INSTANT CITIES we aim to look at developing technologies so that, in a short period of time, cities can receive a large number of people who come drawn by the celebration of events associated with leisure and culture. Technologies which allow us to alter the use of equipment, produce mass occupations of public spaces, construct ephemeral architectures to receive visitors and even to temporarily adapt regulations governing urban management. Devices for the construction of micro cities within already established cities, designed to facilitate consumption and recreation for the middle class.

This phenomenon appears alongside a certain model of urban development. As a consequence of de-industrialisation, cities are seeking ways of reinventing themselves and using stand-out regeneration projects as standard-bearers for their capacity for innovation and technological deployment. In this way, cities try to achieve maximum exposure and compete among themselves to attract investment and to climb up a kind of international ranking. Tourism plays a very important role within this strategy as an economic engine. Over the last few years, the celebration of large events as well as urban marketing campaignsmust be added to the exploitation of cultural and historic heritage, activities which put cities on display in the shop window of the world economy.

A model which gives projection to their highlights but simultaneously causes shadows and other types of vacuum. While the sectors and promoters linked to the service economy and leisure culture applaud it, the mass arrival of visitors and their habits associated with the consumption of culture alter and affect the daily life of the host city’s inhabitants: occupation of public spaces for commercial aims, enormous refuse production, the replacement of small businesses due to the proximity of a new business adapted to the tastes and needs of the express visitors, the replacement of residential use of homes to accommodate temporary visitors, disturbed neighbours, etc.Faced with this situation, different citizen’s initiatives, social collectives, architects, urban planners, researchers and cultural agents have expressed their unhappiness and concern and are calling for alternative ways of living in the city.

While this phenomenon is expanding rapidly at a global level, the capacity for analysis and response is not arriving with the same speed. Governments still need regulations which facilitate the sustainable development of these new urban phenomena. The academic field is producing very few studies about this new reality. And in the world of architecture and urban planning there are hardly any professionals whose work and experiments take place in and around the requirements of this new urban context.

Faced with this unstoppable new global phenomenon, we wish to propose a space for collective reflection about some questions:

  • About the impact on the city and its recovery capacity

What traces/tracks do this type of mass temporary reception leave on the urban fabric? What type of quantitative and qualitative indicators are needed to measure their impact? How many events can a city house/host over a short period of time? What actions can guarantee a greater capacity for resilience in the territory and its inhabitants? How can we manage the tensions between inhabitants and visitors? To what extent do they boost cultural exchange and strengthen the local culture?

  • About innovations and transfers which may occur in the social field

What type of technologies and new urban management models are being developed around these new temporary urban contexts? In what way can these innovations be transferred in order to improve the quality of life of the local inhabitants? What can we learn from these new instant cities?

  • About the development of more sustainable and equitable new strategies

How should these urban development strategies be developed to generate a positive and equitable impact? How can visitors be received in a way that does not push the city to the point of resentment? What examples of good practices can we use as a source of inspiration and learning?

This 7th edition of the Urbanbat festival explores the relationship between these cultural events and urban planning strategies, their impact on the landscape, the economy and the local culture, and invites urban management professionals, architects, urban planners, institutions, researchers, social agents and events promoters to design shared strategies which guarantee an equilibrium for the environment and benefits for the local community.

A: Open call for projects

We are looking for experiences, initiatives, and international projects working on the approaches covered within the conceptual framework of this 7th edition. Both private and public initiatives hybridising socio-community work, urban management, participative urbanisation, architecture, and cultural and artistic practices in order to imagine innovative solutions together.


The chosen projects will participate in a co-creation workshop in which they will collaboratively design an action protocol to provide solutions to the urban challenge put forward in this edition and in a project presentation day, with a quick-fire format, which will be held on the 23rd and 24th November. (The activities will be mainly held in Spanish) The experiences selected will be communicated and published via the festival’s dissemination channels and included in the printed publication which will contain the action lines and protocols defined in the co-creation workshop.

Transport and accomodation, costs and expenses

In the case of selected initiatives from outside the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country, the organisation will cover transport and accommodation costs for one person per chosen project for November 22, 23 and 24 (bed and breakfast).

The representatives of all the selected projects, regardless of their origin (one representative per project) will be invited to the gastronomy workshop and subsequent dinner which will be held on Thursday 22nd November at Sarean and will have lunch provided on 23rd and 24th November.


If you are interested in the open call, please complete the following form before June 30, 23:59.

Selection of proposlas / Communication of those selected

The selection committee will be made up of members of the organisation and expert guests of the festival and their selection will be published on September 15, 2018. Previously, at the end of July, the selected projects will be contacted personally to confirm their participation and to highlight some aspects to be taken into account in the carrying out of the co-creation workshop which will be held on November 23, 2018.

B: Open call for artistic activities

For the artistic section of the festival we are seeking different artistic proposals which are related to the theme put forward in this edition of the festival.

B.1 Scenic and visual arts proposals: Music, theatre, dance, performance, interventions in public spaces or any other format related to the theme of this edition of the festival.

B.2 Gastronomic workshop (Architecture and gastronomy): A person who proposes and undertakes to offer a 30-minute workshop and the preparation of a dinner for approximately 50 people. The dinner must consist of the preparation of two dishes and a dessert and be related to the theme of the festival.
The workshop will be held at Sarean Kultur Gunea, a socio-cultural space which is equipped with an industrial kitchen and all the necessary utensils for both the preparation of the dinner and the workshop. The chosen person will have the help of the Sarean Kultur Gunea cook and volunteers from the association who will help to serve the diners.

The organisation will cover the cost of the food which under no circumstances must exceed a €200 budget (maintaining the criteria assigned by the Sarean association). In addition, the festival organisation will cover the costs of buying bread, water and wine for the dinner.

B.3 Urban Explorations (tours through the city): Guided tour (through Bilbao or the surrounding area) which provides a chance to think about matters related to the theme of this edition of the festival. The tour must begin and end in Bilbao on the same day. Should a bus be needed to carry out the tour, the organisation will cover the hire cost.

Documentation to be presented

In this open call, a brief description must be presented, together with a list of technical and material needs, as well as the detailed cost of the activity (including costs for transport, accommodation and expenses) as is stated in the form for this section of the open call. The organisation will evaluate the appropriateness of the budget presented and the simplicity of the technical requirements for the carrying out of the activity.

Presentation form

If you are interested in the open call, please complete the following form before June 30, 23:59.

Selection of proposals / Communication of those selected

The selection committee will be made up of members of the organisation and expert guests of the festival and their selection will be published on September 15, 2018.

Further information

For further information click here