Learning from... Caracas

Venezuelan law allows for an entity called the consejo communal (communal council), which empowers citizens to initiate local development projects through neighbourhood-based elected councils. Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler’s film, Comuna under construction (2010), begins with the story of a poor hillside community in Caracas as its inhabitants decide whether they want to organize a consejo communal.

The film follows attempts by other small settlements to create their own democratic institutions from the shantytowns of the capital through the vast wet plains of Barinas. Some succeed and others fail in this account of the ways people can decide how their lives and environment are governed.

The Learning From… series takes its title from Learning From Las Vegas (1972), Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Steven Izenour’s influential publication, which analysed the commercial strips and architectural symbolism of Las Vegas in order to understand urban sprawl. In this spirit, the series brings together experts to explore specific urban conditions and their relevance to the future development of cities.

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