United Nations Habitat
Urban Thinkers Campus
13.11 – 16.11 2019





In social contexts that favor – or, from a radically different point of view, they suffer – the possibility of encounter between human beings, the conditions are created for their potential relationship and possible interaction. These encounters, which often result in not preordained of the innumerable, unstoppable “human flows” that pass through the territories of the urban context – the city: a privileged scenario of encounter – expose subjects involved to a relationship of reciprocal influence that can take decidedly variable gradients of intensity .
The encounters – or the collisions – between individuals, like a chemical reaction between distinct elements, give rise to infinite results, presenting themselves as opportunities for intersection that open to possible processes of confrontation, exchange and transformation.
The anthropologist Edward T. Hall, founding the discipline of “proxemics”, understood as a subject dedicated to the study of the use that individuals make of social and personal space, defines the types of interpersonal relationship distances in increasing measures – intimate , personal, social and public – and open to the concept of a “proximity” condition, useful for explaining the development of a particular “privileged” category of relationships between individuals.
If the “proximity factor” extends to incorporate the relationship between individuals and places they inhabit, including material presences – characterized as objects – that populate them too, the picture of potential socio-cultural alterations, triggered by moving human flows, takes on a dimension that deserves to be explored.
In such a context, by what actions, processes, devices or artifacts can we imagine encouraging the emergence of positive proximity relationships? Using the tool of design, which mutations in the dynamics of relationship between individuals can we propose, force or facilitate?


Spanish designer Guillermo Santomá (Spain, 1984) lives and works in Barcelona. He studied Design at Elisava Barcelona. Santomà places himself somewhere in-between architecture and design and creates complete environments for his work to act in. Santomà incorporates performance art into his practice with live design shows, one of which presented at Chart Art Fair 2018 in Copenhagen. Previous exhibitions include Wer Haus, Palais de Tokyo and Museo Cerralbo.


Nel Verbeke (Belgium, 1989) lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. She studied Concept Design at the Design Academy in Eindhoven (NL), following an education in Fine Arts at Luca School of Arts in Ghent, Belgium. With a background in visual art and specialization in design and design research, Nel Verbeke is primarily a concept-designer.


United Nations Habitat / Urban Thinkers Campus 2019

IN Residence Design presents the thirteenth edition of its educational program of thematic workshops which will be included in the calendar of cultural activities connected to the “Palermo Urban Thinkers Campus 2019”, entitled “Human Flows”, organized by PUSH and the City of Palermo.
The workshop, structured as an important didactic-educational and theoretical research contribution to the program of activities promoted by Urban Thinkers Campus model, an initiative of UN-Habitat, a United Nations agency which has the task of fostering socially and environmentally sustainable urbanization, as well as guaranteeing every human being the right to live with dignity.


GAM – Galleria d’Arte Moderna
Via Sant’Anna 21, Palermo


Click here for the complete schedule


Participation is open to design professionals, students of any level, and enthusiasts in the field of design practice. People who are interested in pioneering design research and crossovers between design and other social, scientific and philosophical areas of interest. All participants must be over 18 years of age and have written and oral fluency in the English language.


The workshop will be conducted in English.

Application And Deadlines

The workshop is open to up to maximum of 24 participants. You can book your place directly on our website, in a very simple process, selecting the billing method and accepting the Terms and Conditions.


The participation in the workshop involves the payment of a fee, you can book your place directly on our website, in a very simple process, selecting the billing method and accepting the Terms and Conditions. The IN Residence workshop requires a fee of 500€ for general admission, with a special discount price of 300€ for students. Lunch during the four days of the workshop is provided by IN Residence and included in the participation fee. Student discounts are available only for individuals who meet the requirements by providing proof of student status (valid student ID) at before booking. Fees do not include travel or accommodation costs.

Terms and conditions

Applicants are requested to pay their participation fee before November 12th, 2019. Cancellation policy: 50€ will be withheld for every cancellation to cover organizational costs. A penalty fee of 100€ is applied (in addition to the 50€ to cover the organizational costs) for every cancellation submitted starting two weeks prior to the first day of the workshop. Cancellations starting one week prior to the start date of the workshop will not be eligible for any reimbursement. The registered individual has the option of naming a substitute to attend in his/her place without any penalty fee.


Each participant is responsible for arranging sufficient insurance coverage for the duration of the workshop: accident, liability and health insurance for travel abroad including evacuation, and theft insurance for personal effects. The organizer is not liable for any costs or damages. For all its offered courses and initiatives, the organizer shall not be liable for any damages to people or property caused by sovereign acts of any government, acts of nature or third parties.

Visa Requirements

Participants who require a visa are responsible for obtaining it with the correct timing.


All the materials required for the workshop will be provided by IN Residence. Participants need to bring only their own laptops. Please ensure that this equipment is covered by your own insurance, as the organization takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen during the workshop.


Wonderful Italy, the Italian finest hospitality’s platform for vacation apartments, will provide 15% discount for all accommodations available in the city of Palermo during the Workshop period. The discount code is Proximityfactor15.

Discover the complete list of accommodation in Palermo here: