Questions of Practice: Cohabitation Strategies on the Role of the Arts in Fostering Social Change

Questions of Practice: Cohabitation Strategies on the Role of the Arts in Fostering Social Change

Urbanists and cultural activists Miguel Robles-Durán and Lucia Babina of Cohabitation Strategies develop unique community-based projects that use art as a platform to engender social change. Here, they discuss how their collaborative artistic practices empower urban communities “to imagine a new world.”

Cohabitation Strategies’ Lucia Babina and Miguel Robles-Durán on the role of the arts in fostering social change. Filmed at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania on September 8, 2015.

Cohabitation Strategies brought their approach to Philadelphia with Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge, working in South Philadelphia with Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. The pair designed a series of “interventions” intended to galvanize community members to work collaboratively through the use of play, games, and performance.


Lucia Babina is a cultural activist and founding member of Cohabitation Strategies, an innovative urban design and performance group based in New York, Rotterdam, and Ibiza. Babina’s research focuses on reactivation of sustainable ways of cohabitation and coexistence. She is the co-founder of iStrike and iStrike.ultd in Rotterdam, an environmental organization aimed at creating multidisciplinary platforms of international exchange. With Miguel Robles-Durán, Babina is participating in the Center-funded project, Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge, presented by Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

Miguel Robles-Durán is an urbanist and founding member of Cohabitation Strategies, an innovative urban design and performance group based in New York, Rotterdam, and Ibiza. He is a faculty member of the graduate program in design and urban ecologies at The New School/Parsons, and serves as a senior fellow at “Civic City,” a post-graduate program based at the Haute École d’Art et de Design in Geneva, Switzerland. With Lucia Babina, Robles-Durán is participating in the Center-funded project, Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge, presented by Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.