Comment: (1)

MetaMap | MapTube by CASA

Category: ⚐ EN+city+internet+MetaMap+technologies+the environment

MapTube Homepage

Today I present the interview with Richard Milton, member of the research staff at the (CASA), a unit at the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment (The Bartlett).

CASA’s focus is to be at the forefront of what is one of the grand challenges of 21st Century science: to build a science of cities from a multidisciplinary base, drawing on cutting edge methods, and ideas in modeling, complexity, visualization and computation. Our current mix of architects, geographers, mathematicians, physicists, archeologists and computer scientists make CASA a unique department within UCL.

His current position in the centre is described as the following:

Richard is a Senior Research Associate currently working on the ESRC funded TALISMAN project, having previously worked on GeoVUE and GENeSIS. He is the key developer in these projects, being responsible for the e-infrastructure developed in GENeSIS and GeoVUE, which is currently used for real-time web-based geospatial data visualization. This infrastructure is currently used in the MapTube, SurveyMapper and Gemma websites.

MapTube is a free web resource for viewing, sharing, mixing and mashing maps online. The main principle of MapTube is that shared maps can be overlayed to compare data visually. For example, you can view a map of the London Underground overlayed with a map of building volumes to get a new perspective of the city.

Overlay of London tube map and London building volumes

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

I originally got into mapping by working on weather visualization systems for the UK Meteorological Office. After that, I worked on a project in UCL on GPS-tracked carbon monoxide sensors, displaying the data through both 2D and 3D views of the city. Then, I started working for CASA, developing the GMapCreator software, allowing people to create Google Maps from the data stored in shapefiles, which led to the MapTube website.

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

I often have to do a lot of pre-processing of the data before it can be mapped, but on an ad-hoc basis. The real-time data is also quite challenging as there are often errors in the data that have to be cleaned and the pre-processing for the London Underground, National Rail, and Bus data are quite involved. The data is sampled on a 3 minute basis, so all processing needs to happen very quickly.

Global McDonald’s Big mac prices, 2007

3. What is the application of the open source mapping you are interested in the most?

I think the amount of data that’s now in the public domain is the greatest interest. We are getting to the point where we are being swamped with data and need to look for methods to handle much larger quantities than before.

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

The next phase of development is very hard to quantify. We’re looking into various things like BigData, Real-time data and DataMining.

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

My interests are really in automatic mapping, from data and how you handle it from multiple sources (data fusion) to visualizing complex situations.

England grade of land use

This is the last post (for now!) in our MetaMap series about mapping. You can follow the conversation in your favourite social network through the #metamap hashtag.

 

Comments: (0)

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

Category: ⚐ EN+news+publications

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.

PlannignforProtest_invite2_620

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

www.planningforprotest.org 
www.facebook.com/PlanningForProtest

Comments: (0)

MetaMap | Pablo de Soto

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+city+landscape+MetaMap+technologies+urbanism+video

Pablo de Soto is part of the generation who lived and experimented with the creative explosion generated by the web. His studies in architecture have enabled him to look at digital culture through a unique perspective. Keeping as reference, science fiction, situationism, and hacker ethic.

In 2001, he founded hackitectura.net, along with José Pérez de Lama and Sergio Moreno Páez, and a crew of architects, programmers, artists, and activists that participated in projects that dealt with themes of cartography and mapping. I interviewed Pablo de Soto about Sevilla Global, Cartografía Crítica del Estrecho de Gibraltar, and Mapping the Commons (Istanbul and Athens)

Here are a few screenshots of the maps:

Taksim Square, Istanbul

Fener Balat, Istanbul

Brook Crossing, Athens

This post is part of the MetaMap series about mapping. You can follow the conversation on your favourite social network through the #metamap hashtag.

Comments: (0)

Matthieu Darcourt | eu collaborators

Category: ⚐ EN+colaboradores+ecosistema urbano

Today we introduce Matthieu Darcourt, an architecture student who has been doing a short internship with us, bringing the French language back to the office after a couple of years… Here is what he tells us:

Matthieu Darcourt

Matthieu Darcourt

I’m a student in architecture at the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) of Strasbourg in France, and I will graduate in October 2014. I had the opportunity to travel a lot especially during my Erasmus in Budapest and my internship here at ecositema urbano in Madrid. I believe there is no such thing as losing yourself in an unknown city in order to discover it’s deeper essence, culture and personality. As an architect and as a person, I am really interested in this balance between big cities and traditional culture, and Madrid is a beautiful example of it: a 21st century city with a village atmosphere.

Matthieu Darcourt in Budapest

Matthieu Darcourt in Budapest

During my internship at ecosistema urbano, I had the chance to think about it when writting an article about situationist theories and urban participation. Indeed, thanks to their blog, they take some time to think and research concerning urban social design, so it creates a stimulating and creative atmosphere and projects. I found really interesting the original project approach they have, including social networks, technologies, and creative commons, questioning urban landscape and social life. Finally, I enjoyed the nice atmosphere of the studio, especially during cooking time! Thanks again.

Occupation: Architecture student
Interests: Architecture, Anthropology, Sculpture, Cities
City/country: Strasbourg, FR
Web: Portfolio

Comments: (2)

Solving an intersection, the Dutch way | Where cars, bikes and pedestrians meet

Category: ⚐ EN+urbanism+video

How can urban design solve the complex situation that takes place in street junctions where bikes, pedestrians and motorists have to cross and turn in different directions? This interesting video shows one of the typical Dutch solutions to this problem.

Could this be implemented everywhere? While other places are going for mixed use of the street (like Spanish ciclocalles) or even more radical solutions like shared space or even ‘naked streets’ without any signs or lights, cities in the Netherlands are known for making extensive use of segregated bike lanes, and that is the scenario where this kind of solution makes sense. There are also other types of intersections, like the roundabouts, which can solve the same problem in a different way.

It’s worth noting how helpful the video format  is for explaining this kind of dynamic issues in the city. I also recommend reading the discussions under the posts linked below; you will find interesting opinions and alternatives.

Read more:

Original article at Bicycle Dutch
Via momentummag.com

Comments: (0)

Claudio Marras | eu collaborators

Category: ⚐ EN+colaboradores+ecosistema urbano

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.

Claudio

Claudio

RESUME

Education
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

Comment: (1)

Bicycle-friendly houses

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+mobility+sustainability+urbanism

Cities, organizations increasingly vast and uncontrolled, crystallize today most social and environmental issues. Intensification is a hot topic as antidote to urban sprawl and overconsumption of the territory, but how to live in the dense city, make it livable and desirable? This paradox between individual aspirations and the need to contain the growth of cities is a challenge for the architecture, the opportunity to imagine new types of habitats, for the collective economy of the soil, but offer a sense of independence and freedom in the use of space, from within and without.

Let’s find a simple example: to reduce private car use, many  cities are trying to promote green transport methods, including cycling, which is highly valued by the local population that exhibits a strong “scientific, sporty and green” image. The cycle path network is growing, but the problem lies at the two ends: What do you do with your bike when you get to your destination?

The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation ever devised, and it delivers a whole-body workout. Cycling consumes far fewer calories per mile travelled than cars, buses, or even walking. It is sometimes the fastest way to get around a city. Cyclists can zip around traffic jams and don’t have to fight for a parking spot because they can bring the vehicle home… maybe: Many homes aren’t bicycle-friendly, so bikes are either not used or not purchased.

The French architectural studio ‘HERAULT ARNOD architectes’ was faced with that problem in Grenoble, where they designed a sustainable residential house.

Image is made by Herault Arnod architectes | L’IMMEUBLE À VÉLOS |Grenoble 2006-2010

The project ‘Bike building’ has a system which makes possible to take one’s bike to the door of one’s apartment. The lifts are big enough to carry bikes; the corridors are wide and form a panoramic walkway with views over the mountains. People enter their homes as they would a house, from the outside. The architecture of the storage and distribution system is designed for a project situated at the end of the cycle path network. People will be able to reach their front doors on rollerblades, scooters, bicycles, etc., and then store their wheels in a safe place.

‘…This project was conducted as part of an order placed by the architects to 8 City of Architecture and Heritage, on the theme of a “Habitat densified environmentally responsible.” These projects were gathered in one part of the traveling exhibition “Living Green”, which was provided by the police Gauzin-Dominique Müller, and which was presented to the City of Architecture…’ say Chris Younes and Isabel Herault

Since the outskirts of Grenoble are layered with districts of detached houses which generate traffic flows that grow more intense and more extensive each day, it is time to think about urban housing that is more in tune with contemporary aspirations. What does a detached house have that an apartment does not? Amongst other characteristics, we identified the relationship with the exterior, which is more direct and special, the greater privacy, and storage capacity: according to a recent study, 40% of the surface area in detached houses is used to store various objects, food, clothes, tools, bicycles, windsurfers, skis, etc.

‘…>80% of the population would rather live in a detached house than in an apartment block in town. What does a detached house have that an apartment does not? Amongst other characteristics, we identified the relationship with the exterior, which is more direct and special, the greater privacy, and storage capacity: according to a recent study, 40% of the surface area in detached houses is used to store various objects, food, clothes, tools, bicycles, windsurfers, skis, etc….’  say Chris Younes and Isabel Herault

The façade on the street side is made up of several layers which reveal the building’s unusual design, and make a feature of it through the system of outdoor corridors and the individual storage “boxes” placed in front of each apartment: the image is created by usage. People enter their apartments via a private balcony. Located between the walkway and the building’s main structure are the storerooms and bathrooms, which alternate with empty spaces running the whole height of the building. The “storage units” are clad with different coloured corrugated steel sheet, which individualize the apartments and together create an expansive, dynamic and contrasted façade – an unpatented and lively composition.

This project is not the only one example of bike-friendly houses designed by Herault Arnod architectes.

’24 apartments house’ project is located on a new BIA to Green Island, an eclectic neighbourhood of Grenoble composed of villas, workshops and small buildings on the banks of the Isere. It meets the certification BBC with 40% renewable energy, according to the requirements of the specifications of the ZAC. The building was designed to allow residents to live in the city as a house, with a privileged relationship to the outside. The twenty four units are through and have a large terrace facing west continues. Ends of the apartments have a triple orientation. All are served by an outdoor walkway sheltered east side. The building is intended to facilitate the use of bicycles in everyday life: each unit has a storage room, protected by winks perforated (over 50% vacuum), in which residents can store several bikes. The elevator is generously proportioned to allow everyone to borrow his bike.

Image is made by Herault Arnod architectes | 24 APARTEMENTS |Grenoble 2011-2013

The building is very compact, its organization to optimize the stairwell and the elevator are grouped in a separate volume, which they are connected by a walkway. This volume is wrapped in open vegetation: a linear bins, equipped with an automatic watering, home to vines that invade gradually cables and nets stretched between floors.

The other example of bicycle friendly building is the EcoFlats mixed-use apartment building, along North Williams Avenue in Portland with its co-developer, Jean-Pierre Veillet of Siteworks Design Build.

Williams Avenue, once the heart of a thriving African American community, is today well known as a popular bike route as well as a burgeoning retail area of restaurants, cafes and shops.

Image is made by Jean-Pierre Veillet | the Eco-flats |

On the ground floor of the building, for example, is Hopworks Bike Bar.

“Some 3,000 riders a day pass by Mr. Ettinger’s new brewpub,” the New York Times’ Linda Baker writes of Hopworks in a recent feature about the neighborhood and catering to cyclists. “It has racks for 75 bicycles and free locks, to-go entries that fit in bicycle water-bottle cages, and dozens of handmade bicycle frames suspended over the bar areas.”

There are no automobile parking spaces for tenants, but the 18-unit building has storage for 30 bikes.

“Cyclists are a great potential market for businesses that want people traveling at human-scale speed and will stop and buy something,” Roger Geller, the city’s bicycle coordinator, also told Baker.

Eco Flats is one of 15 building projects aiming toward net-zero operations through a pilot program launched in 2009 by Energy Trust of Oregon. Co developed by Doug Shapiro, it was designed to use approximately 60 percent less energy than a building constructed to code stipulations. Veillet says actual savings have been higher, approaching 80 percent. In the ground-floor entry to the apartments via elevator, a flat-screen TV affixed to the upper wall conveys in real-time the amount of energy being used by each unit as well as how much energy is being generated by a rooftop array of solar panels.

If you decided to become bike user, but the house you live in is not bicycle friendly, try to make your home bicycle friendly by yourself. A bicycle doesn’t ask for much. It just needs a safe, dry spot away from thieves and vandals.

By the way, in a humorous note, there is also the opposite way: you can make your bike the main element and attach your house to it, as this man did for the Burning Man festival, or as seen in various creations involving a bike and a tiny home.

RV-Camper bike by Kevin Cyr

RV-Camper bike by Kevin Cyr

For further reading:

‘Bicycle friendly area’ – Design workshop at Auroville- PDF

Comments: (0)

Antonella Marlene Milano | eu collaborators

Category: ⚐ EN+colaboradores

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

Comments: (3)

MetaMap | Interview with Christian Nold on his mapping projects

Category: ⚐ EN+art+city+creativity+landscape+MetaMap+technologies

Biomapping device and GPS

Today, I present the interview with Christian Nold where he shares his experience with mapping projects such as Bio MappingGreenwich Emotion Map, and SanFrancisco. He describes himself with the following:

Christian Nold is an artist, designer, and educator working to develop new participatory models for communal representation. In 2001, he wrote the well received book ‘Mobile Vulgus’, which examined the history of the political crowd and which set the tone for his research into participatory mapping. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2004, Christian has led a number of large scale participatory projects and worked with teams on diverse academic research projects. In particular, his ‘Bio Mapping’ project has received large amounts of international publicity and has been staged in 16 different countries and over 1500 people have taken part in his workshops and exhibitions.
In 2007, Christian Nold founded Softhook Design, which is now providing large scale public discussion projects, such as the TownToolkit. Christian Nold teaches at the Bartlett University, College of London and is a guest lecturer at Aalborg University of Denmark and an active member of the Council for the Internet of Things.

Galvanic Skin Response in a busy traffic crossing

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

Mapping for me is a way to understand shared places. I entered this area through psychogeography and the idea that there might be shared psychological and unseen, but political structures that underlie the physical environment around us. Mapping then becomes a way of trying to record this kind of exploration. The shared mental and physical spaces, which are shaped into the form of a map, are such a familiar way of recording spaces that we can all access.

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

I utilize different types of mapping in my work, but my main interest is trying to articulate the blend of space between mind and material. The sources of my data tend to be ambiguous, such as physiological arousal, smells, sounds, feelings of being in or out of control, or illicit behavior.  My real interest is trying to map things that are difficult to map, or for political reasons, are not being mapped at all.

3. What is the application of open source mapping you are interested in the most?

What interests me about open source mapping is the way it provides agency for people to redefine how things are done.  The openness allows people to redefine mapping in terms of what is being mapped, as well as how to do the mapping.

Greenwich emotion map

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

I’m currently researching whether mapping is a device ethnography at the Extreme Citizen Science Group at UCL.  This means I’m trying to trace networks of knowledge and power being generated by sensing devices and trying to map and articulate what is going on there. The final results will not be maps, but will utilize the methodology and thinking of mapping to uncover the relationships between entities, which I think is the core of what mapping is truly about.

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

 I love some of the pre-modern maps that blend stories and myths, as well as local plants, flowers, and animals that simultaneously describe the physical environment.  Many of those maps show a freedom of blending together and crossing between categories that you don’t see any more in modern maps. Nowadays, maps seem to focus more on what they exclude rather than focusing on what they represent.

San Francisco emotion map

You can see related posts in the metamap series.

Comments: (0)

MetaMap | 6000 km by Basurama, interview with Pablo Rey

Category: ⚐ EN+city+internet+Intervista+landscape+MetaMap+urbanism

Basurama is a forum for discussion and reflection on trash, waste, and reuse in all its formats and possible meanings. It was born in the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) in 2001, and since then, has evolved and acquired new shapes.

Tire Cemetery in Seseña (Toledo)

I interviewed Pablo Rey Mazón, member of Basurama, about 6000km, a project about the concept of trash applied to new constructions and land use, the metabolism of the city.

 

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

We use mapping, a geo-spatial representation of things, to understand and display complex situations. Maps have always been interesting to me: subway maps, the Callejero (the streetmap book from Madrid), and later in architecture school, I was using and producing maps quite often. Google Maps and Google Earth came later…. maps are one special part of all the data visualizations tools available.
I have also participated in the development of meipi.org, an open source software for collective geo-location of information (texts, photos, videos, and audio) online, that we have used in many projects.

Interface of the map - Click to see original at Meipi

Interface of the map – Click to see original at Meipi

2. How did you choose the object of your mapping?

A map is a tool to decode certain information. Depending on the project, we would use one visualization or another. When we’re interested in the location of things, we use maps. In Basurama, we’ve used maps for many different projects apart from 6000km:

-Mapping urban metabolism landscapes (panorama photos) + real estate bubble: map, tactics in 6000km

-Mapping reusable waste in Ruhr (Germany) map 1map 2how to

Flow of waste in Mexico City

Exchange of objects map

In Ruhr, we used geo-located photos that we took, and a special instance of Meipi, to show the location of possible reusable waste. In spermola.org, we tried to give the opportunity to exchange an object by providing information about where the object was.

6000km started as an exhibition of 10 big format panorama photos from the Madrid outskirts: landfills, highways, scrapyards, and abandoned places. The project was part of the exhibition and was named Basurama Panorámica. It shows the public different places to envision the consequences of the urban expansion that was occurring at the time. Each photo had a short text attached to it, that served to contextualize and give basic information about it. We didn’t just want ‘awesome’ photos, we wanted to make people understand where and what those locations were. The exhibition had two related maps: urban growth and highways, apart from a location map of all the photographs. Displaying urban developments together with landfills and empty toll highways was the way to show the relation among all the urban metabolism related situations. Empty buildings made for speculation purposes where as waste made for scrapyards. That was 2006, 2 years before Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.

Later on, when we addressed this project in a country scale we studied and mapped all the situations in 6000km.org. “6.000 km” were the kilometers of highway that the government was planning to build until 2020.

Mar Menor Golf Resort – Torre Pacheco, Murcia

3. In which way do you want this work to affect the people and society?

It is difficult to say how a particular project modifies the perception of a situation. In 2006 the real estate bubble was about to burst, but the public perception was saying “prices are never going to drop”, “we are the biggest growing economy in the world”, “keep building, buying, and selling, make money”. Mass media and politicians were basically denying the real estate bubble or saying that the process of land destruction was not sustainable. It was uncommon to address this topic. Nowadays, we can watch and read multiple news, documentaries, and exhibitions about a contemporary ruin or the economic crisis, but that was not the case back in 2006. It is impossible to measure that impact.

However, we were not alone in this task. There were other people talking about these issues as well. An example, El tsunami urbanizador español y mundial from the late Ramón Fernández Durán, or Ramón López de Lucio, that used our exhibition, among other things, to talk about the urban expansion and the backdrops of the star system architecture.  A year later, the Observatorio Metropolitano published a complete study of Madrid that delved deeply in the economical, social, and urban aspect of the situation. Madrid ¿La suma de todos? Globalización, territorio, desigualdad, and Derivart published casastristes.org.

Junkyard Hermanos Lopez – Parla, Madrid

4. Which is the next phase of growth/development your research is undergoing?

We went from the regional scale, Madrid conurbation, to a country scale, Spain, in 6.000km. We created an online map at meipi.org/6000km to display how our research evolved and to open both the information and participation to the public. We went to many of those places to document the sites. We have a full list available of all the studied locations, as we have realized before in Meipi, that maps are not the only way to show spatial information, and that lists can also be very useful.
Global scale: Since we’ve been travelling often to America with Basurama in the last years, we are now exploring ways to talk about these situations on a global scale in PAN AM, Panorama Americana.

Ruins in Vallecas, Madrid  - Click to view original map

Ruins in Vallecas, Madrid – Click to view original map

Photos from the sky: We are also exploring new ways of exploring the territory with cheap balloon mapping technology. Our first results from Spain could be seen in the ruins at PAU del ensanche de Vallecas. Since last year we’ve been collaborating with the Public Laboratory in Boston, where we are mapping the evolution of an ash landfill in the suburbs of the city, Incinerator Landfill in Saugus, MA, USA, as well as mapping the waste locations from Cambridge, MA.
Civic maps: I am involved in a tool kit about civic mapping that will be released this year by the Center for Civic Media.

Alto del Cuco – Pielagos, Cantabria

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

References come from many places: data visualization researchers like Edward Tufte; open hardware and cheap tools by Public Laboratory; Ushahidi and Crowdmap for collective info about maps; vojo.co for collective reporting from cheap phones; and online cartography tools like OpenStreetMap, where we are contributors and try to draw landfills and other non represented places in the map.

All the photos of the article are under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License and are made by Rubén Lorenzo Montero and Pablo Rey Mazón (Basurama). See legal notice.