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Basurama is a collective of Spanish artists creating projects that provide cultural amenities while facilitating a wider conversation about the production of waste in our consumer society and how it can be transformed into a resource.

The founding members met while students at Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid. Rejecting the conventions of architectural education, the group took to the streets – engaging, participating and learning from the city around them. Best known for creating colorful playgrounds from landfill waste such as old tires, wooden pallets, and discarded plastics, Basurama’s work asks viewers to reconsider wasted space, wasted energy, and how higher thinking on these issues can lead to urban rejuvenation.

In addition to their architectural projects, Basurama has also developed a unique community training program around the concept of waste. Residuos Sólidos Urbanos (RUS), or Urban Solid Waste, is a public art multi-format project that considers waste, both in solid and spatial senses. The projects look at waste as a material resource with which to reactivate abandoned space, operating under the belief that new public spaces can form from a combination of waste and wasted space. Each RUS project starts with a research trip to get in contact with locals and get to know the city (conflicts, community, NGOs, artists, universities, etc.). From there, the research is organized, local collaborators are chosen, projects are designed and the group subsequently works with municipalities to secure local permissions. The ambition is to leave a community with the skills to convert its own waste into usable material.

Recently, Basurama has been focused on working in participatory processes with public schools to collaboratively redesign the school courtyards, making them more accessible and equitable. Their newly opened project, “Colina del Reciclaje,” saw tires repurposed as material for the construction of a playground. In the past year, they have embarked on a similar project creating playgrounds by reusing fallen trees left by a snow storm in the parks of Madrid. 

We had a chance to speak with Nicolas Herringer of EXYZT, along with Alberto Nanclares of Basurama on Social Design Insights. Listen to the episodes below.

27 | How All Space Becomes Public Space, Part 1
28 | How All Space Becomes Public Space, Part 2


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2017 is "Sorry" by Comfort Fit. The break music is "Umfazi Omdala" by Johnny Clegg and Savuka from their album "Johnny Clegg with Savuka LIVE!."