Landscape Architecture and Design


Werthmann, Christian: Informal Urbanization in Latin America: Collaborative Transformations of Public Spaces, 2021

Various kinds of informal and extra-legal settlements—commonly called shantytowns, favelas, or barrios—are the prevailing type of urban land use in much of the developing world. United Nations estimates suggest that there are close to 900 million people living in squatter communities worldwide, with the number expected to increase. Forty years ago, prevailing strategies for addressing nonformal settlements started to shift away from large-scale slum clearance to on-site upgrading in Latin America. Many of these historic initiatives tried to recover informal neighborhoods by improving its public spaces, infrastructure and facilities. But was progress really achieved? For whom? For how long? And how? The author investigated upgrading attempts in four major cities of Latin America. The cases range from one micro intervention (the Villa Tranquila Project in Buenos Aires) to three large-scale government run projects like the celebrated Favela Bairro Program in Rio de Janeiro, the social housing program in São Paulo and the famous Proyectos Urbanos Integrales Approach in Medellín. By observing the projects over a period of ten years an overall picture of struggle, gains and setbacks emerges. While a collaborative and sensitive transformation of landscape and publicspace has the potential to contribute to improvement (better infrastructure, environmental risk reduction, economic opportunities, community cohesion, civic self-esteem and democratization), a change in political attitude or in global drug trade can threaten or obliterate the gains. It becomes clear: designers and planners have to develop better strategies that can mitigate the volatility that the residents of non-formal neighborhoods are exposed to. 
Book project (55,000 words, 115 illustrations), book is currently under review at Routledge
Bibliographical reference: Routledge (under review), forthcoming 2021


Grote, U., Dietrich, J., Ibendorf, J., Werthmann, C., Gabbert, W., Liefner, I., Nolte, K., Onken, H., Schlurmann, T., Schmieder, U., Tuitjer, L., Weichgrebe, D.: Migration und räumliche Transformation. Theoretische Ansätze, empirische Erkenntnisse, interdisziplinäre Perspektiven. Leibniz Forschungszentrum TRUST. TRUST-Schriftenreihe. Diskussionspapier Nr. 1/2019. Hannover. 74 S. DOI:


Werthmann, Christian "Learning from Canaan, Haiti’s Third Largest City (?) Born in the Aftermath of a Catastrophe" in Bandau, Anja Brüske, Anne und Ueckmann, Natascha (Hrsg.): Reshaping Glocal Dynamics of the Caribbean: Relaciones y Desconexiones, Relations et Déconnexions, Relations and Disconnections, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2018, p. 231-242

Werthmann, Christian. "Walking the Third Path" In: Inspiration Highline, edited by Udo Weilacher, 64-65. Munich: Technical University Munich, 2018.

Claghorn, Joseph; Orsini, F.M.; Restrepo, C.A.E.; Werthmann, Christian: Rehabitar la Montaña: Strategies and processes for sustainable communities in the mountainous periphery of Medellín. In: Urbe 8 (2016), Nr. 1, S. 42-60. DOI:

Claghorn, Joseph: Algorithmic landscapes: computational methods for the mediation of form, information, and performance in landscape architecture. Hannover: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität, Diss., 2018, 445 S. DOI:


Werthmann, Christian. "Daseinsvorsorge für die andere Mehrheit: Eine internationale Perspektive" In: Stadt Denken 1, edited by Deutsche Akademie für Städtebau und Landesplanung, 129-140, Berlin, 2017.

Werthmann, Christian. "São Paulo, Brasil. The Lost River of Tamanduateí" In: Out There. Landscape Architecture on Global Terrain, edited by Andres Lepik in cooperation with Undine Giseke, Regine Keller, Jörg Rekittke, Antje Stokman, Christian Werthmann, 136-145. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2017.

Werthmann, Christian. "Medellín, Colombia. Shifting Ground" In: Out There. Landscape Architecture on Global Terrain, edited by Andres Lepik in cooperation with Undine Giseke, Regine Keller, Jörg Rekittke, Antje Stokman, Christian Werthmann, 124-133. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2017.

Andres Lepik in cooperation with Undine Giseke, Regine Keller, Jörg Rekittke, Antje Stokman, Christian Werthmann (eds.) Out There. Landscape Architecture on Global Terrain. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2017

Werthmann, Christian. "Warum der Garten im Zeitalter planetarischer Urbanisierung noch nicht ausgedient hat" In: Wolschke-Bulmahn, Joachim/Clark, Ronald (eds.): Der Garten als Modell. Festschrift für Kaspar Klaffke, Herrenhäuser Schriften. Eine Reihe der Freunde der Herrenhäuser Gärten e.V., Band 5, 383-394. Munich: Akademische Verlagsgemeinschaft München, 2017.


Werthmann Christian. „Skipping Centralization“ In: Global Stability Through Decentralization?, edited by Martin A. Wilderer and Martin Grambow, 75-80. Heidelberg: Springer (2016)


Werthmann Christian, Bridger Jessica (eds) (2015): Metropolis Nonformal. San Francisco: Applied Research + Design Publishing.

Claghorn Joseph, Werthmann Christian. „Shifting Ground: Landslide Risk Mitigation through Community-Based Landscape Interventions.“ In Journal of Landscape Architecture 10 (2015): 6-15.

Claghorn Joseph, Werthmann Christian. “Non-formal Growth and Landslide Risk. Strategies to improve non-formal settlements in Medellin.“ In TOPOS 90 (2015): 50-56


Hannemann Johann-Christian, Werthmann Christian, Hauck Thomas E.: Designing for Uncertainty: The Case of Canaan, Haiti. In Revising Green Infrastructure: Concepts between Nature and Design, edited by Daniel Czechowski, Thomas Hauck, and Georg Hausladen, 323-351. (2014) Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Werthmann, Christian. “Pollution and Propaganda.“ In Design in the Terrain of Water, edited by Anuradha Mathur, and Dilip da Cunha, 123-129. Philadelphia: Applied Research + Design Publishing, 2014.


Echeverri, Alejandro/ Werthmann Christian (ed) (2013): Rehabitar la montana - Estrategias y procesos para un habitat sostenible en las laderas de Medellin, 300 pages.


Werthmann, Christian. “Is Informal Urbanism Sustainable.“ In Sustainable Urbanism and Beyond, edited by Tigran Hassan, 58-60. New York: Rizzoli, 2012.

Echeverri, Alejandro/ Werthmann Christian (ed) (2012): Shifting Ground, 127 pages.