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Ziudad, citizen buzzing to be listened to | Social toolbox

Category : social toolbox + ⚐ EN


Type: Online platform
Issues: Streets’ conditions | Mobility and accessibility | Social issues and public services | Environment | Sharing culture and experiences

Ziudad is a digital platform whose goal is the common “definition” of cities by their citizens. It is a social network that facilitates the communication between citizens and municipalities, between consumers and enterprises. In Ziudad citizens can collaborate for the notification and resolution of urban problems, can directly communicate problems to the municipality, make a complaint or propose ideas for the improvement and development of their city and its quality of life.

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Exuma Garden of Dreams

Category : ecosistema urbano + new technologies + sustainability + urban social design + ⚐ EN

Sobrevolando el Caribe

Puedes ver la versión en español de este post aquí.

Exuma is a district of the Bahamas, consisting of over 360 islands (or cays). The largest of the cays is Great Exuma, which is 37 mi (60 km) in length. The capital and largest city in the district is George Town founded 1793 and located on Great Exuma. The Tropic of Cancer runs across a beach close to the city. The entire island chain is 130 mi (209 km) long and 72 sq. mi (187 km²) in area.

Last February, Ecosistema urbano has started a cooperation with the project A Sustainable future for Exuma: Environmental Management, Design, and Planning, a multi-year ecological planning project as a collaboration among the Government of the Bahamas, the Bahamas National Trust and Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD).

Situación de Exuma

The location of Exuma

The goal is to facilitate the design and management of a more sustainable future for the Exuma archipelago, and The Bahamas more generally.
The project has two parallel and mutually informing components: research and education. These components work to inform the development of proposals and interventions as well as the building of capabilities for local empowerment.

Resumen del trabajo de campo - Fuente: Exuma Topics

Field work summary – Source: Exuma Topics

Ecosistema Urbano’s role, within the overall framework of the project, has been to design a series of activities and workshops to promote dialogue within the local community, reflecting on the future of the islands and publicizing the existence and content of this future project. As a final outcome of this debate, there is a need to implement a catalytic intervention in the public space of Georgetown, as a sign of change and transformation for the future of the island.

While interacting within the local community, we obtained key information about how residents feel, what their expectations, perceptions and needs are, etc…The debate essentially stood between two scales: the general area of ​​Exuma and the local environment of George Town, the main town of the district, where most social activity takes place.

Among the many topics that emerged, some are as important as food, energy supply, education, waste, water, transport, tourism, identity or infrastructure.

There have been great moments of collective reflection on the present and future of this beautiful and fragile environment, and it has been particularly interesting to listen to the younger generation, who despite their young age, have a very clear vision of what are the challenges and problems they face to improve their future prospects.

Llegando a Gran Exuma

The toolkit and workshops that have been implemented to probe the wishes and aspirations of the local community are as follows:

1. Street photo tour

Our friend and extraordinary photographer, Emilio P. Doiztua, accompanied us on this trip, making a great record of many of the participants and activities.
We thought it was important to collect the testimonies of those who wanted to participate in more organized activities, but also of those who preferred to express their ideas spontaneously in the street, just off the Church or the market. People were very open to participate and eager to answer our questions.

Algunas de las fotografías tomadas durante el "tour"

Some of the photographs taken during the “tour”

2. Creative workshops

During the week we have been active in the primary schools of St. Andrew’s, Moss Town, George Town, Williams Town and the LN Coakley High School, working with young people between 7 and 18 years. In parallel there have been two meetings with adults, both in St. Andrew’s Community Center.

We designed a set of 2 questions, as a triggering exercise, using the colors red and blue, to symbolize the changes needed and the desired dreams respectively. Each participant was interviewed and answered these two simple questions, as an individual exercise and then proceeded to the collective exercise, in groups of 4 or 5 people.

Azul y rojo, sueños y cambios

Blue and red, dreams and changes

Many and varied were the answers, and it has been very interesting to see the clarity of ideas of the youngest (7-10 years) who suggested changes and proposed ideas fluently, both about their immediate surroundings (their school, their neighborhood, their town) as well as for the broader context, Exuma.

At the end of each workshop, through a simple origami exercise, the red and blue pages symbolizing the desired changes and dreams for the future, were converted into petals to later become paper flowers.

Plantillas usadas para las propuestas y el origami

Templates used for the proposals and the origami – click to see and download in high resolution

Proceso de plegado del origami

Folding origami

For the collective exercises we worked with aerial photos, words, producing collages and staging. There has been a reflection to 3 scales: Exuma, Georgetown and at a more local scale, around a vital public space in town, the daily most frequented place by children, youth and families.

"The park", el principal espacio público de Georgetown

“The park”, the main public space in Georgetown

This space is a natural meeting place for the teenagers and has got a great potential as a space for social interaction on the island due to its proximity to Lake Victoria and for being in the center of Georgetown.

Ubicación de este "parque" en Georgetown

Location of this “park” in Georgetown

features and allow it to be more active, inclusive and comfortable public space. Some of the ideas collected included: shade, playgrounds, street furniture, water, wifi, stands, community gardens, garden, sports facilities, cultural events, concerts, etc.

Añadiendo propuestas al panel de exposición

Adding proposals to the exhibition panel

Puesta en común


Puesta en común


Trabajando en los "pétalos"

Working on the “petals”

Algunos niños posando con sus propuestas

Some kids with their ideas

Aprendiendo y enseñando a plegar el origami

Learning and teaching how to fold the papers

Some “flowers” start to appear

Mostrando el resultado

Showing the result

In a local highschool

Using the digital application

Using the digital application

Adults workshop

Workshop with adults, both tourists and locals

Sharing results and reflections

Sharing results and reflections

3. Digital Exuma:

As in previous occasions, and after adapting the graphics, we used Whatif for digitally collecting ideas from participants. The resulting platform, is and will remain active for the next few months as an open communication channel with all those who want to maintain the dialogue and continue to participate.

For those of you who are not familiar with the tool, Whatif is a web and mobile application designed to the publication of geolocated messages: Users write their ideas, opinions or proposals in 140 characters and classified by category and location so that they can be consulted, valued and shared in real time. We developed it as a tool to assist public participation processes and collective creativity, facilitating the tasks of consultation, exploration and visualization of a wide variety of data.
The application is open source and available for free download on the official website, which will soon be announcing a new, improved version.

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la pantalla principal

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the main page

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la entrada al formulario

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the entry form

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mapa

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the map view

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mensajes

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the messages view

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de etiquetas

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the tags view

4. Origami garden of exuma dreams- Jardín de los sueños

The last day of our stay, we arranged an installation with all the ideas compiled during the entire process, an ephemeral and symbolic collection of wishes for Exuma, George Town and the public space of the city. A red and blue paper flower garden, each containing 5 petals with different ideas and desires embedded.

The Garden of Dreams allowed us to show the local community the work done throughout the process of workshops and activities, while temporarily transform a public space in Georgetown, drawing attention to the need to revitalize this space.

Boceto de concepto para la instalación

Concept drawing for the installation

La "flor" resultante

The resulting “flower”…

... y las flores formando un jardín

… and the garden these flowers form.

Personas visitando la instalación

People visiting the installation

Personas visitando la instalación

People visiting the installation

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Night view of the installation

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Night view of the installation

Otra vista nocturna de la instalación

Another night view of the installation

Now we are back and the ‘lab’ work begins. It is necessary to process all the collected material and transform the hopes and dreams of the citizens of Georgetown designing a catalytic intervention for this important public space for the community life.

More information about the project:

More pictures about the project at their Facebook page

El equipo visitante, de izquierda a derecha: Gareth Doherty, Jose Luis Vallejo, Belinda Tato, Jose María Ortiz y Mariano Gomez

The visiting team, left to right: Gareth Doherty, Jose Luis Vallejo, Belinda Tato, Jose María Ortiz and Mariano Gomez

Cheers from Exuma!

Cheers from Exuma!

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Jardín de Sueños en Exuma

Category : ecosistema urbano + nuevas tecnologías + sostenibilidad + urban social design + ⚐ ES

Sobrevolando el Caribe

You can see the English version of this post here.

Exuma es un distrito de las Bahamas que consta de más de 360 islas (o cayos). El mayor de los cayos es Gran Exuma, de unos 60 km de longitud, y en él se sitúa la ciudad más grande del distrito, Georgetown, fundada en 1793. El Trópico de Cáncer pasa por la ciudad. Toda la cadena de islas es de 209 km de largo y unos 72 km².

Ecosistema Urbano ha iniciado en el mes de febrero de 2014 una colaboración con el proyecto A Sustainable future for Exuma: Environmental Management, Design, and Planning, que surge de la cooperación entre el Gobierno de las Bahamas, el Bahamas National Trust y Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD).

Situación de Exuma

Situación de Exuma

“A sustainable future for Exuma” es un proyecto de 3 años de duración con múltiples ramificaciones dentro de dos áreas de intervención principales (investigación y cooperación académica) cuyo objetivo final es diseñar el futuro planeamiento para las islas.

Resumen del trabajo de campo - Fuente: Exuma Topics

Resumen del trabajo de campo – Fuente: Exuma Topics

La misión de Ecosistema Urbano, dentro del marco general del proyecto, ha sido la de diseñar una serie de actividades y talleres para promover el diálogo dentro de la comunidad local, reflexionando sobre el futuro de las islas y dando a conocer la existencia y el contenido de este proyecto de futuro. Como desenlace final de este debate, se plantea la necesidad de materializar a muy corto plazo una intervención catalizadora en el espacio público de Georgetown, como señal de cambio y transformación para el futuro de la isla.

Mientras interactuábamos con la comunidad local, íbamos obteniendo información fundamental sobre cómo se sienten sus habitantes, cuáles son sus expectativas, su percepción, sus necesidades, etc. El debate se situó fundamentalmente entre dos escalas: el ámbito general de Exuma y el entorno local de Georgetown, la población principal del distrito, donde se desarrolla la mayor actividad social.

De entre los numerosos temas tratados han surgido algunos tan importantes como la alimentación, el suministro energético, la educación, los residuos, el agua, el transporte, el turismo, la identidad o las infraestructuras.

Ha habido momentos fantásticos de reflexión colectiva sobre el presente y el futuro de este entorno tan bello y frágil a la vez; y ha sido especialmente interesante escuchar a los más jóvenes, quienes a pesar de su corta edad, tienen una visión muy clara de cuáles son los retos y problemas que les afectan y que deben afrontan para mejorar sus expectativas de futuro.

Llegando a Gran Exuma

Las herramientas y talleres que hemos puesto en práctica para sondear los deseos y aspiraciones de la comunidad local han sido los siguientes:

1. Street photo tour

Nuestro amigo y extraordinario fotógrafo, Emilio P. Doiztua, nos ha acompañado en este viaje, realizando un magnífico registro de muchos de los participantes y las actividades. Creímos importante recoger los testimonios tanto de aquellos que querían participar en las actividades más organizadas, como de los que preferían expresar sus ideas de manera espontánea en la calle, a la salida de la Iglesia o del mercado. La gente se mostró muy abierta a participar y contestar nuestras preguntas.

Algunas de las fotografías tomadas durante el "tour"

Algunas de las fotografías tomadas durante el “tour”

2. Creative workshops

Durante esta semana hemos realizado actividades en los colegios de educación primaria de St. Andrew’s, Moss Town, Georgetown, Williams Town y en el Instituto L.N. Coackley High School, trabajando con jóvenes de entre 7 y 18 años. Paralelamente se han realizado dos encuentros con adultos, ambos en St. Andrew’s Community center.

Como ejercicio detonante, diseñamos un set de 2 preguntas, utilizando los colores rojo y azul, para simbolizar los cambios necesarios y los sueños deseados respectivamente. Cada entrevistado y participante debía responder a estas dos sencillas cuestiones, como ejercicio individual para después proceder a un trabajo de reflexión colectiva, trabajando en grupos de 4 ó 5 personas.

Azul y rojo, sueños y cambios

Azul y rojo, sueños y cambios

Muchas y muy distintas han sido las respuestas, y ha sido muy interesante constatar la claridad de ideas que tienen los más jóvenes (7-10 años) a la hora de sugerir cambios y proponer ideas, tanto sobre su entorno más inmediato (su colegio, su barrio, su ciudad) como del contexto más amplio, Exuma.

Al final de cada taller, a través de un sencillo ejercicio de origami, las páginas rojas y azules que simbolizan los cambios deseados o los sueños de futuro, se convierten primero en pétalos y más tarde en flores de papel.

Plantillas usadas para las propuestas y el origami

Plantillas usadas para las propuestas y el origami – clic para ver y descargar en alta resolución

Proceso de plegado del origami

Proceso de plegado del origami

Para los ejercicios colectivos se ha trabajado con fotos aéreas, palabras, producción de collages y escenificación. Se ha realizado una reflexión a 3 escalas: Exuma, Georgetown y a escala más local, sobre un espacio público vital en la ciudad, el lugar más frecuentado a diario por niños, jóvenes y familias.

"The park", el principal espacio público de Georgetown

“The park”, el principal espacio público de Georgetown

Este espacio es un lugar de encuentro natural para los jóvenes y tiene un gran potencial como espacio para la interacción social de la isla por su proximidad a la laguna Victoria y por encontrarse en el centro de Georgetown.

Ubicación de este "parque" en Georgetown

Ubicación de este “parque” en Georgetown

A lo largo de una semana recibimos infinidad de ideas y propuestas para transformarlo y dotarlo de mejores instalaciones, más funciones y permitir que sea un espacio público más activo, inclusivo y confortable. Algunas de las ideas recogidas incluyeron: sombra, juegos infantiles, mobiliario urbano, agua, wifi, gradas, huertas urbanas, jardín, zonas deportivas, eventos culturales, conciertos, etc.

Añadiendo propuestas al panel de exposición

Añadiendo propuestas al panel de exposición

Puesta en común

Puesta en común

Puesta en común

Puesta en común

Trabajando en los "pétalos"

Trabajando en los “pétalos”

Algunos niños posando con sus propuestas

Algunos niños posando con sus propuestas

Aprendiendo y enseñando a plegar el origami

Aprendiendo y enseñando a plegar los papeles

Empiezan a aparecer “flores”

Mostrando el resultado

Mostrando el resultado

En un instituto local

Using the digital application

Usando la aplicación digital

Adults workshop

Talleres con adultos, tanto turistas como locales

Sharing results and reflections

Sharing results and reflections

3. Digital Exuma:

Como en otras ocasiones hemos utilizado, previa adaptación a nivel gráfico, la herramienta Whatif para recoger de manera digital las ideas de los participantes. La plataforma resultante, está y seguirá estando activa durante los próximos meses como canal abierto de comunicación con todos aquellos que quieran mantener el diálogo y seguir participando.

Para los que no estéis familiarizados con la herramienta, Whatif es una aplicación web y móvil adaptada a la publicación de mensajes geolocalizados: los usuarios escriben sus ideas, opiniones o propuestas en 140 caracteres y las clasifican por categorías y ubicación, de modo que puedan ser consultadas, valoradas y compartidas en tiempo real. La desarrollamos como una herramienta para asistir procesos de participación ciudadana y creatividad colectiva, facilitando las tareas de consulta, prospección y visualización de una gran variedad de datos.

La aplicación es open source y está disponible para su libre descarga en la página oficial, en la que en breve anunciaremos una nueva versión bastante mejorada.

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la pantalla principal

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la pantalla principal

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la entrada al formulario

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la entrada al formulario

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mapa

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la vista de mapa

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mensajes

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la vista de mensajes

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de etiquetas

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la vista de etiquetas

4. Origami garden of exuma dreams- Jardín de los sueños

El último día de la semana, realizamos una instalación con todas las ideas recogidas durante todo el proceso, un montaje efímero y simbólico de los deseos para Exuma, Georgetown y el espacio público de la ciudad. Un jardín de flores de papel rojas y azules, cada una de ellas de 5 pétalos con las diferentes ideas y deseos.

Este Jardín de sueños nos permitió mostrar a la comunidad local el trabajo realizado durante todo el proceso de talleres y actividades, al mismo tiempo que transformamos temporalmente el espacio público de Georgetown, atrayendo la atención sobre la necesidad de revitalizar este espacio.

Boceto de concepto para la instalación

Boceto de concepto para la instalación

En cada flor se instaló una micro-lámpara LED de luz intermitente, creando un efecto lumínico vibrante que contribuía a destacar la multiplicidad y variedad de las ideas recogidas. La gente paseó por el Jardín de los sueños leyendo y descubriendo las reflexiones colectivas.

La "flor" resultante

La “flor” resultante…

... y las flores formando un jardín

… y las flores formando un jardín

Personas visitando la instalación

Personas visitando la instalación

Personas visitando la instalación

Personas visitando la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Otra vista nocturna de la instalación

Otra vista nocturna de la instalación

Una vez de vuelta, comienza el trabajo de laboratorio. Procesar todo el material recogido y transformar los deseos y sueños de los habitantes de Georgetown diseñando una intervención catalizadora para este espacio público tan importante para la vida de esta comunidad.

Más información sobre el proyecto:

Más fotografías sobre el proyecto en su página de Facebook

El equipo visitante, de izquierda a derecha: Gareth Doherty, Jose Luis Vallejo, Belinda Tato, Jose María Ortiz y Mariano Gomez

El equipo visitante, de izquierda a derecha: Gareth Doherty, Jose Luis Vallejo, Belinda Tato, Jose María Ortiz y Mariano Gomez

Cheers from Exuma!

¡Saludos desde Exuma!

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Anja Humljan | eu collaborators

Category : colaboradores + ⚐ EN

Today we introduce you to Anja Humljan, a young architect with a very diverse profile and an interesting background, who is doing an internship with us and will be contributing with some posts for the blog while working on her own research. Here, she tells us more about herself:

I am a freelance architect from Slovenia, passionatelly pursuing projects around the world – from New York to Madrid, Australia and Denmark, with Tokyo on the to-do list. To fulfill my interests in interdisciplinary and multimedia approach to architecture I studied classical architecture in Slovenia, photo-media, video arts and sound recording in Australia and digital design in Denmark. Together with Danish colleagues we designed an interactive pavilion NoRA exhibited and built at Venice Architectural Biennial 2006.

Anja Humljan

Anja Humljan, photo: Irena Herak

For the past ten years, I have been investigating various fields that at first glance have no connection with architecture: I explored emotional expressionism and dynamic relationship between individual and space through modern dance and ballet. While living in New York City, I was taking part in dance intensives with world’s most renowned modern dance companies – Alvin Ailey and Complexions. Studying vocal techniques and sound recording for six months at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, working as voice actor, narrator and radio presenter made me sensible for the sonic quality of our contemporary environment, discovering the importance of sound and its immense potential within architecture. By consistently teaching and practicing yoga for twelve years I have been investigating proprioception and pareidolia and learned how to strengthen individual’s sub consciousness via physical training, meditation and discipline.

Space potential

Space potential: Physical vs. existential aspect of space, image: A.H.

SPACE POTENTIAL: URBAN YOGA AND VIDEO METHOD PLES On the threshold between all the respected fields and architecture, I placed a conceptual platform Space potential. It responds to my questions on space and architecture: what is crucial for architecture today, what needs to be pursued in the architectural practice, what we should not give up on, so that architecture will continue to exist and work as architecture. I believe we perceive and experience space in a complex way: objective qualities form physical aspects of space (geometry and function), whereas the subjective qualities form existential aspect of space (multisensory bodily experience, intuition, stories, movement, the passing of time). For analyzing, documenting and presenting the existential aspect of space I established and tested two concepts: Urban yoga project and Video method Ples. Ples is the acrostic of the four consecutive phases (P-rimary, L-atent, E-xperimental and S-ummary), as well as a Slovenian word for dance, which symbolizes the relationship between the architect and space.

Video method PLES

Space potenital: Video method Ples, image: A.H.

Urban yoga project, a series of photos taken and are still to be taken in various metropolises around the world, is rediscovering the lost spatial sensuousness, a situation where city and body are in constant interaction and are thus mutually supplementing and defining each other. I believe that for as long as our bodies will relate to the real space, as the heart relates to organism, cities will remain, citizens will survive, and as for the architecture – it will continue to exist and work as architecture.

Urban yoga New York

Space potential: Urban yoga New York City, photo: Jaka Vinšek

Working for versatile, proactive and extremely productive Ecosistema Urbano Arquitectos is utmost exciting and fun, eagerly awaiting each new project to come.

Occupation: Architect
Interests: Existential and experiential Architecture, Brand design, Voice acting and narration, Modern ballet and flamenco, Electronic music, blues rock, jazz and fado, Jivamukti yoga
City/Country: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Social profiles: Facebook

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ReparaCiudad, a Spanish platform for the improvement of street conditions | Social Toolbox

Category : social toolbox + ⚐ EN

Type: Platform | App
Issues: Street conditions | Mobility and accessibility

ReparaCiudad follows the same concept of FixMyStreet. It is an application that allows citizens to report incidents in the street and immediately inform the public administration, which can quickly react and provide feedback to the citizens about the solutions adopted. The application provides a mobile version and a web based version.

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Alive Architecture | Urban installations to raise awareness and drive change

Category : creativity + urban social design + urbanism + ⚐ EN

Alive Architecture

Earlier this year Belinda had the pleasure to meet Petra Pferdmenges and know about her practice, which is close to the concept of tactical urbanism and to our way of using urban actions or ‘mockups’ to test concepts in the city and trigger engagement. In her own words:

Quick and simple urban performances allow engaging with the local population and observing their reactions towards the performed project. In case of success the tests may stimulate a dynamic that forwards the initial action, often independent of the actual designer who generated the process.

The practice

Alive Architecture, based in Brussels and founded by her in 2010, is a research-based practice that celebrates design engagement through urban actions in order to generate urban dynamics. The applied tools are performances that establish a dialogue with the local actors. The intention is to enter into a feedback loop between testing a project (the expertise of the designer) and observing the local population’s reactions (the expertise of the local population) and allows furthering the initial project. Successful projects generate a more permanent dynamic in the neighborhood.

In commissioned projects this method is applied in order to test preliminary design proposals that will then be furthered through the observation of people’s reactions. In self-initiated projects the quick and simple actions are a way to raise a dialogue on the potential of a well-chosen site through engaging with the local population.

The use of popular media as Facebook, postcards, fanzine’s or flyers supports the construction of exchange among the different actors involved in the project. The dissemination of the work in form of publications, writings and conferences may expand the dialogue beyond the local scale.

In order to give you a glimpse into her work, here is a series of projects initiated and realized in and around Brussels red light district:

Visible Invisible

Visible Invisible by Alive Architecture

Visible Invisible by Alive Architecture

Collaboration with: Stijn Beeckman, photographer
Date: December 2010 – January 2011
Place: Vitrine 11, Brussels (Ixelles)

The request by the owner of the gallery ‘Vitrine 11’ to propose an installation to be set up in a display window leads us to the question: ‘How to make a window display alive?’ Reflection on domesticated windows in relation to the public domain brought us to the neighborhood of the Rue d’Aerschot, Brussels Red Light District. Here, the curtain behind the window allows cutting off the private sphere from public life. We proposed a copy paste of the lived windows in the Rue d’Aerschot to the window display in Ixelles, a sophisticated neighborhood in Brussels. The space becomes transformed and used in a way that is different from the original use, and provides for an encounter of the passers-by with the topic of prostitution that remains taboo.

The project provoked reactions and dialogue among people in the neighborhood. Some people became worried about their neighborhood becoming a red light district, others taking it with humor, few calling the police and again other people to try to meet the woman that never appeared behind the window. While a ‘finissage’ a series of experts on prostitution joined the discussion and were the source of the follow-up projects in the red light district itself.


Flash-Paint by Alive Architecture

Flash-Paint by Alive Architecture

Date: March 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

One of the actions to advertise the vacant spaces was realized within the street itself. The intervention was inspired by the signs hung behind many of the windows on the ground floor announcing ‘Cherche Serveuse’. The papers indicate that the place has free window space for a woman to offer sexual exchange against money. I took this as an inspiration to place additional signs saying ‘Cherche Locataire’ on the windows of the vacant spaces on the ground floor to indicate the search for people to rent the place. An email address on the sign invited people to express their interest. A small number of emails were received but the actual encounter in space was much more fruitful. Singh, the person employed to run the night shop in the street, was getting exited to have his own shop in the street. A series of immigrants without papers stopped to ask for the price and were ready to pay a rather high amount of money to rent a studio in the street. Further, potential pimps started discussions to test if the spaces on the ground floor could be rented for the function of prostitution. The method of performing within the street rather than advertising space in the surroundings was a success: the direct relation between acting in the street and discussing with people became a way to exchange with those usually impossible to engage with otherwise. Therefore the same method was applied in the third action while spending more time on it to engage more in depth with people.

As in the action Flash-Paint, the intention to occupy one of the vacant ground floor spaces within the framework of the project ‘I love Aerschot’ is furthering this project and may, in case of success, generate occupation of several vacant ground floors along the street.

Food for love

Collaboration with: Piadina Wagon
Date: April – October 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

Among a series of other actions responding to people’s needs in Brussels red light district I curated a pop-up restaurant Piadina Wagon in the street. The owners sold for the duration of a day their Italian specialties in the street. On one side the installation of the restaurant that expanded onto the sidewalk had a short-term value to improve the livability of the street. On the other side we recognized the socio-economic success of the project and it became evident that there is a potential for pop-up restaurants in the street that may have a long-term impact on the life in the neighborhood. The owners of the Piadina Wagon agreed to install their restaurant once per month in the street from June to October 2012, this time including a delivery service.

Dissemination of the project through local media announced the success of the project and the dates of the presence of the mobile restaurant in the street. After several articles and announcements were published a second restaurant with the name Pink Panther arrived to sell Lebanese specialties in the street. While the Piadina Wagon stopped their intervention this November, the Pink Panther continues selling Lebanese food once a week in the street.

In the follow-up project currently developed with Escaut architectures and OKUP, a series of public dinners and breakfasts will further the idea of food places in the street and contribute to the dialogue among the different actors.

Sweet Flowers

Sweet Flowers by Alive Architecture

Sweet Flowers by Alive Architecture

Date: April 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

‘I wish for better clients’ – a wish expressed by several sex workers is a challenging task for a designer. The initial idea to respond to that wish was to curate a person who would sell flowers to potential clients. The seller may give the idea to men to bring a flower when visiting a sex-worker and therefore transform them, temporarily, into better clients. It turned out to be impossible to convince any flower seller to spend an afternoon in the street as they expected the financial profit to be low in that specific neighbourhood. In order to not abandon the idea I handed out the flowers myself and became therefore not only the initiator but as well one of the actors in the event.

Several men accepted the flower and were strolling with a flower in their hand along the street. Some of the big sisters were happy about receiving a flower for free and placed them in a vase inside of the bar. Some sex-workers behind the window ended up placing a flower behind their ears. Singh, the owner of the night shop, received several flowers that he fixed between the chocolate bars in the night shop.

Recording the relational performances allowed disseminating the project through the local TV station and Archiurbain. The project generated dialog on a future of this grey and abandoned street and contributed to the call for ideas that was published end of 2012. The chosen team to realize the project is Escaut architectures in collaboration with OKUP and Alive Architecture and is currently developed and realized by the team.

People’s Wall

People's wall by Alive Architecture

People’s wall by Alive Architecture

Date: April 2012
Place: Brussels (Schaerbeek), rue d’Aerschot

‘I wish for a less grey wall’ – was expressed by several big sisters as well as people from the local association l’Attitude Nord. To respond to this wish the series of collages of the ten micro-transformations for the street were exhibited on the wall. The intention of the exhibition was to activate the wall by transforming it into a more colorful space that could create encounter, interaction and attract people from outside of the area into the street. Invitations were sent to city authorities and local associations and flyers were distributed to the big sisters and the sex-workers.

Once the performance of placing the images on the wall started some passing-by people asked questions about the work and therefore engaged into the performance. Passing by people stopped to have a look at the exhibited work, Some sex-workers sneaked out of their window to see what was happening in their street, several big sisters crossed the street to find out what the exhibition was about, a series of office workers from the two associations joined the event and a group of eight people from the city of Schaerbeek made their way down to the rue d’Aerschot.

Moments of different situations occurred on the sidewalk, each having a different density of people transforming the space. Discussions were generated between passing by people and those visiting the exhibition. At the peak moment that was at the time of lunch break a crowd of about 25 to 30 people who joined the event and transformed the sidewalk into a collective performance in the street.

In the project ‘I love Aerschot’ the project is furthered through a projection on the wall throughout the summer 2013.


Collaboration with: Piadina Wagon
Date: April – October 2012
Place: Les Ateliers Claus, Brussel, Belgium

‘The three short movies ‘food for love’, ‘sweet flowers’ & ‘people’s wall’ were exhibited in the showcase of ‘Les Ateliers Claus’ in Brussels. For the opening the window became a stage for performance in which people could engage and therefore become part of the making of the event. The engagement was filmed and exhibited behind the showcase that provoked further engagement of passing by people into the relational performance.


Another interesting line of work is the mapping of existing realities, in which she redraws and annotates objects and spaces, making visible the way people live, the spontaneous solutions they use and the interactions that happen around them. An great example of this is her work on informal structures built by urban nomads.

Research on urban nomads in Kyoto by Alive Architecture

Research on urban nomads in Kyoto by Alive Architecture

For more information, you can check:

Video interview (French): ARCHI URBAIN | Alive Architecture – Installations urbaines

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Mass culture: How to not die of

Category : city + sustainability + urbanism + ⚐ EN

Last summer, different cities from different parts of the world screamed through their squares and streets, and the messages from their voices revealed more than what we could see at first sight.

2013 Taksim Gezi Park by Flashstorm

2013 Taksim Gezi Park by Flashstorm

In Turkey, protests clashed initially in Gezi Park in Istanbul, where the government wanted to impose a new shopping center in the middle of the city, where a green park stood. The protests appeared trivial and useless, as the decision to build another shopping center, commonly and always justified as part of innovation and development of a country, could not compete with citizens’ willingness to keep a green area in the city center. Anyway it appeared incredible that due to this occupation, government military forces started a real fight against the ‘riots’, so that from a little episode, the phenomena started to expand to the whole country, augmenting the size of the protest and people’s involvement.

Photo by Diren Gezi Parki on Facebook

Photo by Diren Gezi Parki on Facebook

Likewise, Brazilian people began to occupy their streets in the name of stopping their Government for what they considered a waste of money and resources: the forthcoming World Football Championship. As it is known, the investment for this is a huge cost, involving the building and the re-organization of new spaces. Citizens occupied the streets asking to invest that money in more urgent sectors, as education, health and security. For sure, behind this people movements, behind their complaints and their need of being listened to, there are several dimensions of a same problem.

The ‘problem’ is that people would like to be part of a democracy, as the Governments define themselves, and have access to a democratic life, having the chance to be active part of the decisions taken. Mass culture takes part as a dimension of the phenomena. We can try to understand why and to what extent.

The context for much of the current interest in material culture is a fear. It is a fear of objects supplanting people. That this is currently happening is the explicit contention of much of the debate over postmodernism which is one of the most fashionable approaches within contemporary social science. (Miller, 1998:169)

This statement is extracted from an article where the author explains that the fear described is an overrated feeling in sociology. If we consider the Marxist position, it uses to refer to a distinction between an assumed pre-era, far from material objects, and the modern one, made or dominated by material; anyway there is actually no evidence of this historical distinction from ethnography or past studies, as even old societies were rather engaged with cultural media (Miller, 1998). However, Miller’s thought is contextualized in a different discourse, whilst the theme, that hereby is going to be explored, touches that argument in the most ‘materialist’ way possible: Indeed it will be the consideration of mass culture intended in its symbolic and representative meaning, and especially in which way the symbolic and the representative are intertwined with the material objects and massive quantitative consequences of its use as media tools.

In this case, I would argue that fear is not overrated, rather it is underestimated. Indeed, fear is real as much as deaths due to climate change and revolutions; fear is real to the extent that some people have too much and others have nothing. In this essay mass culture will be discussed from the aspect of its weight on people and planet lives, in particular inside our cities. I would try to discuss mass culture from an ethic point, not asking if we are dominated or whether there is the domination of a Western or capitalist culture, but rather inquiring if we are dominated by mass culture without recognizing its cost in terms of social justice, sustainability and depleting resources, and thus, if we could change something before crashing indirectly also due to mass culture’s effects.

Mass culture and the city

Image by AlexandraGalvis

Image by AlexandraGalvis

Mass culture is, first of all, an incredible phenomenon itself. With this term, I will refer to the huge flowering of cultural products and cultural media that surrounds our daily life, often strongly driven by markets, and that, due to the global streaming, reach masses and are consumed quite globally. Thus, it is clear that within the phenomena, arts, events, shopping and most of the rituals and media we experience daily are directly involved. Above all, mass culture has a relation with the consumerism system and technology development. Furthermore, when we talk about mass culture, we talk about a collective culture production, and thus of a result due to human interaction. (Grazian, 2010).

It is not so difficult to imagine the particular relationship that mass culture engages with cities. Not just because it is possible to observe it directly, but because cities are primarily the first concentration of masses where people live into the network of relationships, where their lives are indeed organized and intertwined within the social system. Literature supports various different traditions and points of view: For sure the city has always been seen as a great place for commercial, business, capitalist trades and often cities have been built according to these interests. For instance, Marx Weber in his classic ‘The city’ (1958) discusses it in these terms, trying to identify their main features, stressing what defines a city and what is not enough:

Both in terms of what it would include and what it would exclude size alone can hardly be sufficient to define the city. Economically defined, the city is a settlement the inhabitants of which live primarily off trade and commerce rather than agriculture.

Certainly, due to chances of trades, relationships and exchanges, the city is the realm of business. Weber also considers citizens according to their consumer role:

Similar to the city of the prince, the inhabitants of which are economically dependent upon the purchasing power of noble households, are cities in which the purchasing power of the other larger consumers, such as reinters, determines the economic opportunities of resident tradesmen and merchants.

Moreover, he claimed that:

Thus, we wish to speak of a ‘city’ only in cases where local inhabitants satisfy an economically substantial part of their daily wants in the local market (…). In the meaning employed here the ‘city’ is a market place. The local market forms the economic center of the colony in which, due the specialization products, both the nonurban population and urbanites satisfy their wants for articles of trade and commerce. (1958)

So, as a central crossroads of activities made of relationships and exchange, soon the city became the symbol of economy, gathering around itself both producers and consumers, and creating for them a whole life, including mainly rituals and tools of innovation concerning demand/buying and offer/selling. This is well explained by Jayne in his essay ‘Cities and Consumption’ (2006). He conducts an analysis about the rising of the industrial revolution, mass production and the consequent mass consumption, and the rituals of shopping and entertainment that had developed around these, collocated in the spaces of the cities, according to class distinctions, social system and capitalist interests. And mainly it is from this process that mass culture developed for the most as we know it today. Jayne stresses also how the dominant class pictured the shape of cities basically operating on the re-organization of spaces in order to respond functionally to a social meaning of class division, but also to respond to new needs of rituals primed by economic growth and capitalist fuel (2006).

It is in the first years of the 20th Century that the consumption of objects as media tools of culture in a massive style starts to be established and spread, thanks to the incentive of mass commodification and the technology advances. As it has been described by Veblen (1899), and Bourdieu later (1984), consumption and possession became icons of status. Precisely, as affirmed with the concept of cultural capital, the consumption of a specific culture and lifestyle became the symbol of distinction within the capitalist societies, where agencies and institutions worked to perpetuate the status quo (Bourdieu, 1984).

A kind of economic frame-centrism seems to exist, indeed economy is often the most considered starting point for analyzing society, as an invasive factor that defines all that it touches. Anyway, according to me, it is necessary not to forget that economy is not the only working force, because, not considering the phenomenon exactly in its whole, we risk to fall into determinism, being partial, and not seeing alternative ways of operating.

Robert Park, the major exponent of Chicago School, in 1916 talks of the city from another point of view, in my opinion also changing the vision of mass culture related. I found his words extremely interesting:

The city, from the point of view of this paper, is something more than a congeries of individual men and of social conveniences-streets, buildings, electric lights, tramways, and telephones, etc.; something more also, than a mere constellation of institutions and administrative devices -courts, hospitals, schools, police, and civil functionaries of various sorts. The city is, rather, a state of mine, a body of customs and traditions, and of the organized attitudes and sentiments that inhere in these customs and are transmitted with this tradition. The city is not, in other words, merely a physical mechanism and an artificial construction. It is involved in the vital process of the people who compose it; it is a product of nature, and particularly of human nature. (1916)

Considering that, I would see mass culture more like something belonging to the city in a virtual and potential way, then created by people and by their relations built there, and as something that is not just derived by economic forces and consumerism traditions. Again, the city characteristics assume a more human look. Park doesn’t forget the economic side and recognizes its importance:

The city is not, however, merely a geographical and ecological unit; it is at the same time an economic unit. The economic organization of the city is based on the division of labor. (…) Much of what we ordinarily regard as the city-its charters, formal organization, buildings, street railways, and so forth-is, or seems to be, mere artifact. But these things in themselves are utilities, adventitious devices which become part of the living city only when, and in so far as, through use and wont they connect themselves, like a tool in the hand of man, with the vital forces resident in individuals and in the community.

Another last important aspect:

The fact is, however, that the city is rooted in the habits and customs of the people who inhabit it. The consequence is that the city possesses a moral as well as a physical organization, and these two mutually interact in characteristic ways to mold and modify each other… (1916)

Thus, the city is first of all the space of human action and the shape and personality of its citizens. It is the place where culture and ideas flourish, as a fruit of human interaction.

Image by Oleksandr Hnatenko

Image by Oleksandr Hnatenko,

Following this pattern, we can look at analysis that see the representative idea of a city today, as the core of creativity, the essence of innovation, and the development and growth of a contemporary era. The same Richard Florida best seller ‘The rise of creative class’ (2002) contributed to expand the idea of a different city representation. Together with the ‘The creative city’ by Landry (2000), the authors indicated culture in its whole manifestation as the best creativity booster factor to attract the main potential resource of innovation: creative people.

By the way:

Hall unfolds a very important aspect of urban creativity, i.e. the people involvement. In fact, in the view of many scholars concerned with popular culture, people are not only passively consuming goods, as ‘mass’, they are also creatively determining the production and circulation of culture (Chambers, 1986; Fiske, 1989a, b) and shaping accordingly their view of the city. (Botta, 2006)

Mass culture could be seen as created, influenced, inspired by and consumed in the cities. But, in a double way, the same city is protagonist of mass culture, of narrative and imaginary, recounted and repurposed as representative of an idea of the city itself.

Mass culture, consumption and sustainability

Once the interrelationship between city and mass culture has been observed and after having stressed how there is not an only way to intend this liaison, we could now focus on the weight of mass culture. This weight could seem invisible to most, in first place because they don’t want people to see it, and then because people don’t want to see it either. Indeed, I am talking of a complex plot process among mass culture, consumerism and mass consumption, something that concerns deeply our ‘normal’ representation of daily life, as the best life possible.

Every day we get up and go to work. We work to earn money and with that money we buy everything that can permit us to conduce a comfortable life, possibly happy, healthy and rich. The more we work, the more we earn, the more we want to have. Having objects, first of all, does not imply them to be stupid ones. We love design, we love to show off concern for our culture: So we fill our houses with books, compact discs, vinyls, vintage pieces, clothes, shoes, cars. We love of course an independent big house with all comforts, hot in winter and cool in summer. We love culture, we love style and good food, we love travelling around the world, we love a comfortable life, we love shopping. We love sports, we love concerts and dancing. And above all, we love doing everything in a single very amusing and cozy place: a big city that can offer this and more.

That above seems almost one of those pictures or statements that we can commonly find on the teenager’s timeline on Facebook. A real statement about ideal life underpinned by mass culture. Unfortunately it is a sad reality if observed under another point of view. I regret to communicate that our planet is not big nor rich enough (not anymore) to grant the same treatment to all the teenagers of the world. I am sorry to communicate to my friends that their passion to collect rock compact discs is increasing the garbage that someone else will probably find as plastic junk in the sea. I am sorry to communicate to citizens that our big cities are not going to be livable anymore if the presence of toxic gases will increase. I am sorry to communicate that while your favorite an-alcoholic drink brand, Coca Cola, launches its new advertise, assessing their will to help people and make the world a better place, with children singing in the background, in India their factories are exploiting the country’s water resources to produce their drink and the company is collaborating with Government to privatize the same water, taking it away from people.

Image seen in Global Environments & Societies wiki

Image seen in

It is not easy put in discussion the best lifestyle possible people’s idea: but it is time to really face the cost of our lifestyle, and our lovely mass culture. Maybe mass culture has become a natural part of our life that it is really difficult try to reason on it in terms of sustainability for the planet in which we live, the only one. This is because mass culture currently concerns almost all the rituals of our everyday life, including education, cultural capital, identity, wealth, traditions, and all the ‘soft’ symbolic part turned on rituals.

Anyway, at this point, it could be useful to make a distinction. For me, when we talk about mass culture we are not talking just and necessarily of consumerism, but perhaps more of rituals and activities that are deep-rooted within the consumerist society; this has then for sure been emphasized to an excess, in quantity and in stimulation and expansion of people’s needs. Indeed, Chandra Mukerji (1983) has historically described examples of consumer culture in the 15th Century Europe, where the exchange of media culture, such as books, exotic pieces from far places, jewels, spices and textures, was usual among royalty and upper classes (Wilk, 2002). Moreover, Peter Corrigan argues that the concept of ‘fashion’ was already well known in the Elizabethan times, when London was the center of trends (1997).

Today the modern consumption and the consumerism culture has achieved an exaggerate level of production of goods, if not waste. We could think that the human nature aims to have as much as possible or that being greedy is a natural component of human behavior; instead it is fairly reasonable that not in all societies, in the past nor now, people have the same need of possession, nor the same notion of richness or comforts. Nowadays, we can also say that not even the whole population belonging to the same society has the same notion of values in life and of our cities. Coming back for a moment to Turkey and Brazil, it is clear that a great number of people doesn’t agree with their Governments about which are the priorities for a good life in their cities. Could another shopping center create better conditions for people or enrich people more than a green space? Could a world event solve the social basic issues of inequity and poverty of a country? People are recognizing more and more that what is really important for their cities are adequate spaces for themselves, where they have the chance to choose their rituals or maybe to create them.

We are in a cyclic system that resembles a treadmill, where the whole society is involved, into the process of producing needs, old and new, and then producing goods. The index to indicate the level of wealth and growth is the GDP that measures the quantity of goods – products in one year per country. Is the huge quantity of goods produced seriously making our societies better and prosper?

Whereas mass culture (or mass cultures) is made of tools, symbols, icons, practices, rituals and it is something concerning people and their consumption in a certain way, what distinguishes pure consumerism today is: The quantity of goods produced; the stimulation and the expansion of needs; the pushing, by few stakeholders, of society towards consumption and possession. For sure marketing and selling strategies have always done a good job to lead practices, rituals and symbols around their products.

Buy More Stuff, Black Friday 2009 - Photo by Michael Holden

Buy More Stuff, Black Friday 2009 – Photo by Michael Holden

Consumerism affects mass culture so much that is primarily a mean of identity and interaction with others, because historically our Western capitalist societies consider money and the quantity of goods as distinctive symbols of wealth and success in life. Sure is that, the existence and the use of mass culture both suffer this deal. But in a society where we are conscious of the issues concerning the exploitation of resources and the return of it under the shape of garbage and where the first value is keeping safe life conditions, mass culture could change look. Already now we are adhering to style trends for smart cities, car sharing, waste recycle and other practices, that if inserted as pieces of mass culture into our lives could help to change mass culture too.

Thus, we cannot just criticize our consumerism society in terms of the damage that we are causing. We should start to reflect on our daily cultural practices, which are indeed made of mass cultural media tools, starting by city spaces, where our activities are concentrated and where more than other we could see the rituals and the proliferation of mass culture. And thus, we should begin thinking of a new approach based on them. I am persuaded that we could indeed change mass culture through mass culture itself.

According to the anthropologist Margaret Mead, there is no single approach working successfully in every society; rather, each one has a “culturally appropriate” approach, concerning the specific characteristics of its individuals (1953). In this perspective, Wilk argues:

They imply that no single set of solutions, technological, legislative, or cultural, is going to work in every society. On the contrary, we should expect great diversity in the ways different countries and cultures deal with sustainability problems. How can we expect things to change in the countries that presently consume so much more than their share of global resources? (2002)

When we talk about cities, we then talk about mass culture too, thus maybe cities could live by a different mass culture. As the city has been the protagonist of growth of mass society and mass culture of consumerism, it could also happen that the city may see the birth of a new and fairer society. Indeed, change should begin from here, from the set of organizations and citizens, in creating different rituals and use of the spaces.

Image by Starkart

Image by Starkart


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. Richard Nice. Harvard University Press.
Corrigan, Peter. 1997. The Sociology of Consumption: An Introduction. London: Sage.
Florida, Richard. 2002. The Rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic Books.
Grazian, David. 2010. Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
Jayne, Mark. 2006. Cities and Consumption. New York: Routledge.
Landry, Charles. 2000. The creative city. New York: Routledge.
Mead, Margaret; World Federation for Mental Health. 1953. Cultural patterns and technical change. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Miller, Daniel. 1998. “Coca Cola: A Sweet Black Drink from Trinidad.” Pp. 169-187 in Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter, edited by D. Miller. London: UCL Press.
Mukerji, Chandra.1983. From Graven Images: Patterns of Modern Materialism New York: Columbia University Press.
Park, Robert. 1916. “The city: suggestions for the investigation of human behavior in the urban environment” Pp. 90 -130 in Classic Essay on the Culture of Cities. New York. 1969, edited by R. Sennett. New York Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Weber, Max. 1958. “The City.” Pp. 23-46 in Classic Essay on the Culture of Cities. New York. 1969, edited by R. Sennett. New York Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Wilk, Richard. 2002. “Culture and Energy Consumption” Pp. 109-130, in Energy: Science, Policy and the Pursuit of Sustainability, edited by Robert Bent, Lloyd Orr, and Randall Baker. Island Press: Washington.
Veblen, Thorstein. 1899 [1973]. The Theory of the Leisure Class. Introduction John Kenneth Galbraith. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

This is a guest article by Simona Ibba (@PenniLeyn). Thanks, Simona!

If you want to get your own article published, see this.

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Hoy arranca #BAT_2013 | Espacios híbridos para la innovación urbana

Category : eventos + urbanismo + ⚐ ES

Hoy está arrancando el evento BAT 2013  “Espacios híbridos para la innovación urbana: Arquitectura, arte y urbanismo” en Bilbao, y estará en marcha hasta el sábado 23.

BAT 2013

BAT es un proyecto cultural promovido por Zaramari que pretende explorar las posibilidades de aprendizajes múltiples que ofrece la ciudad para la formación de una ciudadanía participe en la transformación de su entorno. Este año BAT se centra en el incipiente uso de las nuevas tecnologías digitales de comunicación y su influencia en la forma en la que nos relacionamos con el espacio físico. A través de las actividades de su programación (workshops, conferencias, debates, cine-forum…) promueve una participación activa y espacios de comunicación y creación que transcurren simultáneamente en el entorno físico y en la red, abriendo la posibilidad de poner en relación a ciudadanos, arquitectos, urbanistas, diseñadores, agentes del desarrollo comunitario y activadores urbanos para cruzar ideas y miradas con el objetivo de buscar de forma conjunta herramientas y proyectos que traten de contribuir a la (re)construcción de territorios más habitables.


Podéis ver aquí el vídeo de presentación. Para los que no tengáis la suerte de estar allí, aquí os dejamos varios canales (que ya están ahora mismo “echando humo”) por los que podéis seguir el evento:

Podéis seguir la cuenta oficial de Twitter: @BAT_info
Buscar el hashtag en las redes sociales: #BAT_2013
Seguir la página de Facebook:
Podréis seguir la jornada del día 23 en streaming a través del canal ThinkCities
El programa y otros datos están disponibles en la web oficial:


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Un entorno de aprendizaje sin límites definidos

Category : arquitectura + educación + EntornoEducativo + ⚐ ES


Dibujo original: Jaime Eizaguirre

En este nuevo post  del tema EntornoEducativo les propongo desarrollar la idea de borrosidad, que para mí suponen los futuros espacios de aprendizaje. Con esto intentaré entender qué distancias físicas, mentales y digitales que habitualmente asocia(re)mos a estos espacios y, sobre todo, en qué momento el que aprende se “desconecta” de ese entorno.

Vivimos en una época invadida por soportes de transmisión y de visualización de la información que nos alejan desde jóvenes de los espacios que tradicionalmente la distribuyen y permiten su apropiación: bibliotecas, escuelas… Ya sabemos que el estar presente en clase no significa estar atento. Más aún cuando se tiene en el bolsillo un smartphone que vibra al ritmo de las notificaciones que indican lo que uno se está perdiendo fuera. Con este ejemplo notamos lo absurdo que es el oponer el proceso ultra-local de aprendizaje y el mundo exterior. Vivimos en una sociedad en la que nuestra atención está captada de manera permanente.  No creo que se pueda imponer la separación de uno u otro ámbito, y por esto me interesa la idea de un entorno con limites borrosos: fronteras que no se distinguen con claridad. Un espacio en el que los elementos próximos (olores, texturas, imágenes…) estén relacionados con un reto global.


Campo de cebada, Madrid

El colegio, la universidad y la escuela (aunque ésta menos), tienen que actuar en calidad de filtros emancipadores que mantengan una relación permanente con los sistemas sociales, culturales, económicos, filosóficos y políticos que componen la complejidad de una localidad. Uno de los errores aún cometidos por muchos sistemas escolares es el disociar ocio y aprendizaje, un problema profundo. Si tratamos de referirnos a la etimología de la palabra escuela descubriremos una de las claves de la paradoja; Skholè, palabra griega, tiene el sentido general de una suspensión temporal. Se disocia aquel término de ocupaciones relacionadas con la subsistencia o el cotidiano. Tiene más que ver con la dignidad de la existencia que se caracterizaba por el control de uno sobre el tiempo. Así, aquel tiempo se podía consagrar al ocio (juego, gimnasia, teatro, arte, política…) que supone y ocasiona una cierta libertad. El estudio traduce perfectamente lo que implica la skholè : un tiempo libremente suspendido por una actividad cuya práctica eleva y ennoblece al que se consagra.

Efectivamente, en el proceso de aprendizaje esta idea de “tiempo libremente suspendido” me parece esencial. Los nativos digitales  enriquecen el campo de sus conocimientos contribuyendo en línea sobre temas que les interesan y compartiendo contenidos hiper-enlazados (música, videos, artículos, creación colaborativa…). Este funcionamiento basado en la curiosidad de cada uno es precisamente el que hace falta en muchos establecimientos escolares. Mientras tanto, se están democratizando algunas formas de aprender según estos preceptos: los MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) son un ejemplo.

Algunos ven en el interés económico que suscita esta alternativa el peligro de un regreso al acceso pasivo a los conocimientos. Así, los inversores y promotores de las marcas universitarias mundiales podrían usar de un modo de difusión masivo para crear contenidos estandardizados que borren las particularidades locales. Pero otros tienen el optimismo de pensar que analizando los comportamientos de navegación a través de los datos digitales, los MOOC podrían proponer contenidos, ritmos y correcciones cada vez más personalizadas.


Minerva University’s website

Hace unos días leí un articulo titulado La #educación tendrá pronto su premio Nobel y descubrí el Minerva Project, “Una experiencia universitaria reinventada para los estudiantes más brillantes, más motivados en el Mundo”. La idea es intrigante: Una universidad de prestigio (Ivy League) en que todos los cursos se llevarían a cabo en línea para permitir a los estudiantes tener un seguido personalizado. La primera promoción contará entre 200 y 300 estudiantes que vivirán juntos en espacios dedicados (que no son campus clásicos), pero cambiando regularmente de ciudad y de país durante los cuatro años que dura la carrera. San Francisco, Beijing, Sao Paulo y París ya se mencionan. Y además de “ofrecer la mejor educación posible” como lo hace hoy Harvard, el responsable de este inmenso proyecto, Ben Nelson, nos asegura que el precio de la carrera en Minerva University costará la mitad de lo habitual en universidades de prestigio.

Esta experiencia transforma totalmente la relación física que mantenemos con el entorno educativo. En su libro titulado “Le Néo-normadisme – Mobilités, partages, transformations identitaires et urbaines.”, Yasmine Abbas, arquitecta francesa, titular de un master al MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) y de un doctorado en la Harvard University Graduate School of Design, nos explica como el hecho de ser un neo-nomada influye sobre la concepción, la producción y la utilización de espacios hasta entonces presentes en la mente colectiva, afirmando que

“la movilidad digital confunde las definiciones espaciales”.

Una idea que comparto y que me conduce a imaginar entornos escolares con límites físicos borrosos. En el contexto actual, no tiene sentido considerar el circuito académico como el centro de una emancipación intelectual generalizada. En los espacios domésticos, en los espacios de ocio, en la calle, en los “espacios digitales” almacenamos informaciones que permanecen en nuestra mente por haber sidas adquiridas en momentos activos. En tales casos, nos damos cuenta de que el individuo es dueño de su tiempo, de su postura física, del orden de sus actividades y de las personas con quienes actúa. Así es que pienso que un entorno de aprendizaje eficaz sería un entorno que nos permitiese ser activos de distintas formas. De alguna manera, las oficinas de las empresas de Silicon Valley ya lo hacen desde hace unos cuantos años y exportan el modelo en otros países. Las más grandes de ellas proponen a sus empleados disfrutar de mini-pueblos que agrupan servicios, ambientes diversos y todo factor susceptible de fomentar la creatividad y de mantener las mentes relajadas. Podemos decir que el contexto de libre albedrío de estos empleados está diseñado.


Frank Gehry y Mark Zuckerberg ante la maqueta de las nuevas oficinas de Facebook.
Fotografía: Everett Katigbak, Facebook

Pero entre diseñar una experiencia y condicionarla hay un solo paso. También pienso que hay que invertir la tendencia social que sujeta la identidad de un individuo a su recorrido académico. Desde el nombre del establecimiento, al origen de una caracterización socio-económica, hasta su implantación territorial, pasando por sus especificidades prácticas (campos de estudio, pedagogía…), todo tendría que ser flexible para el que esté dispuesto a definir sus ámbitos personales. Adaptar, modificar, crear nuevos caminos con una base común es precisamente lo que defiende la filosofía hacker. Y de la misma manera en que se desarrollan micro-modelos económicos según procesos de contribución derivados de la cultura digital, los espacios de aprendizaje podrían fomentar un uso alternativo de las tecnologías; más creativo, menos costoso, menos alienante y que provoque movilidad física. Pienso que esta sería una forma de curar lo que el Dr. Manfred Spitzer llama una demencia digital, sin suprimir las ventajas sociales de una semántica digital justa.


FabSchool by Waag Society

Algunos como Ivan Illich ya sugirieron salir de los sistemas escolares, llegando a comparar edificios escolares con cárceles. Otros como Jean Piaget eran partidarios de terminar con la figura del profesor conferenciante y privilegiar métodos educativos activos, como la investigación interdisciplinaria, que fomentan la invención. Pienso que hoy podemos sintetizar colectiva y localmente estas ideas “radicales” para reparar, rehabilitar, los edificios escolares existentes. Se trataría de diseñar porosidades físicas entre actividades internas y externas ya que las actividades mentales y digitales viajan y se conectan de manera permanente. Y más que aumentar superficialmente las capacidades tecnológicas de los entornos austeros que conocemos, empezaría borrando lo que se pueda para que entre un aire nuevo en los pulmones de la comunidad escolar.

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#smartcitizensCC, inteligencia ciudadana y cultura abierta | Liberando una exposición

Category : cultura abierta + eventos + ⚐ ES

Imagen via Paisaje Transversal

Imagen via Paisaje Transversal

De la exposición Smartcitizens…

El pasado abril se inauguraba la muestra interactiva Smartcitizens, comisariada por Paisaje Transversal, que puede visitarse hasta el 3 de noviembre en el Centro Centro Cibeles de Cultura y Ciudadanía de Madrid. La exposición, frente a la extendida concepción de las smart cities como ciudades tecnificadas y automatizadas, presenta cincuenta y tres proyectos que hablan de la smart city o ciudad inteligente como aquella que favorece la activación y conexión en red de sus ciudadanos, animándoles a convertirse en smart citizens y tomar parte activa de la ciudad.

Un enfoque con el que en Ecosistema Urbano nos sentimos completamente identificados, y en mi opinión también tiene sentido a otras escalas como la edificación, donde lo smart, de la mano de la domótica, también es tendencia. ¿Queremos objetos/edificios/ciudades inteligentes que con su automatización desconecten al habitante de sus principios de funcionamiento, o habitantes inteligentes capaces de operar sistemas accesibles, sensibles y transparentes?

La exposición  gira en torno a las siguientes premisas: ¿Qué es la inteligencia ciudadana?¿Qué es una práctica ciudadana inteligente? Asociada a estas preguntas se establecen varias estrategias expositivas como una campaña en Twitter, elaboración de cartografías o dinamización a través de talleres. Este proyecto se completa con una serie de herramientas elaboradas por el Centro Nacional de Tecnologías para la Accesibilidad (CENTAC), que están trabajando en una aplicación para dispositivos móviles que se convertirá en un auténtico observatorio ciudadano de prácticas urbanas. Por otro lado, el colectivo de artistas visuales lacasinegra desarrollará su particular visión smart a través de obras en vídeo y fotografías.

[..] Al situar al ciudadano en el centro de la exposición, el visitante entenderá su condición inherente de smartcitizen por pertenecer a la sociedad de la información y habitar en una ciudad como Madrid en la que las TIC y el flujo de datos están continuamente presentes, permitiendo conectar a los ciudadanos, compartir información y generar red.

Entre los proyectos incluidos está Whatif, una herramienta digital (online y móvil) abierta cuyo desarrollo venimos coordinando e impulsando desde Ecosistema Urbano durante los últimos tres años, y que fue concebida para complementar procesos de participación ciudadana y creatividad colectiva, ayudando a recoger y visualizar aportaciones de diversos tipos.

Podéis leer más sobre Smartcitizens en el post Exposición sobre la inteligencia ciudadana en el CentroCentro y por supuesto, ¡visitarla!

… a la experiencia abierta #SmartCitizensCC

Más allá de la parte expositiva, Smartcitizens se plantea como una herramienta de comunicación y como un catalizador de conexiones. Para ello, llevando la idea de apertura, remezcla, conocimiento abierto y reapropiación local al propio formato comunicativo, Paisaje Transversal, en colaboración con Bernardo Gutiérrez, decidió liberar los contenidos de la exposición para que ésta pudiera ser copiada, adaptada, ampliada y reconstruida en otros lugares por cualquier persona. La exposición —material, vídeos, tríptico, galería de imágenes — está a disposición con licencias libres en un microsite:

#SmartcitizensCC - Exposición abierta, clic para ir a la página

#SmartcitizensCC – Exposición abierta, clic para ir a la página

Como escribía Bernardo Gutiérrez en el post #SmartCitizensCC: Inteligencia colectiva para reinventar la sociedad, este proceso de apertura y reformulación de la exposición tiene varios desafíos.

El primer desafío de cualquier exposición en la era red es convertirse en un proceso. Por todo ello, para ir más allá de una exposición, estamos creando perfiles en redes sociales que no serán apenas para hablar de la exposición, sino para conversar, intercambiar métodos, procesos, agenda. Serán perfiles de lo común, en el que la interacción prevalecerá sobre la difusión.
El segundo desafío de una exposición es transformase en una muestra expandida. El espacio expositivo se queda pequeño, limita el contenido de la misma. Distribuir el contenido expositivo por el barrio, ciudad y mundo sigue siendo un reto. El primer paso, pues, es liberar el contenido de Smartcitizens, que ya es una muestra libre, con licencia copyleft. El Do It Your Self (DIY, hazlo tú mismo) o Do It With Others (DIWO, hazlo con otros) pasarán a ser el sistema nervioso de lo que ocurra a partir de ahora con #SmartCitizensCC. Cualquier persona podrá replicar la muestra o parte de ella. Cualquiera podrá incorporar elementos locales. Será una muestra glocal, infinita y mutante.
El tercer desafío es que la muestra no se convierta en una marca y sí en una plataforma de diálogo. El mejor branding pasa a ser el cultivar diálogos, incentivar vínculos y conectar pares. El intercambio de experiencias, métodos, protocolos, se convierte en la moneda social del proceso.
El cuarto desafío es transformar la muestra en un laboratorio itinerante. Que el conocimiento, prototipos y bagajes de las redes y colectivos participantes en Smartcitizens se conviertan en un hub urbano flexible, itinerante, replicable. Generar espacios de reflexión-acción en el territorio, zonas autónomas temporales de intercambio de conocimiento. Un laboratorio post-it que genere intervenciones en las ciudades.
El quinto desafío es construir un imaginario de «inteligencia ciudadana» para contraponer al concepto smart city fabricado por el mercado y que transforma las urbes en algo previsible en manos de las compañías multinacionales. #SmartCitizensCC no es un hashtag. Es ágora, es máquina de relatos, es fábrica de nuevos mundos.
Desafíos incluidos, este giro del proyecto me parece muy acertado; es una clara y coherente apuesta por la cultura abierta y permite explorar más allá de los formatos habituales.

Otro desafío más

Con todo, una de las cosas que he aprendido desde que empecé a interesarme en serio por la cultura abierta es que aplicar a algo una licencia Creative Commons no lo convierte necesariamente en algo open source, de fuente abierta. Para que algo lo sea, debemos plantearnos cuál es realmente la “fuente” que tenemos que abrir para facilitar al máximo las tres libertades fundamentales (que me perdone la Free software foundation, que para el caso del software libre define cuatro) en las que se apoya la cultura abierta: libertad de uso, libertad de modificación y libertad de distribución.

De modo que me atrevería a añadir un desafío más, que panteo en forma de preguntas:

¿Cuál es la “fuente” de una exposición? ¿Es igual de abierto permitir la copia y remezcla de una serie de archivos en PDF que proporcionar los archivos fuente editables? ¿Es lo mismo hacerlo a descarga que sobre una plataforma colaborativa que pueda incorporar aportaciones externas? ¿En qué formato habría que liberarlos para favorecer su manipulación? ¿No entrarían aquí con toda su relevancia el software libre y los formatos abiertos?

Estas cuestiones, cuya respuesta intuyo pero que habría que ver sobre la práctica, son en realidad muy similares a las que se me plantean ante iniciativas como el Air Tree Commons y otros muchos proyectos de diseño abierto. Queda mucho por intentar y por resolver, y eso es precisamente lo que hace tan apasionante el proceso de incorporación de los principios de la cultura abierta a nuestro trabajo.

Microsite de la exposición Smartcitizens con los materiales para descargar:

Perfiles sociales de #SmartCitizensCC:

Puedes seguir la conversación buscando el hashtag #SmartCitizensCC en tu red social favorita.
Fe de erratas: Donde decía incorrectamente Ricardo Gutiérrez, ahora pone Bernardo Gutiérrez.

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¿Dónde se encuentran las políticas y la participación? | Impresiones de la Universidad de Verano #URBACT2013

Category : urbact + ⚐ ES

Allium podría ser una de las ciudades invisibles que imaginaba Italo Calvino, si no fuera porque aunque igualmente ficticia, ni sus calles, ni sus edificios ni sus habitantes tienen nada de extraordinario. Más bien al contrario: Allium viene a ser el retrato robot de una ciudad europea cualquiera, y se nos presenta definida por sus datos, sus desafíos pendientes y algo de carácter propio.
Allium, retrato robot de una ciudad europea - Skyline silhouettes via Shutterstock

Allium, retrato robot de una ciudad europea – Skyline silhouettes via Shutterstock

Y es que Allium fue en parte el enunciado y a la vez el material de trabajo de los asistentes a la Universidad de Verano de URBACT que, aunque tuviera lugar en una ciudad con mucha tradición literaria, no tuvo nada que ver con la literatura y sí con las políticas integradas, la gestión urbana sostenible y la participación.

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Planning for protest | Time to get the book and visit the exhibition!

Category : news + publications + ⚐ EN

Planning for Protest

A volley of protests have taken place throughout the world since 2008, the symbolic catalyst being the financial crisis triggered by the collapse of the multinational banking systems. We are now in an era of particularly well thought-out and networked mass movements that through the convenience of a digital news cycle can be followed more closely than ever before. Planning for Protest takes an closer look at how public spaces shape both the physical and psychological backdrop of these public events.

12 architectural offices in 12 cities across the globe have examined the role of architecture in shaping, defining, or limiting the flow of protest within their respective cities. Each contributor rendered eight drawings exploring a proposal for their city, focused on a specific intervention or urban planning scale. Varying from historical studies to proposals for a radical reshaping of space for public discourse, Planning for Protest is an ongoing documentation of how the physical world around us both limits and can be transcended by the people at any given time.


Planning for Protest takes shape as an publication and exhibition. The opening event and publication launch of this Associated Project of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale will be on September 14 at 17:00. There will be a guided visit on September 15 at 12:00. The exhibition runs from September 12—December 15, 2013.

The publication is designed by Project Projects and will be available at the opening. It consists of a portable version of the exhibition and features essays by Daniel Oliveira and Pedro Levi Bismarck.

Interested? It is currently open to purchase and support through a crowdfunding campaign. By purchasing the publication you will be supporting Planning for Protest: all proceeds will be used for funding the public program. If you will not be in Lisbon next week, you can order a copy and support the project on the Indiegogo page until next Sunday, September 15.

Organized by Ben Allen, James Bae, Ricardo Gomes (KWY), Shannon Harvey (Public Address) and Adam Michaels (Project Projects), Planning for Protest is an ongoing documentation of how the physical world around us both limits and can be transcended by the people at any given time. Download the press release here.

Participants: Antonas Office (Athens), Studio Miessen (Berlin), studioBASAR (Bucharest), CLUSTER (Cairo), Culturstruction (Dublin), SUPERPOOL (Istanbul), ateliermob (Lisbon), public works with Isaac Marrero-Guillamón (London), Ecosistema Urbano (Madrid), Srdjan Jovanović Weiss / NAO (New York), PioveneFabi with 2A+P/A (Rome) and Vapor 324 (São Paulo).

Location of the exhibition: Rua dos Douradores 220, Praça da Figueira, Lisbon, Portugal

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Claudio Marras | eu collaborators

Category : colaboradores + ecosistema urbano + ⚐ EN

Today we introduce Claudio Marras, a young architect who is doing an internship with us, taking part in various aspects of our work… and also bringing a great Italian touch to our lunchbreak! Let him tell us a couple of things about himself:

A young dreamer architect.

Passion, Curiosity and Perseverance: I want to travel, I want to see, I want to know.

Architect evolution

Architect evolution

Hello everybody, I am Claudio Marras a 30 years old italian architect come from Sardinia, Italy. I will try to synthesize my life with 3 simple keywords.

Passione (passion)

From from child to young adult

Once upon a time

A life lived wrapped by passion. Food, travel, sport, people, ART… Born in a creative and art-loving family, I was easily able to discover and explore different worlds. Living in a island I had, from the beginning, the pleasure (and necessity) to go abroad.
I lived in Croatia, Usa, Spain and Germany and I traveled throughout most of Europe.

Curiositá (curiosity)

From external world to myself

From Praha with love

From Praha with love

Each place/person could teach you something. It’s up to you understand the way to acquire knowledge from it. Every place can be different for everyone, it’s the culture and meaning behind it that matters and makes it special and unique for every one. It is not only the place, it is also the experience.

As an architect I have to design the space in relation with local dynamics and needs, trying to involve those who will use that space into the process.

Determinazione (perseverance)

From Valencia to Punto d’Incontro

Different forms of urban attraction. The Turia’s park of Valencia for a cultural conversion of spare time

Different forms of urban attraction.
The Turia’s park of Valencia for a cultural conversion of spare time

Social Architect

My architecture thesis project (2007) was the synthesis of my mindset and my professional way of seeing urbanism and architecture: bottom up architecture, social approach, participatory process. The project’s AIM was to find a social and cultural way to convert the spare time of the people. The idea was to give to everyone the opportunity to know and exchange skills and competencies in a public space coordinated by the Time-based currency system. The project was studied for the river park of Valencia, Spain.

Starting from these theoretical input, I’m developing it in a practical way trough Punto d’incontro (Meeting point) project. It is a box that contains active and creative groups or people who work for the re-appropriation of public space through a participatory process. Artists, professionals, and experts interact with the local population to involve people in a urban renewal.




Bachelor Degree of Territorial, Urban and Environmental Planning in 2005.
Master Degree on Architecture in 2007.
Freelance architect from 2009 with a Certificate of Site Safety Coordinators (2012).

Currently a Post-Master student of Urban Research Lab Sardinia – Environmental Design in the University of Sassari (Sardinia) in partnership with Dessau Institute of Architecture (DIA) of Anhalt University of Applied Sciences where I spend the first part of the Master (5 moths).

more information on LinkedIn profile

In times like these, escape is the only way to stay alive and keep dreaming.

In times like these, escape is the only way to stay alive and keep dreaming.

In tempi come questi la fuga è l’unico mezzo per mantenersi vivi e continuare a sognare.

In times like these, escape is the only way to stay alive and keep dreaming.

Henry Laborit, from the italian movie: Mediterraneo

Here is a short summary about Claudio:

cla 2Occupation: Freelance Architect
Interests: urbanism, architecture, design, social, community
City/country: Sassari, Italy
Web: Punto d’Incontro
Online profiles: Facebook, LinkedIn

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Antonella Marlene Milano | eu collaborators

Category : colaboradores + ⚐ EN

Today we introduce Antonella, an Italian architect who is doing an internship with us, being involved in our latest projects and in our ongoing search for new opportunities. Thank you, Antonella!

foto 1a

Photo by Emilio P. Doiztúa

I’m a dynamic, multicolored architect. After various training experiences as Erasmus student at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris Belleville and as intern at KHBT / OSA – Office for Subversive Architecture in Berlin – I graduated in summer 2012 in architecture at Politecnico di Bari. In january I came to Ecosistema Urbano via the Leonardo da Vinci program and I immediately felt at ease in this creative and stimulating environment.

During these months I had the chance to work on many projects and to deal with several topics related with the architecture and beyond. For example, it was a very exciting experience working on Marielyst strand competition, a concrete example to prove how it’s possible to make a project using fun as building material. Moreover during my stay I’ve improved my ability to manage a project at different stages collaborating in network and I’ve learned to involve technology as a tool to support social connectivity.

This experience at Ecosistema Urbano is also a stimulating way to be in contact with topics that I find very interesting since long time, as public spaces, placemaking and participatory processes. In past years I had the opportunity to explore directly these issues and to carry out actions of urban regeneration during the LABCittá events -a series of activities undertaken by cultural association MettiamoSuBottega, in which I take part.

foto 2b

Occupation: Architect
Interests: Architecture, Art, Photography, Hand made
City/country: Bari, IT
Social profiles: facebook , tumblr

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MetaMap | [im]possible living, rethinking the abandoned world

Category : city + internet + Intervista + MetaMap + new technologies + urbanism + ⚐ EN

[im]possible living is a crowd-sourcing website dedicated to mapping and reactivating abandoned buildings around the world.

[im]possible living wants to be an enabler and a catalyst of the energies available in every place in the world that are not able to get through and give birth due to the abandonment market and, in general, to a new housing development model. It’s a very ambitious goal, but we truly believe in it and are investing everything in this dream!

I interviewed the two founders, Daniela Galvani and Andrea Sesta, about the project.

[im]possible living

1. How did you get to the practice of mapping? 

[im]possible living is born from our personal interest in abandoned buildings. At the time we understood that many individuals and associations were spreading energies to map the abandoned buildings in their area, but everyone was doing their own maps, thus losing the possibility of sharing results, experiences, and the best possible practices.

So we decided to create a global map of abandoned buildings via a web platform, where everyone could participate and contribute to a common goal and benefit from the experiences of other people.
Since the beginning of the project we have gone far beyond mapping tools. With the last release of our site, people can now reactivate an abandoned building and involve the community in the design concept for the new life of the building.

2. How is the users’ contribution managed? How does the platform work?

The website consists of a service through which users can surf and see the abandoned buildings that have been mapped around the world, which also shows their profile, containing a general description and some detailed information about the building (year of construction, years of abandonment, square meters, number of floors, etc.) To explore the mapped buildings click here.

The real heart of the service, however, is the reporting and collaboration features, through which users can upload new abandoned buildings and enrich existing records by adding photos and videos. If you would like to begin a map click here.

Users can also use a mobile app for the iPhone to instantly map abandoned buildings. Once launched, the application allows you to choose a photo from the Pictures archive, add essential information and automatically provide the geographic data associated with the location (street, city, etc.), allowing the user to change any incorrect information.

The last new part, which has launched recently, allows users to start a reactivation process. Once an abandoned building is mapped, a user can decide to become the reactivator of the place and [im]possible living provides him/her with a suit of services that helps collect the needs of the area, ideas for the future of the building, and in general, create a community that supports the reactivator in designing a concept for the new life of the building. The platform also tries to connect different kinds of users, everyone possibly involved in the renovation process: citizens, entrepreneurs, professionals, artists, real estate developers, etc.

[im]possible living map

[im]possible living map

These services are now online and we already have some projects running that you can contribute to or simply surf to get an idea:

Padiglione Conolly by RETESPAZZI
Sottopassaggio pedonale di Porta Vescovo by AGILE
Edificio 3 by workinco
Residenza by LANGYX
Ex Casa albergo per anziani by SIMONACOLUCCI
Ex-macello comunale by ASSBUENAONDA
Ex-Ospedale San Giacomo by ASSBUENAONDA
Masseria O’ Sentino by INDIEVIDUI
Stabile di uffici abbandonato by DANYGALVANI
Palazzo Cosentini by CARLONATOLI

3. What is the process you wanted to start with your work? What is the social aim you wanted to reach with your work?

In the last years we have witnessed the constant investment in new construction, leaving behind millions of old abandoned buildings. This process has led to the phenomenon of land consumption in most of the world, but the recent economic crisis stressed the problem even more, condemning the new constructions to remain vacant.

The solution to this problem is taking an altogether new approach: abandoned buildings are not liabilities but assets from which we should take the most possible advantage. [im]possible living tries to promote this new sustainability approach. Instead of building new structures over and over again, we can utilize what already exists. Having abandoned buildings in your city or in your neighborhoods is not only a waste, but it also means trouble, that, in a long term perspective, becomes costly for the public sector.

We are creating a platform available to all, which consists of the most complete database of abandoned buildings in the world. It is a virtual place that everyone can use and all can be shared and discussed, and where citizens can actually have an influence in shaping the future of the place they live in.

Many times the interests of construction companies, or even publicadministrations, are not consistent with the local environment of the area itself. This missing link between those sides can be discussed through the [im]possible living platform, in order to build mutual benefits for both sides. Through the website, entire communities can share their needs and ideas, and this could lead to a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Nowadays, real estate projects are handled behind closed doors and the problem is that often the local population is not involved in the design process. This implies, on the one hand, a mismatch between the purpose of the construction project and the real needs of the urban and social settlement. On the other hand, it takes additional time to complete due to the resistance from local communities, which often brings in legal involvement.

Our aim is to create a more efficient process to reuse abandoned structures, with a benefit for local communities that will be able to affect or even contribute projects on the online platform. A benefit for the public and private investors that would receive important inputs or even entire concepts developed by teams of reactivators and a benefit for the reactivator teams that would pursue their own projects with all the technological, professional, and financial support to fully accomplish their goal.

4. What is the next phase of development that your research will undergo?

We released the reactivation services a few months ago, so now our aim is to expand the community as much as possible and start as many reactivation projects as possible. This is very connected to making the available services better, making the actions easier, making the contributions from the community as simple as possible, and adding new features that can increase the sharing activity on the site.

Furthermore, we want to investigate the real bottleneck of reactivation processes: getting the project funded! In fact, the real problem when you talk about abandoned buildings is that, even with low-cost interventions, using them involves pricey investments. So our question is: How do we ease the investment process? How can we push for better projects and actually bring them to life? It’s complicated research, but it’s definitely what we want to focus on during the next year.

5. What are you personal references for the theme of mapping (from ancient to contemporary ones)?

Our point of view is very connected to recent technologies, in particular, web technologies. We consider the birth of web 2.0 and web 3.0 the beginning of a new era: the shift from static contents to dynamic ones, but more importantly, the participation and involvement of people in crowd projects, tools created for geo-localization, augmented reality, and much more.

This had a dramatic impact on the theme of mapping: for the first time in history, people from around the world could contribute to global mapping projects seamlessly, using services like Google Maps, Open Street Map, Wikimapia, History Pin, Ushaidi, Foursquare, and thousands of other services that are enabling users to map things in the world and share the information globally.

This process is generating a huge amount of data that, in most cases, is openly available to everyone via API systems (in computer science, an API is a way to access private databases, retrieve information, and build a new service using one or many different external data sources) For example, today I can use Google Maps API to obtain geographical information and then use Wikipedia to map monuments and historical places.

The potential of this revolution is very immense and has already started to affect our society in a significant way, but we still can’t entirely understand all the possibilities that will be generated in the upcoming decades.

Site: [im]possibleliving
If you would like to know more, visit their BlogFacebook and Twitter, or read their FAQ

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MetaMap | MyBlockNYC, interview with Alex Kalman

Category : city + Intervista + MetaMap + video + ⚐ EN

Today we present a New York based video mapping project, MyBlockNYC. They define their project as: is an interactive video mapping website that captures and presents personal video accounts of life and culture in New York City in order to create an intimate, evolving, and complete portrait of the great city. Users upload videos geographically, creating the first fully interactive video map of New York City.

The MyBlock Assignment is:

Share the moments you see on the wild streets of New York City. You can upload videos you already have on your cell phone and computer, or explore the city and capture what you see. Each video should be shot outdoors and take place on a single block.

I interviewed Alex Kalman, founder of the platform.

Here’s a few examples of videos on the platform:

The Holland Tunnel

Grandma Tracy breakdancing at Mad Decent block party

Jimmy Justice

This is the second post in the MetaMap series about mapping. You can follow the conversation on Twitter, Google+, Diaspora, or Facebook through the #metamap hashtag.

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MetaMap | Urban Sensing by Accurat

Category : city + internet + Intervista + MetaMap + new technologies + urbanism + ⚐ EN

Accurat is an information design agency based in Milan and New York, founded by Giorgia Lupi, Simone Quadri and Gabriele Rossi in 2011.

They define their work as the following:

We envision and identify new ways to structure information, revealing and addressing latent needs, desires and opportunities. Basing our methods on the design thinking approach, we specialize in providing our clients with consultancies, services, and products related to information design. Focusing on how information is transforming networks, cultures, contexts, and behaviors is an attempt to understand the future, a demonstration that it can be intercepted and designed.

I interviewed them about Big Data base maps and about their ongoing work in mapping: Urban Sensing.

Experiment of Tweet mapping in Milan during design week


1. How did you get to the practice of mapping? 

To us, mapping could be seen in a broader context as “structuring information”.

To start off, it’s not needed to say that information related issues are at the core of any design project that deal with cities, public services, society, and behaviors regardless of scale. Particularly, we have always been interested in urban related projects that deeply rely on information: contexts, analyzing data, designing analytical tools, and visual narratives that provide awareness and comprehension of changing urban dynamics.

In our past entrepreneurial experiences, at Interactiondesign-Lab, we experimented working between the intersection of information systems and urban dynamics within the design of the Plan of Services for the Municipality of Milan (developed between 2009 and 2010). We designed a plan not to be intended as a product or document, since it was developed as a continuous process of listening, monitoring, reporting, and crossing the needs and the offers in terms of services of the city.

We designed 2 tools at 2 different scales, the macro scale of the city and the micro scale of the neighborhood. These tools don’t define what services we plan to have, but they give directions on how to cross the demand and the possible answer in terms of services in a meaningful way. It was, in fact, an information design project.

2. In what way do you obtain and treat the data for your mapping?

A big mapping project we are currently working on and coordinating at Accurat is ✳UrbanSensing.

The ✳UrbanSensing project is a EU funded project which aims to design and develop a platform for extracting patterns of use and citizens’ concerns with city spaces, through robust analysis of User Generated Content (UGC) shared by city users over social networks and digital media. The platform will allow the user to analyze citizen’s perceptions related to specific geographic areas and understand how population reacts to new urban policies within participatory mechanisms.

Novel digital and telecommunication technologies can be deployed to integrate data-sharing platforms within the spatial dynamics of the city. If properly analyzed, geo-tagged and User Generated Content (UGC) coming from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, or Flickr can be useful in the creation of meaningful, real time indicators of people’s perceived and communicated urban experiences. Through natural language and network analysis, it is possible to identify the nested micro-narratives that shape the behavioral and semantic background of a place and to extract specific urban indicators.

Our assumption is that by conducting an analysis of datasets based on text extracted from UGC we can recognize multiple stories, as they emerge, overlap and influence each other, unfolding from city users’ mental representations and spatial experiences of city spaces. In fact, by providing tangible, visible references, the spaces of actual buildings and cities participate in constructing the meaning of the speech that articulates itself within them and as conversations unfold within particular architectural settings, they build up increasingly dense webs of shared understanding grounded -at least in part- on the points of reference that these settings afford.

Thus, within ✳UrbanSensing we are mainly gathering and analyzing geo-localized social media data (Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, and Flickr); and such data will be properly integrated and compared with more traditional sources of urban information (socio-demographic territorial data, real-estate indicators, and environmental data) to produce dynamic and evolving images of the city as used and perceived by its’ citizens and temporary users.

3. What is the application of open source/social network-based mapping you are interested in the most?

If properly analyzed, integrated, and interpreted, Social Media data can help stakeholders at the urban scale to “forward-looking” innovation strategies based on a thorough analysis of people’s contexts, interests, and needs.

Among the possible urban topics this data could partially answer to, we will narrow them to the following particular issues:

  • Rapidly intercepting emerging urban dynamics, such as gentrification processes and precise areas’ evolution through time (for identifying trends in areas’ related phenomena, in the exact moments they’re originated, with the possibility to add more dynamic parameters to those used by the real estate market);
  • Understanding which are the factors (e.g. morphological aspect, aesthetic quality, public service availability and density, infrastructure granularity, cultural scene, and commercial service) that attract people in particular places (areas, neighborhoods), and how this evolves through time;
  • Understanding which kind of people (language / on-line influence / demographics) are in specific areas at particular moments;
  • Highlighting patterns of movement throughout  the city (from which places people in an area come from? where are they going? are they residents, visitors, or ordinary city users?);
  • Interrogating data about a particular topic (e.g. brand name, event name) or about a selected theme (e.g. cultural phenomena, cutting-edge topics) to see how things evolve spatially and temporarily.

All this, to provide a better understanding of an areas’ related phenomena and evolution, to redefine actual districts’ fixed boundaries and to see where public services, policy’s infrastructures, design interventions, or activities could be better located, and to try and build models to predict near-future evolution;

Experiment of Tweet mapping in New York


4. What is the next phase of development that your research is undergoing?

One of the forthcoming steps of our project is to gain a deeper understanding of:

  • How such data sources could be interpreted (in terms of sharing behaviors and motivations) to get actual and consistent insights;
  • Which are the real limits of such data in terms of research (e.g. demographic, digital divide, economic, location-related);
  • How to overlap and integrate such data sources with more traditional layers of territorial information (e.g. socio-demographic data, income data, rental costs, ethnic data, and environmental ones such as pollution and sanitary inspections, etc.) to finally display extreme high-resolution views and interpretations of territorial related dynamics.
  • How unexpected patterns and meaningful questions could emerge from data themselves. 

In fact, UGC differs from conventionally produced geographic information in several aspects. The source of the information, the technologies for acquiring it, the methods and techniques for working with it, and the social processes that mediate its creation and impact. Traditionally, geographic information has been produced by experts and institutions, therefore, certain types of information have been privileged and other types ignored, and even marginalized. UGC’s represent a powerful shift in sources, content, characteristics, modes of data production, mining, sharing, dissemination, and use. Therefore, a wide set of meaningful questions (that have been partly investigated for “conventional” geographical information) need now to be re-investigated, and a framework on how to use these information still has to be built.

In parallel, we are designing and developing the technological architecture and the actual interface allowing us (and lately, stakeholders) to perform specific queries and produce such dynamic maps in a very visual and intuitive way.

5.  What are you personal references for the theme of mapping (from ancient to contemporary ones)?

We would here focus on emerging critical practices that propose new models to describe the city that stresses the collaborative and constructionist dynamics of the mapping process.

The underlying idea of this approach considers the geographic, urban experience through a network of multiple fragmented temporary data and information generated by human-place interactions and collaborative dynamics. Based on these theoretical premises, several experimental GIS-based applications focusing on cartography emerging from users’ perceptions and activities have been produced.

As Zook & Graham noticed, traditional methods used to register users’ perceptions and activities about the cities and its fruition – like surveys and ethnographic reports – seem to be inadequate to meet the need of information of contemporary society both because they require a considerable amount of resources (in terms of time and money) and because they do not consider the temporal dimension.

Mapping projects based on UGC have been therefore conducted both by research institutions (e.g. CASA at University College London, SIDL Lab at Columbia University, Senseable City Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Urban Age at London School of Economics) and independent scholars and design firms (e.g. Christian Nold, Stamen Design) with the aim of creating new ways to observe and depict specific subjective and objective processes taking place in cities.

Senseable City Lab explored mapping systems based on UGC on several projects like World’s Eyes and Obama One People.

Current City, a European foundation committed to address long-standing city management problems in unconventional ways, explored the potential of urban mapping based on real-time data streams on users’ location coming from telco providers.

Christian Nold’s work focused on in-depth research of technological tools in order to unravel their social and political layers, and on building socially constructive, bottom-up devices, that take the form of practical tools such as in the Bio Mapping project.

Bio Mapping is a research project based on biometric sensors that can be worn by users provided with a GPS device able to trace their paths through the city, and that register specific parameters (e.g. emotional status in a specific place or situation) and publish them as user generated content on specific emotional maps. This project explores tools that allow people to selectively share and interpret their own bio data. Within this framework, Nold investigates how the perceptions of a community in an environment can change when they become aware of their own intimate emotional status.

Some other recent GIS projects focused on the idea of building open tool-kits that could be used by the community of students and practitioners of urban design, planning, and management. The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL created MapTube as a free resource for viewing, sharing, mixing, and mashing maps online and the NeISS project (National e-Infrastructure for Social Simulation) provides a platform to meet the demand for powerful simulation tools by social scientists and public and private sector policymakers. The tools enable researchers to create workflows to run their own simulations, visualize and analyse results, and publish them for future discovery, sharing, and re-use. This facilitates development and sharing of social simulation resources within the urban planners and social science community, encourages cooperation between model developers and researchers, and helps foster adoption of simulation as a research method and as a decision support tool in the public and private sectors. Design Tool is an application proposed by Predrag Šiđani, which has its starting point in Lynch’s propositions about city and urban form. Lynch’s theory of urban form and its hierarchical structure of main urban elements were applied, together with his concept of cognitive mapping, to a conceptual model of the Design Tool.

This is the second post in the MetaMap series about mapping. You can follow the conversation on Twitter, Google+, Diaspora, or Facebook through the #metamap hashtag.

credits: Giorgia Lupi and Gabriele Rossi (
acknowledgements: texts above are part of the UrbanSensing project
Design Week Tweets: Accurat with Marco Vettorello (data gathering) and Paolo Patelli (data processing and visualization)
Thanksgiving: Accurat with Marco Vettorello (data gathering and processing)

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REaction workshop in Paris : Diseño paramétrico y Smart Cities

Category : city + ciudad + diseño + eventos + events + new technologies + news + noticias + nuevas tecnologías + parametric + ⚐ EN + ⚐ ES

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Formación en planificación participativa para grupos de apoyo local | Crónica del seminario en Madrid

Category : eventos + sostenibilidad + urbact + urbanismo + ⚐ ES

Vista general de la sala - Foto: Emilio P. Doiztúa

Vista general de la sala – Foto: Emilio P. Doiztúa

La pasada semana asistimos en Madrid a las jornadas del Plan Nacional de Formación Urbact para Grupos de Apoyo Local que os presentábamos en un post anterior. Durante esos dos días (6 y 7 de junio) se trabajó en una atmósfera de trabajo creativa y con gran participación de los representantes de los proyectos que se desarrollan en España en el marco de la corriente convocatoria 2007-2013 de financiación con fondos europeos.

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Jornada Internacional INFANCIA Y ESPACIO PÚBLICO | Arte, educación y espacio urbano

Category : eventos + ⚐ ES

Infancia y espacio público: un diálogo entre arte, educación y espacio urbano

La relación de los niños con la ciudad (y viceversa), tan olvidada por lo general en su planeamiento y desarollo, es uno de los aspectos fundamentales a tener en cuenta en la búsqueda de la sostenibilidad y la calidad urbana, y un punto de vista en el que venimos pensando o trabajando desde hace tiempo. Por eso nos ha parecido especialmente interesantes estas jornadas que organizan los de Urbanitas:

“Infancia y espacio público” propone una serie de miradas y experiencias sobre escenarios concretos de la infancia en la ciudad.

Un encuentro de la práctica urbanística, la experiencia educativa y las prácticas artísticas como ejes vertebradores. Un foro de diálogo entre profesionales de Alemania, Francia, Dinamarca, Austria, Bélgica, Italia, España, Cataluña y Brasil.

Unas jornadas que se articulan desde la recepción de contenidos y desde la dinamización del conocimiento en mesas redondas y talleres. Talleres que nos invitan a circular por espacios de Barcelona, de ejercer una mirada etnográfica y lúdica sobre el entorno, de participar en una intervención en el espacio urbano de Ciutat Vella.

Os dejamos aquí el programa, que tiene muy buena pinta tanto por el interés de los temas tratados como por su variedad y la de los perfiles que participan:

Jornada Internacional INFANCIA Y ESPACIO PÚBLICO | Arte, educación y espacio urbano

Datos importantes:

6 y 7 de Julio, CosmoCaixa de Barcelona
Inscripciones del 16 de Mayo al 15 de Junio en
Para más información

Actualización: ¡Baja la cuota de inscripción!

60 euros (incluye dieta del día 6)
40 euros para estudiantes (incluye desayuno del día 6)
Enlace con precios y programa actualizados

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Hello Wood festival call for participation | Hungary, 15-21 July 2013

Category : events + news + ⚐ EN


Hello Wood is a multicultural and multidisciplinary art program. Their most well-known event is the one week creator camp held every summer, where recognized experts and artists share their knowledge with talented students.

All work produced is carrying two attributes: it’s mostly from wood and it’s characterized by an interplay of art and social commitment. Hello Wood integrates various fields of art, design and science; it creates community and encourages talent. It brings together students and professionals across borders, moreover connects everyday people with the designer community.

We are researching how could the bond amongst nature, our artificial environment and humans become tighter. With the tools of design and architecture we are looking for an answer to the question: How could we get at least a step closer?

Hello Wood will focus on designing and creating 8 wooden installations. Considering past experiences (everybody prefers to build) in 2013 they will not separate the workshops by profession.
Besides architects, experts from different fields of art are invited as well to apply. You can be an architect, painter, sculptor, landscape architect, graphic designer, musician, ninja etc. The application procedure offers an equal opportunity for everyone.

hellowood flyer

Here you can see some samples of previous projects: The snail, Tornado, The Egg (featured above), Landscape Box… You can see more examples at the oficcial website.

We leave you with a video of last year’s edition. It looks FUN!

More information:

Official website:
Photo gallery: Momeline on Flickr
Video gallery: Momeline on Vimeo
Social networks: HelloWood on Facebook

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Tonucittá, un nuevo número de la revista Márgenes dedicado a los niños

Category : noticias + publicaciones + urbanismo + ⚐ ES

Tonucittá - Revista Márgenes n5

Compartimos con vosotros la publicación del número 5 de la revista Márgenes de Arquitectura Social, en esta ocasión dedicado al papel de la infancia en la visión y la transformación de la ciudad. Se titula Tonucittá, en homenaje al maestro Francesco Tonucci, principal referente de esta corriente de pensamiento y práctica.

Tonucci es autor del libro “La ciudad de los niños” en el que critica la forma en el que las ciudades están estructuradas, y aconseja que la ciudades sean estructuradas y creadas pensando en los niños, en cierta medida “protegidos” por el resto de la población. Tonucci defiende la idea de que la escuela debería crear personas que fueran capaces de respetarse, ser individuales, libres, tener sus propias opiniones, personas menos frustradas y más decididas a formar sus capacidades.
La escuela debería de ser más abierta a las opiniones de los niños, crear el conocimiento entre docentes y discentes, para crear una ciudadanía más completa, competente y colaboradora.

La página web de la revista permite navegar por los contenidos de todos los números así como descargarlos en PDF y visualizarlos en issuu.

Esperamos que sea de vuestro interés.

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The Water Footprint: Every drop counts!

Category : city + research + sustainability + ⚐ EN

The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

The water footprint consists of three components: the blue, green and grey water footprint. The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater evaporated from the global blue water resources (surface water and ground water) to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. The green water footprint is the volume of water evaporated from the global green water resources (rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture). The grey water footprint is the volume of polluted water that associates with the production of all goods and services for the individual or community. The latter can be estimated as the volume of water that is required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the quality of the water remains at or above agreed water quality standards.

The past century has brought a lot of changes, like the explosion of human population, the creation of an expansive global economy and the increasing technological development. All of them have put unprecedented pressures on water. More specifically, our growing appetite for water-intensive food and manufactured good, the construction of large dams for hydro-electricity and irrigation, and the massive discharge of industrial waste into limited freshwater sources, have made water an increasingly limited and expensive resource.

Despite this obvious fact, people use large amounts of water: drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, and almost every other physical product. This water can be named as virtual water.

The virtual water content of a product (a commodity, good or service) is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured at the place where the product was actually produced.

It refers to the sum of the water use in the various steps of the production chain. The virtual-water content of a product can also be defined as the volume of water that would have been required to produce the product at the place where the product is consumed (consumption-site definition).


Image made by Virtual water |

Here are some examples of water footprints of daily products , calculated by Unesco-IHE Institute for water education, Netherland

Image made by Hoekstra and Chapagain 2008

These numbers are kind of shocking! Aren’t they?

So, let’s try to calculate our daily footprint and investigate the solutions to reduce the numbers as much as we can!

Image made by GOOD and Fogelson-Lubliner

Water footprints can be hard to calculate, depending on how far up the chain of production you go, since everything you eat and buy used some water to produce. With our latest Transparency, I give you some examples of how much water is used in some of your daily activities, so that you can begin calculate your footprint and try to reduce your gallons.

To help put things in perspective, think about this: your standard trash barrel holds 32 gallons and a mid-sized passenger car-if pumped full of water has room for a little more than 800 gallons. So, the difference in the amount of water it takes to produce a pound of chicken and a pound of beef is enough to fill almost two whole cars.

Which result have you got?

Let’s compare it with the water footprint calculation of one friend of mine, Croatian architect Ana Bilan that did some research in that field.

According to her calculations she was able to reduce her water footprint more than twice, which sounds really impressive!  So it was a matter of changing her habits, decreasing the direct water footprint and also the types of food she eats and products she uses to get a better result with indirect water Footprint.

Image made by Ana Bilan | research about MY WATER FOOTPRINT | for IED Torino Master SUS


If you become really interested in knowing how much water you personally use per day, you can follow this link and make a simple calculation:

Water footprint calculator (adults)

And you can also involve your kids into the idea of water preservation!

Water footprint calculator (kids)

Here are some facts to convince you to be a water guardian:

  • The average American lifestyle is kept afloat by nearly 2,000 gallons of H2O a day—twice the global average;
  • 46% of people on the earth do not have water piped to their homes;
  • Women in developing countries walk an average of 3.7 miles to get water;
  • In 15 years, 1.8 billion people will live in regions of sever water scarcity

And remember – Every Drop Counts!

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Christian Jøhnk Hess | eu collaborators

Category : colaboradores + ⚐ EN

Today we introduce Christian, an architecture student who recently did an internship with us, getting involved in our latest projects… and giving us some more hints on Scandinavian culture! Here are his kind words about his stay with us:


Shortly about myself, I’m from Denmark. I have just started on my last year of my master at the architecture in Copenhagen, after having spent five months with Ecosistema.

Before going into the final stages of my education, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity of making an internship, being introduced to different ideas and ways of working and at the same to a different culture by moving to Spain for five months.


Ecosistema is very good at working in a socially responsible way and with those layers of architecture that are related to the process and networks. They take into account the humans involved, and at the same time make their dreams and ideas turn into very nice buildings. They master all the layers of architecture today and they have fun at the same time. Their way of thinking supplements my knowledge from the school in Copenhagen very well.

During my stay I was working with ecosistema on the competition about the new city centre of Kiruna. It was a very complicated issue which combined with the other things we have been working on have given me a lot to take with me back to my school and think about.

To me architecture is an opportunity to get into a wide range of knowledge and putting it to use. Hopefully giving something back, which will be helpful, inspiring and relevant.

Before coming I had only heard good things about Ecosistema. It’s all true and I feel privileged to have been able to make my Internship here. So thank you for this time, I wish you the best for the future.

Short profile:

Occupation: Student at The Royal Danish Acadamy of Fine Arts. School of Architecture.
Interests: Architecture and lots of other stuff
City/country: Copenhagen, Denmark
Online profiles:

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#p2pwikisprint | Mapeando experiencias P2P en un evento glocal y distribuido

Category : cultura abierta + eventos + internet + ⚐ ES

Por fin, apurando al último momento y tras leerme de corrido los 100 últimos emails cruzados en la lista de correo, empiezo a entender la dimensión de lo que mañana (u hoy, según cuando leas esto) miércoles 20 de marzo será el primer wikisprint iberoamericano para mapear experiencias P2P, abreviado en Twitter bajo el hashtag #P2PWikisprint.

Imagen: @ColaBoraBora, bajo una licencia CC  3.0 Reconocimiento, Compartir igual.

Imagen: @ColaBoraBora – CC 3.0 Reconocimiento – Compartir igual

A estas horas de la víspera hay ya tanto material circulando, tantos links, tantos pads, tantos mails, que es difícil decidir por dónde comenzar a contar todo esto. La nota de prensa, preparada y traducida, como casi todo lo demás, en un documento compartido, nos cuenta lo siguiente:

La P2P Foundation, una de las instituciones más respetadas sobre los nuevos paradigmas de red, ha lanzado una convocatoria abierta para mapear experiencias alrededor del procomún, peer-to-peer (P2P), licencias abiertas y gobiernos participativos, entre otras cosas.

El wikisprint, un proceso/evento breve e intenso de documentación colectiva y mapeamiento de experiencias, tiene su origen en las comunidades de programadores informáticos de Python, uno de los lenguajes más populares del software libre. La práctica se extendió a otros ámbitos, como a la escritura de libros colectivos. La P2P Foundation realiza wikisprints para mapear experiencias alrededor de estos nuevos paradigmas.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) es una topología de red abierta en la que cada nodo está conectado al resto sin pasar por ningún centro. El P2P –con su apertura, descentralización y empoderamiento colectivo– no es ya algo minoritario. Es filosofía, tendencia de trabajo, una realidad sólida. El P2P es el sistema nervioso del mundo. Por eso, una simple visita de Michel Bauwens a Madrid y Barcelona ha desencadenado un #wikisprint descentralizado en el que van a realizarse muchas otras actividades: debates, conferencias, proyecciones, self media, talleres, visualizaciones de redes, vídeos… La programación estará colgada en este documento.

Aunque inicialmente iba a ser un #Wikisprint Iberoamericano, Italia y Grecia se van a unir. La importancia de esta unión del sur de Europa y América Latina no es casual. España es el país del mundo con mayor número de espacios de co-working per cápita (3º en número total). Lidera, con mucha diferente, el movimiento de las monedas sociales. España, en 2010 ya tenía más obras licenciadas con Creative Commons que Estados Unidos. España es el cuarto país del mundo en número de fab labs. Italia, por su parte, es referencia en hardware y diseño abiertos. Grecia camina hacia una gestión orientada al procomún. Y América Latina tiene una tradición milenaria alrededor de las prácticas colaborativas, una vibrante energía en redes sociales y algunos de los Gobiernos del mundo más abiertos al software libre y a la participación digital.

Han confirmado su participación en el #wikisprint más de cien trescientas organizaciones, redes, colectivos, empresas, instituciones e individuos independientes, desde el Media Lab Prado de Madrid al colectivo SurSiendo de Chiapas, desde la Escuela de los Comunes de Barcelona a CulturaPeru, desde la Secretaría de Economía Creativa del gobierno de Brasil al colectivo Hacktivistas, desde Inicitaiva Focus a muchos grupos vinculados al movimiento 15M,,, La Lata Muda, y un largo etcétera.

¿Cómo participar?

Cada “sede” o nodo local ha compartido su programación en este documento, que es un buen punto de arranque si queréis participar. Para los que, como nosotros, estéis en Madrid, la sede presencial en esa ciudad es Intermediae – Medialab en Matadero y la “sede digital” será la plataforma ThinkCommons, que retransmitirá el evento en directo y durante todo el día, saltando de huso horario en huso horario.

El programa para Madrid que difunden desde el Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas es el siguiente:

- 12:30 en adelante, sesión de Think Commons con Domenico di Siena. En el Terrario de Intermediae, se proyectarán las conversaciones que se vayan produciendo.
- 17:00-18:00 Micrófono abierto “¿Cómo mapeamos?” para para presentaciones informales de proyectos, facilitado por el Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas, junto con el grupo de la mesa de proyectos ciudadanos Mappe.
- 18:00-19:30 Debate abierto sobre la cultura p2p en español. ¿Cuál es su especificidad? ¿Cómo potenciarla? Con la participación de Felipe Ortega, Antonio Lafuente, Margarita Padilla (por confirmar), Jesús González-Barahona (por confirmar)
- 19:30-20:30 Sesión de Think Commons en conexión con Donostia-San Sebastián.

Los ejes temáticos para esta larga retransmisión, como nos amplía Bernardo en un mail de última hora, van a ser:

P2P: más allá del P2P (introducción) – 12.30 h GMT+1
Educación P2P, educación abierta – 13.15 h GMT +1
Procomún | Cultura libre | Licencias Abiertas | Economía colaborativa – 15.00 h GMT +1
Periodismo Ciudadano | Comunicación P2P – 16.00 GMT+1
Sesiones desde Intermediae/Medialab Prado – 17.00 GMT+1
Ciudades P2P – 20.30
Democracia en Red – 22.00 horas GMT +1
OccupyEverything | movimientos en red | Hacktivismo – 23.30 horas GMT+1

Para posibles modificaciones sobre este plan, podéis consultar este documento.

Imagen: @ColaBoraBora, bajo una licencia CC 3.0 Reconocimiento, Compartir igual.

Imagen: @ColaBoraBora – CC 3.0 Reconocimiento – Compartir igual.

Para dar una (muy parcial) idea de la cantidad de trabajo y autoorganización que hay tras este evento, os enlazamos algunos documentos de trabajo que pueden ser útiles:

Criterios para el mapeado
Formulario para el mapeado en MediaWiki
Lista de ciudades
Plan de comunicación

Y una serie de links a los distintos medios por los que podréis seguir el evento:

Web oficial:
Redes sociales: Facebook | | Google+ | @P2Pwikisprints + #p2pwikisprint + #GlobalP2P
Imagen: Flickr | Vimeo
Retransmisión en directo: evento en Google+ via Think Commons

Entre toda la gente implicada en esto, un reconocimiento especial se merece Bernardo Gutiérrez (@bernardosampa), que ha estado todo el tiempo en el ojo del huracán, conectando nodos y liderando lo que se puede definir como un impresionante ejercicio de autoorganización. Juzgad si no por el aspecto de la lista de correo en mi bandeja de entrada esta mañana:

Lista de correo #p2pwikisprint

A estas horas los hashtags arden ya camino del trending topic, los últimos preparativos se llevan a cabo en ciudades separadas miles de kilómetros entre sí y la gran maquinaria del evento, construida en el taller global que es Internet, comienza a entrar en funcionamiento. Os animo a seguir y participar en lo que sin duda va a ser un hito entre los eventos en red y la cultura del P2P.

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Cascina Cuccagna en Milán | Implicación de la comunidad, regeneración y ahorro de energía

Category : arquitectura + sostenibilidad + urbact + urbanismo + ⚐ ES

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Una casa de campo histórica en el centro de Milán se convierte en un nuevo espacio público energéticamente eficiente

Durante la última reunión del sexto grupo de trabajo “Eficiencia Energética en la Edificación” en Milán los pasados 5 y 6 de noviembre de 2012, el grupo central y otros asistentes tuvieron la oportunidad de visitar uno de los proyectos de renovación más interesantes que están actualmente en marcha en esa ciudad.
La intervención está definida desde un enfoque holístico que une la regeneración urbana, la arquitectura, la rehabilitación energética y la participación social.

Uno de los proyectos paralelos que prepararían el territorio de Milán para la Expo 2015 iba a ser “100 cascine”: una red de granjas históricas dispersas en Lombardía, semi o totalmente abandonadas, que serían recuperadas para proporcionar alojamiento durante la exposición y, en un futuro, proporcionar oportunidades para revitalizar el paisaje agrícola y afrontar el consumo del territorio.

Ese plan, como muchos otros relacionados con la expo 2015, fue anulado por los organismos públicos, dejando sus posibilidades de renacimiento en las manos de los voluntarios o de jóvenes empresarios. Afortunadamente, una de las granjas ha despertado el interés de varias asociaciones que cuentan con cierta experiencia en la recuperación de zonas urbanas degradadas.

Esta es una historia acerca de esas personas románticas y elegantes que quieren demostrar que el trabajo para la comunidad es rentable.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

La antigua granja declarada inservible se recupera gracias a la acción de grupos ciudadanos

Cascina Cuccagna es una antigua edificación construida en 1695. Cascina es la expresión italiana para una granja agrícola, y Cuccagna (Cucaña en español) se refiere tradicionalmente a un mítico país de las delicias culinarias, un significado que encaja con el renovado carácter del edificio.

En 1881 el edificio fue vendido a una familia de tenderos y la parte norte de la casa se transformó en “casa di ringhiera”, una vivienda tradicional en Milán con un porche común abierto. En los años 40 y 50, cada habitación servía de alojamiento a una familia entera. El mismo espacio se utilizaba como sala de estar, comedor y dormitorio al mismo tiempo. A través del porche se compartía el acceso al agua corriente y el baño.

En los años 60 Cascina Cuccagna fue muy conocida en Milán como una taberna que quedaba abierta toda la noche, llamada “Osteria dei Naviganti e Sognatori” (La taberna de los navegantes y soñadores).

En 1980 la propiedad fue vendida al municipio de Milán, que la declaró no apta para el uso. Hubo que emplear más de 20 años y el trabajo de varias organizaciones y grupos de ciudadanos para conseguir un nuevo proyecto de restauración.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Un proyecto de rehabilitación dirigido por 10 asociaciones unidas en un consorcio

En 2004 diez asociaciones que operan en Milán se unieron para formar la “Associazione Consorzio Cantiere Cuccagna” y desarrollaron un programa para incorporar la rehabilitación de la antigua granja en un espacio multifuncional y colectivo para la comunidad.

En el mismo año el Consorcio participó en un concurso público para la gestión del edificio, y en 2005 obtuvo una concesión formal por 20 años para su uso y gestión, bajo las restricciones propias de una renovación conservadora.

La transformación de la granja Cuccagna en un centro multifuncional requirió una inversión de 3,5 millones de euros. Gracias al apoyo financiero de fundaciones y bancos el Consorzio pudo comenzar las obras en noviembre de 2008. Desde entonces se ha estado llevando a cabo una actividad permanente de recaudación de fondos, en la que los ciudadanos de Milán han jugado un papel muy importante. Gracias a su generosidad casi 100.000 euros han sido recogidos a través de donaciones y contribuciones individuales.

De hecho, la recaudación de fondos es más activa que nunca, ya que hay todavía muchas obras por pagar y por llevar a cabo. En los próximos años, uno de los mayores desafíos para la Cuccagna Cascina será lograr su sostenibilidad y el equilibrio económico entre los ingresos provenientes de las actividades comerciales que se llevan a cabo en sus espacios (bar, restaurante, tienda de alimentos, albergue y servicios para los niños), y una recaudación permanente de empresas, instituciones y otros socios.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Una restauración respetuosa con el edificio

La restauración se está llevando a cabo en el marco del Consejo Regional del Ministerio de Patrimonio Cultural y Conservación del Medio Ambiente, que eligió una restauración conservadora para respetar la historia del edificio.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: URBACT

Los trabajos de restauración se han dedicado a la conservación del edificio (suelos de terracota lombarda, vigas de madera originales…), pero al mismo tiempo se han añadido nuevas instalaciones, entrando a formar parte de la estratificación simbólica de los elementos arquitectónicos. También incluye el uso de nuevas tecnologías sostenibles, como el sistema hidro-geotérmic de calefacción o y el aislamiento ecológico. Todas las decisiones han sido tomadas de acuerdo con el European GreenBuilding Programme.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: Facebook

Cascina Cuccagna es hoy un espacio de usos múltiples y un punto de encuentro entre generaciones y culturas

Cascina Cuccagna, situada a sólo 4 paradas de metro de la Piazza Duomo, es la más céntrica de las 60 granjas en propiedad de la municipalidad de Milán. Consiste en más de 2000 metros cuadrados de área techada y 1500 metros cuadrados de jardines y otras zonas verdes. Se trata de un espacio polivalente para el barrio y la ciudad, y un punto de encuentro entre generaciones y culturas.

Hoy en día Cascina Cuccagna aloja muchas actividades: La “Ciclofficina”, un taller permanente en el que todo el mundo puede aprender a reparar su bicicleta; un mercado de agricultores (que tiene lugar todos los martes por la tarde desde 2009) y una tienda de comestibles que vende sólo productos locales; un restaurante que sirve recetas únicas hechas con los mejores productos de temporada locales; un grupo de consumo ético (gruppo di acquisto solidale, GAS) para facilitar la compra de los alimentos y otros bienes de uso común directamente de los productores; un banco del tiempo, como sistema local de intercambio y comercio. Cascina Cuccagna funciona también como espacio para eventos, y en breve abrirá un albergue de 12 camas junto con un servicio permanente para niños y familias.

Se trata de un espacio único porque trae los aspectos más tangibles del campo a la ciudad. Y es el espacio perfecto para desarrollar la participación activa de los ciudadanos y un nuevo concepto de vida “verde” metropolitana.

Como prueba de ello se ha convertido en un referente cultural durante la Semana del Diseño de Milán, que en abril de cada año atrae la atención de todo el mundo.

Cascina Cuccagna - Fuente: Facebook

Página oficial de Cascina Cuccagna:
Cascina Cuccagna en las redes sociales: Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Foursquare

Sobre este artículo: Comentarios de Marco Pozzo sobre una visita realizada en el marco del Grupo de Trabajo URBACT “Eficiencia Energética en la Edificación”, que revisa y consolida los resultados de los proyectos URBACT relacionados con la eficiencia energética.
Artículo original: Once upon a time in Milan – Renovation and energy saving
Sobre el grupo de trabajo “Eficiencia Energética en la Edificación”, ver el artículo de Antonio Borghi publicado en el URBACT Tribune.

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Francesca Rotundo | eu collaborators

Category : colaboradores + ⚐ EN

Today we introduce Francesca Rotundo, a young architect who is doing an internship with us, being mainly involved in our proposal for the competition in Kiruna and the Reggio Children experimental centre.


As she tells us:

I’m a quite curious person, careful observer of what is happening around me. My interests are many, but somehow the architecture field seems to contain or connect to a lot of them, giving me everyday something different to think over.
I’ve studied architecture at the University of Ferrara, graduating at the end of 2012, and, as Erasmus student, at Chalmers University in Göteborg, Sweden, a great experience that made me fall in love with the nordic atmosphere, and made me more passionate about my work, in particular about investigating the relation between citizens and the design of the city.
As I wanted to keep widening my horizons, I was especially excited about gaining a Leonardo-program grant and having the chance to join EU, here in Madrid. Participating with them in a university-workshop about the regeneration of borderline areas, organized by Ri-Generazione Urbana, I had the possibility to know them more and I found their way of working very inspiring. I think it’s awesome to collaborate with such a great studio, matching my interests.
Apart from the complexity of the city, which I enjoy so much, in my quite small home town I take part in a cultural association called Primola together with architects and artists, working to make vital the local territory and preserving its landscape. We organize events and activities related to culture, entertaining, designing and realize sets and installations using lights and “poor” building materials, like straw bales.
Trying to conceive design in a playful way, I always keep in mind the social impact of architecture and, as we never stop learning, I keep looking for answers and new questions as well.


Here is a short summary about Francesca:

Occupation: Architect
Interests: Architecture-landscape-city, urban safaris, travelling, Illustration, fashion & industrial design
City/country: Cotignola-Ravenna, Italy
Web: Portfolio
Online profiles: Facebook, LinkedIn

Comments: (2)

#followweb | nodoPFC

Category : #followweb + arquitectura + creatividad + cultura abierta + ⚐ ES

De nuevo viernes, día de #followfriday por twitter, y un buen momento para conocer gente o ideas nuevas después de cerrar otra semana de trabajo. Hoy, dentro de nuestra serie #followweb, os presentamos otra iniciativa que propone la creación de un archivo online de Proyectos de Fin de Carrera de Arquitectura:  nodopfc


Ese proyecto “anónimo” (no he logrado saber quién hay detrás de la iniciativa, y probablemente tampoco importe mucho) intenta “retomar el hilo de lo que la ETSAM ha dejado de hacer, publicar el trabajo de tantos y tantos estudiantes/arquitectos”, aunque no está sólo centrado en la ETSAM sino que también incluye proyectos de otras escuelas.

En esa línea, comparte muchos objetivos con la de PFC Commons que ya reseñamos aquí. A diferencia de aquella, nodopfc no propone una licencia abierta con la que compartir esos PFCs , aunque usar una Creative Commons o similar sigue siendo perfectamente posible si el autor lo decide. Sin embargo, la filosofía detrás es muy parecida, en sus propias palabras, “porque creemos que frente a competir es mejor compartir y cooperar”.

De hecho la web cuenta con una sección de descargas de proyectos en formato .dwg. Muchos publicaríamos sin problemas un .jpg o incluso un .pdf con licencia abierta, pero publicar el archivo fuente “desnudo” y editable de un proyecto da mucha más facilidad para reaprovechar un dibujo y desarrollar variaciones sobre éste, de modo que me parece una apuesta mucho más grande por la cultura libre.

Ejemplo de PFC

La web es bastante mejorable (tiempo al tiempo), y puestos a compartir, sería mejor empezar a usar formatos más universales tipo .dxf (a falta de otro estándar mejor), pero en cualquier caso este tipo de iniciativas me parecen muy dignas de difusión y seguimiento.

Podéis visitar la web o seguir el proyecto en su página de Facebook. A ver si nos vamos animando a colgar nuestros proyectos en estas u otras plataformas, y ayudamos a que se conviertan en interesantes aportes a la cultura arquitectónica.

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Congreso EQUIciuDAD 13 y 14 de diciembre | Inscripciones abiertas

Category : arquitectura + eventos + noticias + sostenibilidad + urbanismo + ⚐ ES


¿Qué es EQUIciuDAD2012?

El congreso, que tendrá lugar en San Sebastián los próximos días 13 y 14 de diciembre, se ha promovido con el objetivo de poner el concepto de equidad en el lugar que le corresponde dentro de la arquitectura y el urbanismo sostenibles. Para ello, se ha realizado una rigurosa selección de ponentes y participantes que están trabajando en esta línea, entre los que podemos encontrar a Santiago de Molina, Domenico di Siena, Manu Fernández, Zuloark, Todo por la Praxis, Juan Freire, Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho y otros muchos que podéis ver en esta prometedora lista de las comunicaciones admitidas.

El congreso combina tres formatos que lo hacen claro, ágil y, sobre todo, muy rico en contenido, contribuyendo a que el congreso tenga mucha interacción y que el público asistente participe de manera activa en las dos jornadas:

Las ponencias principales.
Las salas de comunicaciones y debate.
Una sesión de debate en directo, online y presencial.

Objetivo del congreso

Desde la organización del congreso EQUIciuDAD2012  sostienen que la sostenibilidad, a día de hoy, se encuentra con dos escollos complicados que librar. Por un lado, el término ha sido usado de manera mediática, llamando sostenible a casi cualquier cosa, por lo que se ha vaciado de contenido y por otro lado vemos que en muchos casos no se tiene una idea clara de lo que realmente significa la sostenibilidad.

Por ello, la intención del congreso es intentar llenar de valor al concepto que representa la palabra sostenibilidad y, a su vez, aclarar lo que significa que la arquitectura y el urbanismo sean, realmente, sostenibles. Para conseguirlo, se evita cualquier confusión entre lo que es la bioconstrucción y lo que es la  arquitectura bioclimática, lo que es  la arquitectura bioclimática y lo que es la arquitectura ecológica y, por último, lo que viene a ser  la arquitectura ecológica  y  la arquitectura sostenible.

Con este fin, consideran fundamental entender el concepto de la sostenibilidad como si fuera un taburete que se apoya en tres patas: la equidad, la ecología y la economía. Es decir, las famosas 3-E. Así que, durante los dos días que dura el evento se apostará por la Equidad como eje conductor de las ponencias, diálogos y talleres. A su vez, el primero de los días se centrará en los procesos de participación ciudadana, la parte inmaterial de la ciudad, y el segundo se enmarcará en la escala de la ciudad y las nuevas tecnologías.


Actualmente están abiertas las inscripciones, que hasta el día 2 de diciembre se pueden realizar por una cuota reducida. Además, hasta mañana día 28 estáis todavía a tiempo de participar en el sorteo de 4 entradas a través del blog de StepienyBarno. ¡Las plazas son limitadas!


Dónde: San SebastiánOrganización y comisarios
Cuándo: Jueves 13 y viernes 14 de diciembre 2012
Organización: UPV/EHU
Comisarios: Sinergia Sostenible

Más información:

Web del congreso:
Correo de información:
Twitter: @EQUIciuDAD#EQUIciuDAD2012

Comments: (3)

#followweb | Mimbrea

Category : #followweb + arquitectura + sostenibilidad + ⚐ ES

Presentando Mimbrea

De nuevo viernes, día de #followfriday por twitter, y un buen momento para conocer gente o ideas nuevas después de cerrar otra semana de trabajo. Hoy, dentro de nuestra serie #followweb, os presentamos un proyecto joven –fue presentado el pasado 17 de octubre– que viene con mucha energía, dedicado al universo de la sostenibilidad de la vivienda:

Mimbrea es una revista online sobre sostenibilidad, eficiencia y ecoconstrucción, puesta en marcha por COR & Asociados y aRRsa! Plataforma Creativa (de los que ya hemos hablado aquí anteriormente) con un equipo de siete autores especializados en distintos campos.

Captura de pantalla de Mimbrea

A primera vista tiene un diseño claro y muy cuidado, apoyado en imágenes. Y lo que es más importante, esa buena impresión se traslada a los contenidos, que se diversifican abarcando desde la explicación de conceptos más generales hasta detalles más concretos como productos y proyectos específicos. Gran parte de lo que se publica tiene un enfoque claramente práctico, con informes técnicos, consejos, información sobre subvenciones y explicaciones “paso a paso”.

Me llama especialmente la atención el carácter divulgativo de los contenidos, en el mejor de los sentidos. Aunque los temas se tratan con rigor profesional, el lenguaje usado y el tratamiento de la información hacen que esta revista sea de interés general… y eso es algo que a los arquitectos en general parece que no nos resulta nada fácil. Los artículos de Mimbrea rozan el complicado equilibrio entre la precisión y el detalle técnico que los puedan convertir en referencia para un profesional, y la forma de expresión que los pueda hacer a la vez inteligibles para cualquier otra persona.

Os invitamos a explorar la web y seguir sus publicaciones por cualquiera de sus canales. Seguro que se acaba convirtiendo en toda una referencia sobre estos temas.

Página web:
Redes sociales:  Facebook | Twitter: @mimbrea1

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Serena Chiacchiari | eu collaborators

Category : colaboradores + ⚐ EN

Today we introduce Serena Chiacchiari, an Italian architect who’s doing right now an internship with us, being mainly involved in our proposal for the competition in Kiruna. Enjoy her introduction and the great photos from her trips around the world!

Serena in Patagonia

In November 2010 after graduating in Architecture in Rome I decided to go to Australia and New Zealand for a period. I was there 2 months, trying to visit as much as I could, from big cities to wild nature. When I came back I decided that what I had studied wasn’t enough so I started a professional master about sustainable architecture in IED Torino. The trip around Australia, where everything is so extreme, inspired me. I started asking myself “Is it possible to live without wasting what nature gives us?”, “Can we as architects help not to waste it?”. So I moved to Turin where I started studying the main elements of sustainable architecture.

Apart from theory, we had 3 workshops, one of which was held by “Arcò”, a young group of Italian architects, who helped us to understand how to build in extreme conditions with poor materials like earth, sand and tires. This workshop was awe-inspiring for me and I decided that I would like to start my architectural career in a young and active studio. I was very happy when I knew that I could have my internship in Ecosistema Urbano, which reflects perfectly my idea of what architecture should be: FUNNY, SUSTAINABLE AND PEOPLE’S.

This experience is very important for me because my passion has always been to travel and meet different cultures and this is the best way to do it!

Serena in Jordania

Here is a short summary about Serena:

Occupation: Architect
Interests: Architecture, photography, travel, sports
City/country: Rome/Italy
Online profiles: Facebook, Linkedin

Comments: (0)

Media Architecture Biennale in Aarhus | Last days for registration

Category : architecture + events + new technologies + news + ⚐ EN

Media Architecture Biennale 2010 - Photo by Wolfgang Leeb

On November 15th-17th leading architects, artists, scholars, and industry from all over the Globe will meet up in Aarhus, Denmark to shape the media architecture of the future, and to discuss how media architecture is about to change cities.
What happens when heat sensitive concrete ‘freezes’ the shadows of passers-by, or when a façade turns into a screen by means of thousands of tiny LED lights? What happens to architecture, people, and cities, when buildings turn into a type of digital media and allows citizens to communicate with each other in completely new ways?

Questions like these are increasingly relevant, as media architecture gains ground in cities all over the world. And they will be top of the agenda when media architecture experts meet up in Aarhus in November. Among the speakers will be media artists Ben Rubin, architect and designer Jason Bruges, Bjarke Ingels Group, Gehl Architects, professor of architecture Antonio Saggio, professor of media archaeology Erkki Huhtamo – and many more.

The biennale also features an exhibition, awards, industry sessions, workshops, an iPad compendium, and a gala dinner.

Media Architecture Biennale 2010 - Photo by Wolfgang Leeb

You can still register until 8 November 2012. Just a couple of days left!

More information:

Official website:
Social media:  Facebook + Twitter


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#followweb | Wiki del Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas

Category : #followarch + #followresearch + #followweb + sostenibilidad + urban social design + urbanismo + ⚐ ES

De nuevo viernes, día de #followfriday por twitter, y un buen momento para conocer gente o ideas nuevas después de cerrar otra semana de trabajo. Retomamos nuestra serie de recomendaciones #followweb (aunque bien podría ser a la vez #followarch y #followresearch) esta vez con una actualización importante en la sección wiki de la página de Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas.

vic - transferencias

A los de Vivero de Iniciativas Ciudadanas ya los presentamos aquí el año pasado, así como también su proyecto de Glosario Abierto. Toda su web forma un “observatorio” que trata de reconocer y dar visibilidad a aquellas iniciativas de transferencia de innovación social que ayudan a fortalecer el empoderamiento urbano de la ciudadanía.

Así es como presentan ellos las cuatro áreas que cubre la wiki:

Glosario Abierto para la participación de todos en la definición de los nuevos términos que definen los procesos de innovación social y sus transferencias al espacio público

Agentes un atlas de agentes donde no están todos… en proceso, donde seguir actualizándolo. Pronto será un espacio wiki, donde recopilar, modificar, y actualizar los agents provocateurs que como ciudadanos que buscan la co-responsabilidad para una ciudadanía más abierta que cree en una ciudad más común.

Lugares  donde se producen las transferencias de la innovación social al espacio público y digital.

Iniciativas Ciudadanas  son procesos informales de práctica ciudadana que modifican de forma resiliente y adaptativa el entorno urbano. Son prácticas auto-organizadas, colectivas que trabajan por el empoderamiento urbano de la ciudadanía y desarrollan procesos críticos sobre la ciudad actual. Entendemos a las iniciativas ciudadanas como agentes que promueven la innovación social en los entornos donde operan.

Actualizada de forma colaborativa, la wiki se ha ido convirtiendo en un enorme índice con más de 20 lugares, más de 60 agentes, más de 300 iniciativas y cerca de 70 definiciones en el glosario en la actualidad. Una página de referencia, digna de estar bien arriba en la lista de favoritos, junto a otros repositorios de enlaces o recursos como Spatial Agency o Project for Publis Spaces, con la particularidad de que esta nos resulta mucho más afín y cercana.

Os invitamos a revisarla de arriba a abajo, y por supuesto, a contribuir a aumentar su base de datos con vuestras aportaciones, que precisamente para eso es una wiki.

Más información:

Fuente: Artículo en la web de VIC
VIC en Twitter: @desdevic
VIC en Facebook: VIC ViverodeIniciativasCiudadanas

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La cuarta dimensión

Category : arquitectura + LCV + nuevas tecnologías + urbanismo + ⚐ ES

Retomamos otro artículo publicado previamente en La Ciudad Viva que, al hilo del anterior, reflexiona sobre el concepto de vecindad en un mundo glocal, con una relación en tiempo real entre lo digital y lo presencial que forma lo que Domenico llama “la cuarta dimensión”.

Todos nos hemos pasado una noche entera en Facebook o en Twitter hablando con amigos y conocidos, muchas veces gente que vive a miles de kilómetros. Sabemos lo que pasa en China y hasta el detalle más nimio de la ceremonia de los Oscars. ¿Por qué no nos pasamos la noche charlando con nuestros vecinos? ¿Por qué mi identidad ya no tiene relación con el barrio en el que vivo, ni me entero ya de lo que ocurre en la calle de al lado? El progreso nos ha cambiado el barrio por la aldea global pero la llegada de Internet nos ofrece lo mejor de los dos mundos gracias a la cuarta dimensión.

yo cojo lo de los demás, los demás cogen lo mío

La palabra globalización es una farsa. No hay globalización, sólo hay virtualización. Lo que está siendo efectivamente globalizado es el tiempo. Ahora todo sucede dentro de la perspectiva del tiempo real: de hoy en adelante estamos pensados para vivir en un sistema de tiempo único.
Por primera vez la historia va a revelarse dentro de un sistema de tiempo único: el tiempo global. Hasta ahora la historia ha tenido lugar dentro de tiempos locales, estructuras locales, regiones y naciones. Pero ahora, en cierto modo, la globalización y la virtualización están inaugurando un tiempo universal que prefigura una nueva forma de tiranía.
De este modo vemos por un lado al tiempo real sustituyendo al espacio real. Por otro lado tenemos el tiempo global, perteneciente al multimedia, al ciberespacio, increíblemente dominando la estructura del tiempo local de nuestras ciudades, nuestras vecindades.

Paul Virilio planteaba en 1995 los efectos del progreso, concretamente del ciberespacio, en la sociedad. Reflexionaba sobre el concepto de tiempo real y tiempo único, entendiéndolo como la destrucción definitiva del espacio real. Debo decir que estoy fascinado con esta reflexión de Virilio, que se define a sí mismo como filósofo y urbanista autodidacta (¡Gracias Manon por descubrírmelo!).

No obstante, estoy totalmente en desacuerdo con él porque no tiene en cuenta algo que hoy se da por sentado: la hibridación físico-digital. Afortunadamente, hace ya años que se dejó de hablar de ciberespacio y se empezó a hablar de una sola realidad con diferentes facetas, entre ellas la digital y la presencial. Segundo, porque lo que dice Virilio se parece más a lo que han generado los medios de comunicación de masas y la primera etapa de Internet. En realidad, este momento es el comienzo de un proceso que va en sentido opuesto.

Cuando Virilio habla del concepto glocal da a entender que en esta nueva relación entre local y global, lo local sale perdiendo y, por consiguiente, aparecen ciudades sin interés, que dependen de lo que él denomina “tiempo global” o “tiempo único”. Me acuerdo ahora precisamente de Virilio porque expone el problema y el peligro y justo es hoy, en estos momentos, cuando se está produciendo un cambio histórico.

En una entrevista dice “si el tiempo es dinero, entonces la velocidad es poder”. Ahí ha dado en el clavo. Es más, añadiría que el poderoso es aquel que puede permitirse perder el tiempo.

Estoy convencido de que el “tiempo real” puede ser la herramienta más poderosa que los ciudadanos hayan tenido. Lo es por dos simples razones. La primera, porque les permite organizar, plantear, crear y formar parte de procesos distribuidos de creación, transformación y gestión urbana. Me refiero a procesos que sólo son posibles cuando el retorno de la información sobre los resultados de las acciones de cada uno permite reaccionar y redirigir el proceso hacia lo que desea cada individuo. La segunda razón es que el tiempo real es la base de lo que podríamos llamar ambient intelligence, un “lugar” en el que personas, proyectos y objetos que configuran un entorno pueden interactuar para fomentar la serendipia, el conocimiento y la creación colectiva.

Hablamos, claro está, de procesos claramente locales, horizontales y distribuidos. Procesos que devuelven a la ciudad su carácter de espacio de aprendizaje, como bien nos recuerdan Paco González y Enric Senabre.

La cuestión es, ¿cómo lo conseguimos?

Casi todos tenemos un smartphone, o por lo menos un ordenador con acceso a Internet. Estos dispositivos nos dan acceso a la cuarta dimensión (SentientID).

La cuarta dimensión nace cuando nos encontramos en un ambient intelligence. Se trata de la conexión definitiva entre el espacio, el tiempo y la capa de información. Virilio temía que esa capa de información se comería las demás de facetas de la realidad, sin embargo ese peligro ya no existe gracias a la hibridación.

El disponer de información en tiempo real de todo lo que nos rodea aumenta las posibilidades de crear espacios comunes de interacción. Internet nos permite relacionar la información digital de todos los agentes “sensibles” que configuran un mismo entorno físico y que podamos acceder a ella en tiempo real, por eso es en Internet donde se dan con más facilidad la construcción de este tipo de espacios.

Ahora tenemos la capacidad de trasladar todo ese potencial que se genera en Internet al espacio físico. Tenemos la capacidad de conocer los proyectos, las pasiones, las ideas y los deseos que laten en las calles y en los hogares de nuestro barrio. No se trata de conocer la vida íntima de cada vecino sino de tener una idea general sobre lo que ocurre a nuestro alrededor, como cuando salimos a la calle un día soleado tras varios días de lluvia y notamos que todo el mundo parece feliz. Esta sensibilidad al entorno (ambient awareness, en inglés) es algo que está en peligro de extinción.

mi identidad la busco en los demas

Si nos paramos a pensar, sabemos qué ocurre al otro lado del Atlántico pero si alguien nos preguntara qué pasa en el barrio, posiblemente contestaríamos que en nuestro barrio nunca pasa nada.

El progreso nos ha quitado la ambient awareness y el progreso nos la devuelve a través del uso de dispositivos con acceso a Internet. La sensibilidad al entorno no puede existir si no disponemos de información en tiempo real y contextualizada. Mediante el intercambio de esta información recuperamos ambient awareness, la base para sobre la que construir ese lugar de creación que hemos llamado ambient intelligence.

Dicho de otra manera: la interacción que podemos tener con nuestros vecinos y la cantidad de información digital relacionada con nuestro entorno físico no pasa por un modelo automático que define a los ciudadanos como autómatas guiados por máquinas. Los dispositivos en este caso son un mero instrumento y nos sirven para seleccionar la información necesaria para crear ambient awareness y, cuando nosotros lo deseamos, dar un paso más y conectar con aquello que nos llama más la atención.

Peuplade, por ejemplo es una red social hiper-local nacida en París en 2003 y que ya funciona en 16 ciudades francesas. Conecta a los vecinos de calles y barrios y facilita que se organicen iniciativas como establecer turnos para acompañar a los niños al colegio, celebrar fiestas, etc. También permite crear bancos de tiempo e intercambiar objetos y servicios.

En la misma línea, Voisin-age permite a los vecinos de un barrio conocerse y organizarse para ayudar a personas mayores que viven solas.

Lo más interesante de Peuplade y de Voisin-age son los efectos indirectos: dan la oportunidad a la gente de conocerse y establecer relaciones. Es decir, crean ambient awareness y fomentan ambient intelligence, ingredientes indispensables para la solidaridad social.

También han surgido herramientas más flexibles y adaptadas a dispositivos móviles. Por ejemplo, Whatif (de Ecosistema Urbano) y Neighborland. Esta última conecta a personas con ideas afines, iniciativas y recursos. Permite evaluar qué quieren los residentes de las diferentes áreas y espacios públicos del barrio. Además, al poner sobre la mesa las demandas vecinales y demostrar que hay una base de clientes viables, promueve el espíritu empresarial en el barrio.

Son prototipos, pioneros en el acercamiento a la ambient intelligence y a la cuarta dimensión. Les falta mejorar en su conexión con lo más cercano y con el tiempo real.

la democratización de la tecnología

Las inquietudes de Paul Virilio derivan de un uso de la tecnología de la información que hasta hace muy poco nada tenía de horizontal ni de distribuido, incluso en Internet. Ahora que los ciudadanos tenemos las manos en la masa es imperativo que adquiramos la capacidad, sobre todo cultural, de entender la tecnología como un medio y que lo aprovechemos para experimentar nuevos modelos de relación con el entorno físico y las personas que nos rodean. Nos tenemos que adueñar de la tecnología, humanizarla y dejar de pensar en ella como una novedad.

Pensad en ello: la clave para una ciudad realmente atractiva es pasar del paradigma del consumo de espacios y experiencias a la creación de espacios y plataformas para el aprendizaje colectivo.


Artículo previamente publicado en La Ciudad Viva, desarrollado por Domenico Di Siena (@urbanohumano), con la colaboración de Manon Bublot (@heterotopie) y Marisa Rodríguez (@la_madalena) para Ecosistema Urbano (@ecosistema).

Imágenes por @lacasinegra, una selección a partir de la presentación: “40 frames de termitas, ¿existe un cine sin cine?”