How might we rethink the interaction between humans and microorganisms in urban spaces?

Phase 1/1: Spekulationsphase completed
Microorganisms are key ecological actors. They play a significant role in the sustainability of ecosystems and the health of all organisms, human and non-human. But despite that, they are often disregarded or deliberately removed in the design of our cities.
07.06.2022: Start of Challenge
Challenge beendet
How might we rethink the interaction between humans and microorganisms in urban spaces?
How might we rethink the interaction between humans and microorganisms in urban spaces?
2040 Every citizen will have their own homemade laboratory where to collaborate with different microorganisms and other non-humans to produce food, energy and other resources... and this will be mandatory in urban areas.
I wish humans became more empathetic towards non-humans. 
we will rate mental well being and rethink mental disorders  in medicine with a refocus on the quality of the gut-brain axis and the composition of microorganisms in our body.
Challenge Details

Urban Microbiome

This challenge wants to foster our imagination around urban microbiota: What kind of alliances can lead to better ecological interactions? How can we integrate it into sustainable urban design? How might it help us increase biodiversity in the city and improve the health of its inhabitants, human and non-human?

Although microorganisms contribute to a wide variety of ecological functions – the fertility of soils, the quality of air and water, the degradation of organic waste, the decomposition of toxins or the exchange of nutrients among species – current research on the urban microbiota from an ecological perspective is still incipient, and cities continue to be built upon the consideration of microorganisms mainly as pernicious urban dwellers.

We invite you to rethink the materiality of cities, to transform bacteria, fungal microorganisms, or other microbes into allies. From urban gardens to organic soils, street furniture, bioenergetic systems, air or bricks, almost every material component of the city offers an opportunity to rethink the role of the microorganisms involved in it.

Artist Response


Samira Benini Allaouat

“Geo-llum” aims to reimagine the role of public lighting in urban spaces with a symbiotic relationship between the artificial and the natural world, focusing on a deeper understanding of the fundamental importance of nature as collaborator in the city.
The final work consists in a light sculpture that can facilitate different tasks in order to create an autonomous and hybrid performative artwork.
The structure expect to be built with recycled elements, partially 3D printed with biomaterials and powered by a bioelectro battery cell with the help of the Geobacters, a bacteria that produces electricity while decontaminating the soil. Here the essential points of interest: Public lighting, rain water collection, bioremediation and free energy/electricity production.
"Geo-Llum" has the possibility to be developed in Barcelona thanks to the support of Akasha Hub in collaboration with Green City Lab, at the moment acting as mediators and strategical planning organizers. They will host the first pilot soil regeneration program in Barcelona with the government city program of Mans al Verd, from Decidim participative platform.

Photo: Samira Benini Allaouat

Challenge Context

S+T+ARTS Residency
Microorganisms Cities

Since June 2021, as part of the European Commission’s S+T+ARTS initiative, 12 new Regional S+T+ARTS Centers have been creating a space for artists, scientists, and technologists to work together on a common mission: Repairing the present. The S+T+ARTS initiative is a program funded by the European Commission aiming to bring artistic perspectives into the innovation process to address current challenges in today’s society.

Repairing the Present as part of the S+T+ARTS Residencies encourages a critique of the present, the exploration beyond its current limitations, and the re-imagination of other possible futures. To that end, the program fosters the development of methodologies and frameworks for long-term cross-disciplinary collaborations that can lead to products, tools and processes with a positive impact on society at large.

In October and November 2021, 12 Regional S+T+ARTS Centers called international artists working at the intersection between science, technology and the arts to apply for a 6-month residency. The Regional S+T+ARTS Center CCCB has announced Samira Benini Allaouat as the winner of the S+T+ARTS Residency Microorganism Cities. The residencies respond to local sustainability challenges that have been defined by invited Local Experts Groups during workshops that took place in July-September 2021. During the residency, the artists engage with the Local Expert Group, the general public as well as other relevant stakeholders in a strongly collaborative process. This crowdsourcing campaign on Futures Canvas forms part of this process.

Your contribution matters and will be part of a larger endeavour: it will be integrated into the S+T+ARTS project report that will be shared and discussed with the EU Commission as well as local stakeholders. This is an opportunity to think along with artists and local experts involved in the challenge.

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Challenge Hosts

The challenge is co-commissioned by CCCB in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and with the support of Akasha Hub and Green City Lab , within the framework of Repairing The Present. Repairing The Present is co-funded by the S+T+ARTS initiative of the European Union.


The S+T+ARTS initiative is a program funded by the European Commission aiming to bring artistic perspectives into the innovation process to address current challenges in today’s society.

S+T+ARTS Residencies

Since its launch five years ago, the S+T+ARTS initiative has hosted over 125 residencies across its different projects. Repairing the Present is adding 21 thematic residencies to the portfolio. Each of the residencies points to an EU Green Deal or a New European Bauhaus goal and reflects pan-European or global issues that require solutions tailored to specific regions.


The CCCB is a multidisciplinary cultural centre based in Barcelona that deals with the key challenges of contemporary society through different languages and formats, with an extensive programme that includes major thematic exhibitions, series of conferences and literary meetups, film screenings and festivals.
As part of its mission to think about the present, the CCCB programmes its activities around four key areas that reflect the Centre’s main topics of interest and reflection, as: cities, technosphere, bodies, words, among others.


Currently referred to as BarcelonaTech, is the largest engineering university in Catalonia, Spain. It also offers programs in other disciplines such as mathematics and architecture.
UPC's objectives are based on internationalization, as it is one of Europe's technical universities with the most international PhD students and the university with the largest share of international master's degree students.


An open and collaborative project, promoted through AKASHA HUB BARCELONA, which incorporates citizen initiative and community action, born as a response to the need to transform an obsolete city model and drive and promote a transition towards an urban life based on environmental regeneration criteria.


Founded by Lorenzo Patuzzo, Akasha Hub is imagined as a physical space for meetups, workshops and projects development. A decentralized community, with its main node in Barcelona: a space for generating collaborative and open projects that build a better society. They rely on art, technology and innovation to explore new possibilities, but above all, they rely on a diverse, local and international network of specialists open to shared their knowledge.

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