I must admit that at first the idea of a long distance collaboration seemed somewhat ambiguous, and although there was enthusiasm for doing it, it was difficult to visualize how we should proceed.
The analysis of the neighborhood, and getting the first –hand information from the Municipal Housing Company (EMV) about their experience in conducting the project put us into reality. The analysis in all areas was very interesting and perhaps that was when we started (I began) to believe that this could be possible and it would be a valuable experience that could contribute a lot.
In the first meeting, already there were obvious differences in an approach that were getting in each Project. The composition of each group was so completely different that it conditioned the way we chose to proceed with the proposal. It was more than just the details, the differentiation in lines made us to think about the different lines we used to tackle the project of urban regeneration.
The first two connections in Skype were tense and we were little nervous how the meeting would go, these feelings dissipated, and in the last meeting we noticed that we were already calmer. I think the time fell short, it is as if we had left at the best!
From a critical perspective, I think that although the experience was very positive, if we had made some common rules (more), or established indicators to enable us to discuss specific issues, I think this could have made the experience even richer.
The major differences between the groups of the DUSP and DUyOT were given in the reality of the site and the group. In one hand, the technical possibilities of the neighbourhood-city-state and for the other hand, the method used for processing the information and bringing a solution; the first group worked more in written format and the second one in planned format. It’s obvious that the reason of these differences were the different precedence and the different academic preparation that has created the difference in method approach but it also made possible to compare and share the different methods of planning. It supposed a great experience for us; I wish that it has being something similar for the students of the MIT.
For the triumph of the experience, it has being indispensable the participation of Patricia Molina, teacher of the ETSAM that actually is in Boston. It has being indispensable because the different realities of Madrid and Boston, not only in the technical side also in the social, the need of a simultaneous translation to a real time understanding. I think that for future experiences, and the possible connections that could be created between other universities, is important to be conscious about the importance of having someone who could intermediate between the two realities and also would be great to have a seminary of the situation in the other side of the line before starting with the meetings.
The system of connecting two groups by videoconference for a parallel workshop at distance, works. It works really well and it is a very economic way of sharing knowledge and experiences with totally different realities in the urban rehabilitation procedures. I am sure that this system could work practically with any subject.
In the technical aspect of the videoconferences connections, being one of the first editions of this type of workshops in the ETSAM, it is important to emphasize the time of financial crisis, all the inversion that the university has made in material were the loud speakers. Someone commented that this workshop was a really “low cost” workshop! Looking to the future, and with the hope that the economical situation of the Spanish public university will have a solution soon, I propose here a inversion that would become the connection between international universities in a on-line reality (http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/ps7060/ps8329/ps8330/ps8333/ps7087/product_data_sheet0900aecd80543f46_ps8333_Products_Data_Sheet.html).