Migration and Urban Development

Exhibition, Costa Rica, 2006

Migration and Urban Development is a proposal that shows the migration phenomenon from its socio-cultural, economic and environmental perspective. It describes the impact migration has on the contemporary urban development worldwide, at regional and national level. The goal of this exhibition is to raise awareness amongst the Costa Rican public about the state and development of their capital and the complexity of the migratory dynamics.

The research project grew out of the perceived importance to describe and create social conscience regarding two of the most important phenomena in the world and specifically in contemporary Latin American societies: migration and urban development. The growing flow of Latin migrants has an important impact on the countries of origin as well as the receiving countries. Moreover, migration has an effect on the development of the receiving ("growing") and expulsing ("shrinking") cities. This is shown in the exhibition using San Jose, Costa Rica and Managua, Nicaragua as case study examples. The investigation focuses on important topics such as the informal economy, use or decline of public spaces, security, transnational criminal activities, the impact of remittances on urban development, environmental problems of waste disposal, pollution, and transport, as well as the reasons and impacts of suburban sprawl. The suburban areas in Managua and San Jose are analyzed in terms of their geographic and demographic condition; they are compared to each other and to the historical urban centers that they originated from. For different reasons and with different levels of intensity, those centers have strongly deteriorated throughout the last decades with the middle and upper classes moving away to the suburban peripheries, leaving behind a new form of urban center that is visited for work in daytime and that is partially inhabited by the urban poor including large numbers of economical migrants. Besides the analytical part of the exhibition, different projects are being proposed to improve the current urban condition through punctual interventions, such as El Pochote in San Jose or a toolbox for housing proposals in Managua.

The exhibition material includes a multimedia montage with films, radio programs, and video projections of Blitzinterviews (short oral history), photographs, maps, and infographs.

One part of the exhibition is exhibited in the National Museum of Costa Rica, this so-called Indoor Museum is paralleled by the Outdoor Museum where information is presented on large scale billboards, LED screens, bus stops, banners, the museum wrap in various public locations of San Jose.

The material of the Outdoor Museum is recycled within a product line named Re-Creo. The sales and gains of multifunctional objects such as the Eco Farm Bag benefit vulnerable groups in Costa Rica that help us manufacturing the designs.


Idea and Curatorship:
Oliver Schütte and Marije van Lidth de Jeude

Assistant to the project to the project:
Laura Jiménez

Oliver Schütte, Marije van Lidth de Jeude, Quirine Eijkman, Elisabet Rasch, Elisabeth Bell

Photographers: Oliver Schütte, Marije van Lidth de Jeude, Iwan Baan, Edgar Cleijne, Piet den Blanken, Monica Quesada

Technical collaboration:
Municipality of San José (Department of Urbanism), Office for Metropolitan Architecture / AMO, FLACSO, CCP / UCR, UNFPA, IFAD, RUTA, the Department for Migration and Foreigners of the Ministry of Governance and Public Security, State of the Nation, the ombudsman, Radio Nederland, Radio Nicaragua Actual, Foundation for Cultural Mestizaje, Voces Nuestras, IOM (International Organization for Migration) and its statistical centre SIEMMES

Sponsors: HIVOS, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Costa Rica, IOM (International Organization for Migration), PHILIPS, Color Visión, Eucor, the Federation of Architects in Costa Rica, Euromobilia, Municipality of San José

EW/NS 03

Exhibition, France, 2005

EW/NS is a sequential observation of the contemporary living environment and human settlements, organized by the exhibition centre for architecture and urbanism Arc en Reve in Bordeaux.

Our contribution is based on socio-cultural and architectural research in the cities of Havana (Cuba), Houston (U.S.A.) and The Big Metropolitan Area in Costa Rica.


Oliver Schütte, Marije van Lidth de Jeude, Sarah Niesert, Sebastian Koch with Bill Price Inc., CiudadCity and the University of Houston

EW/NS 02

Exhibition, France, 2004

EW/NS is a sequential observation of the contemporary living environment and human settlements, organized by the exhibition centre for architetcure and urbanism Arc en Reve.

Our contribution is an installation including six films about the economic, social and cultural situation of urban and rural areas in Nicaragua as well as 1:1 model of the prototypical growing house we designed for the Sintiopia Project.


Oliver Schütte and Marije van Lidth de Jeude with Nicaraguan NGO Habitar and the Nicaragua Committee in Haarlem, Netherlands