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Importing Architecture | Exhibition in Oslo

Category: architecture+ecosistema urbano+events+news+⚐ EN

Arkitekturimport

Today, Thursday Nov. 22nd is the official opening of the exhibition Importing Architecture at the NasjonalMuseet of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo. The exhibition will be open to the public from tomorrow until April 2013.

Ecosistema Urbano team is pleased to be part of this exhibition with Dreamhamar project, a collective dream to redesign Hamar’s main public space, Stortorget. Other architecture offices included in the selection are: Steven Holl, MVDRV, Peter Zumthor, Renzo Piano, Vandkunsten, JDS, etc…

Here is the introduction by the curator of the exhibition, Eva Elisabeth Madshus:

An increasing number of foreign architects are winning competitions or receiving commissions in Norway. The exhibition takes up this relatively new and interesting development, which is primarily due to the introduction of the EU directive on competitions and more building activity in Norway than the rest of Europe.

This exhibition presents a selection of foreign architectural firms with projects in Norway. It also provides the basis for examining what this increasing internationalization means for Norwegian architecture’s identity and quality.

– Are foreign architects reinforcing the trend toward a type of globalization that is dissolving national and cultural differences? Or are they even more concerned with formulating a Nordic or Norwegian identity than their Norwegian counterparts?

– Is it possible for an architect to create exceptional architecture in Norway without firsthand experience of Norwegian society, building traditions, climate or the natural environment? Or on the contrary, do foreign architects bring new ideas and ways of thinking that enrich the quality of Norwegian architecture?

– Do the EU’s competition regulations, with their criteria for participation and ranking, ensure that the best architectural projects win? Or are foreign architects displacing their Norwegian counterparts in today’s highly competitive building market?

Debate about foreign influences on architecture is not entirely new. Craftsmen from the continent were involved in building Norwegian mediaeval churches, and after the dissolution of the union in 1814 the country’s new institutions were by and large designed by Danish and German architects. But since the beginning of the 1900s, once architecture was an established course of study at NTH (Norwegian Institute of Technology; today the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim), Norwegian architects have been responsible for the vast majority of building works in the country. It was not until the EU competition regulations were adopted in 1994 that foreign architects began to make inroads in the Norwegian market, and the trend has been sustained by the country’s strong oil-driven economy and numerous public sector building projects. In 2012 the results of these factors are striking: a dozen public building projects designed by foreign architects are either in preparation, under construction, or completed.

The architects included in this exhibition are consummate professionals. Their projects reflect exceptional quality at every stage – planning, design, choice of materials, execution – and many of them will become important sources of inspiration. Norwegian architecture is well served by intensified international competition. Every good architect can acquire competence about the particular context that a building project is always a part of, regardless of national origin. Thus, increasing globalization need not lead to uniformity in architecture.

More info about the exhibition: Oslo Nasjonalmuseet
Photos and details of the projects: Nasjonalmuseet at MyNewsDesk

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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
Web: www.serenachiacchiari.com
Online profiles: Facebook, Linkedin

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ecosistema urbano at the Master in Work Space Design

Category: design+ecosistema urbano+events+news+⚐ EN

Roundtable: What's next in workspaces? Designing with change - clic para ver invitación

Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo will be teaching at the Master in Work Space Design organized by the IE School of Architecture and Design, which will take place next year. They will be conducting the Design and Technology Lab with attended sessions in London and Madrid and on line sessions during winter 2013.

‘The Master in Work Space Design is a pioneering program based on analyses, skills and strategies for understanding and proposing creative ideas for the changing work place. The complex issues affecting the work environment, business and the individual today must take into account changes in technology, new forms of communication, increasing globalization, sustainability and of course, stakeholders’ expectations. Within the Master of Work Space Design all these issues will be explored and the most innovative solutions will be developed’.

Next you can see the prospectus of the Master:

There will be a roundtable next November 23 at RIBA, London, with the topic ‘What’s next in workspaces; designing with change‘.

More information:

Master in Work Space Design: Official site
Roundtable:  Registration

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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: mab12.mediaarchitecture.org
Social media:  Facebook + Twitter

 

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ecosistema urbano lecturing at GSD Harvard

Category: ecosistema urbano+events+⚐ EN

dreamhamar - Ecosistema Urbano

Tomorrow October 16 José Luis Vallejo and Belinda Tato –Harvard GSD Design Critics in Urban Planning and Design– will be speaking on the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve the self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment.

Looking forward to meeting you there!

Tuesday, October 16, from 12:00 pm to 02:00 pm
ecosistema urbano lecture – Harvard GSD website

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ecosistema urbano en GSD Harvard | ¡Lanzando #networkedurbanism!

Category: arquitectura+diseño+ecosistema urbano+educación+urban social design+urbanismo+⚐ EN+⚐ ES

¡Ya hemos comenzado el curso en Harvard! @jlvmateo y @belindatato somos este cuatrimestre de otoño profesores invitados en el máster del GSD de Harvard. Nuestro studio se llama “Networked Urbanism“.

El pasado día 30 de agosto fue la presentación del curso, el llamado “lottery day” donde todos los estudiantes de la escuela asisten a las presentaciones de los profesores invitados cada cuatrimestre y después eligen su grupo favorito. Esta vez, compitiendo por el favor de los estudiantes, podíamos encontrarnos con estrellas del firmamento arquitectónico de las últimas décadas (Nathalie de Vries de MVRDV, Christian Kerez, Ben van Berkel, …).

Esta es una foto del momento de la presentación del curso #networkedurbanism que nos hizo Blanca Abramek (@tendrebarbare) desde el auditorio:

Jose y Belinda en el "lottery day" -  GSD Harvard

Finalmente nos eligieron un grupo de estudiantes con perfiles muy distintos e interesantes, una mezcla de arquitectos, landscape architects y planners.

Group photo #networkedurbanism

Si queréis estar al tanto de la producción de los estudiantes podéis seguir el curso en el blog del studio www.networkedurbanism.com donde estamos compartiendo enlaces y referencias. En Twitter podéis seguir #networkedurbanism donde estamos compartiendo información permanentemente.

Os dejamos con el brief del curso y la presentación. Enjoy it!

Course Description

The boundary between public and private is shifting. The one between personal and professional is becoming increasingly blurred. This rapid evolution has led us to conceive and experience physical space differently than in the past. Real-time connectivity, ubiquity, unlimited access to large flows of information and knowledge, have also altered the way we relate to and work with each other. However, despite those rapid social and technological changes, city planning processes worldwide remain dull, bureaucratic and insensitive to how humans experience the city.

This studio will bring an alternative to the traditional way of designing cities from a bird’s eye view, and a single designer’s perspective. It will not only examine the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes and fluxes.

Students will be encouraged to use this data to develop individual and collective initiatives that generate spontaneous transformations and set up conditions for change instead of delivering a completely finished product.

In a connected world, an urban design should be the result of an open and multilayered network of creative designers, technical experts, citizens and stakeholders. The studio will challenge the students to develop designs that reconcile the existing physical conditions—that respond to lifestyles from the past—with the emerging needs of the citizens through network design thinking.

We will also explore the new role of a designer as an activator, mediator and curator of social processes in a networked reality in which citizens have shifted from being passive receivers or consumers to active producers or prosumers.

Main topics will include: communication and information technology, open data, mobility, open source, transparency/mapping, activism, design thinking and environment awareness.

La presentación original consta de una serie de GIFs animados que se reproducen en bucle mientras se explica cada apartado. Aquí, por facilidad de comprensión, hemos puesto cada animación por separado, acompañada del texto correspondiente de la presentación (en inglés).

00 #networkedurbanism
We are presenting our option studio called Networked Urbanism:

01 What?
Urbanism is the mirror where other aspects of society and layers of information reflect. Architects, Sociologists, economists, geographers, seem to be cloistered in their specificconceptual worlds and focus on developing only certain aspects of the problem linked to their interests and profession:

We believe that in today’s connected world, an urban design should be the result of an openand multilayered network of creative designers, technical experts, citizens andstakeholders, combining design with data, needs, inputs. As David Harvey states in his article The Right to the City:

“The right to the city is not merely a right of access to what already exists, but a right tochange it after our heart’s desire”

Within this new context, it is necessary to explore the new role of the designer as an activator,mediator and curator of social processes in a networked reality in which citizens haveshifted from being passive receivers or consumers to active producers or prosumers:

In addition, Internet is the “space” where the most successful models of collective creationand self-organization are taking place. Internet is the most democratic space, the platformwhere every citizen can express him/herself freely and horizontally, the space where ideasflow in every direction.This studio will bring an alternative to the traditional way of designing cities from a bird’s eyeview, and a single designer’s perspective. It will, not only examine the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes.Students will be challenged to develop designs that reconcile the existing physical conditions-that respond to lifestyles from the past- with the emerging needs of the citizens throughnetwork design thinking.

02 How?
In contrast with a more traditional way of teaching in which information goes unidirectionally from ‘knowledge-owners’ to ‘knowledge receivers’. We do apply the concepts of active learning, which focuses the responsibility of learning, on learners; learning by doing, an active constructive learning process, and networked learning, a process of developing and maintaining connections with people, information and communicating in such a way so as to support one another’s learning. The central term in this definition is connections. Connections among students as well as connections between students and information:

We will become a networked group using a studio Twitter network for sharing knowledge,experiences, references and comments throughout the whole process.

This course is for active, curious, versatile, open minded and creative people regardless their previous background, experience or computer skills.

We understand our role as designers is challenging since one has to overcome all kind of obstacles. So we want to make of this studio a training experience.

You could either be a MacGyver type of personality, being able to implement amazing devices from a piece of cardboard, a chip and chewing gum; or a computer geeky updated version of NEO in the movie Matrix, working on his own individually in a room but actively connected to the network community. You are all welcome.

From all the possible /fascinating cities worldwide, we decided to explore the city that surrounds us: Boston.

04 Where?
Students will be encouraged to explore and discover its community, economy, social networks, environmental challenges, digital layer, physical infrastructure, public space, and more. Creating connections and links between existing initiatives and their own projects.

Instead of experiencing just the physical sphere of the city, we will arrange an anthropological tour to meet interesting professionals who are dealing with urban issues in different ways and by different means. This will give us a different perception of Boston, revealing layers which are currently invisible to us.

05 When?
Instead of air-commuting, parachuting and landing every two weeks, we decided to camp this time.
We will be based in Boston to share the experience with you and make the most out of it, so we will be available every week with studio meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There will be both collective and individual sessions.

In addition the group will be real-time connected with Twitter.

06 So what?
Outcomes from our different teaching experiences are diverse: from socially engaged projects working with the community to designing a responsive interactive façade and building a prototype of it. From working with Arduino electronics, to instantly transforming a deprived corner of the city by hand work getting new reactions from people.

From creating a digital interface to enhance community networking to building a mobile kitchen as a catalyst for the activation of a central city square.Spain, Norway, Denmark, France, Italy, Bahrein, US … different environments and different cultures but always a lot of shared energy and enthusiasm. We are very happy to say that some of these projects developed within the studios grew beyond the academic boundaries becoming professional investigations and businesses:

ecosistema urbano is a Madrid based group of architects and urban designers operating within the fields of urbanism, architecture, engineering and sociology. We define our approach as urban social design by which we understand the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment. We have used this philosophy to design and implement projects in Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, France and China.We have a background in architecture and urban design and we build buildings, we organize demonstrations, we design urban strategies, working in both the physical and digital spheres. We are currently exploring new ways of engaging citizens into urban design matters.

DREAM YOUR CITY is our latest project, developed for the city of Hamar in Norway. It was officially presented short before at the opening of the Biennale of Architecture in Venice:

We hope you enjoy it and get some inspiration for the Fall! We are thrilled to be back here at the GSD and we are looking forward to start!

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Francesco Cingolani | eu collaborators

Category: colaboradores+ecosistema urbano+⚐ EN

Today we introduce Francesco Cingolani, one of our closest collaborators in the past couple of years. In the following post he explains some of his projects and interests, and his experience in Ecosistema Urbano.

Francesco Cingolani

Photo above by urban sociologist Andres Walliser, good friend and collaborator.

I have studied architecture and engineering and I’ve always been interested in the relationship between creativity and new technologies, more than in building. For the last 3 years I’ve been payed to work as an architect, professional blogger and creative project manager. Since 2012 I’ve been teaching parametric design in Paris at “École d’architecture de la ville et des territoires” in Marne-la-Vallée.

I recently started my first projects as entrepreneur: one is a creative cohousing in Madrid and the other is about going into Parisian apartments and create handmade Italian pasta; the project is called farine00 and I’m in this with Valentina, in the photo below. At the moment, people are just crazy about those projects but we still don’t get any income from them. Old story.

Farine00

Photo above by flo – flickr.com

I am 34, Italian and I have been living in Paris for 9 years. 3 years ago I quit my job at Hugh Dutton Associates to move to Madrid and work with Ecosistema Urbano, Basurama, Meipi and other amazing people from Spain.

In Ecosistema Urbano, I was in charge of the DIGITAL COORDINATION of dreamhamar, a network design and participation process in Norway. It was the most interesting project I participated since I am working. It was also the most stressful one. Old story.

Thanks to dreamhamar I’ve learnt more about complex systems and emergency phenomena.

I think that the most interesting shift in recent design experience is that we have passed from designing object to designing networks and processes. That’s why for dreamhamar we’ve developed a network design methodology. As a project manager, I also applied minimalism as a management tool for highly complex processes which often tend to information overload.

At Ecosistema Urbano I also was in charge of the development of Urban Social Design Experience, a network learning experience focused on participatory processes and sustainability.

Before that, I took part in some more architectural projects. I especially like this one with Ecosistema Urbano and Koz and the new Louvre in Paris with Hugh Dutton Associates, that is opening in September (photo below).

Département des Arts de l’Islam, musée du Louvre, Paris

Département des Arts de l’Islam, musée du Louvre, Paris
Client: Etablissement Public du Musée du Louvre
Architects: Rudy Ricciotti et Mario Bellini
Muséography: Renaud Piérard and Mario Bellini
Facade and Structure Consultants: HDA | Hugh Dutton Associés
Photo: “La couverture de la cour Visconti, département des Arts de l’Islam, musée du Louvre”
© R. Ricciotti – M. Bellini / Musée du Louvre
© photo 2011 Musée du Louvre / Olivier Ouadah

Since january 2012, I am trying to work no more than 3 hours per day and check my email box only 3 times a week. The italian newspaper “Il Corriere della Sera” featured my story as an example of downshifting in its magazine “Sette”.

I am a walker, and last year I realised intraverso, a slowlife and storytelling project in collaboration with the Italian magazine whymarche. The project included a slow, walking trip through Italian countryside and a digital journal.

Since 4 months ago I am moving through Europe and working remotely without a unique location, even if I consider Paris as my principal home. I don’t have a clear idea of what I am doing in the next future. Looking for new stories.

When writing for the Internet like this, I like sharing details of my physical location:

Montecanepino, (Italy), 11.47 AM August 8th 2012.

Here is a photo of my window right now.

Montecanepino, (Italy), 11.47 AM August 8th 2012.

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Dreamhamar + Den Kulturelle Skolesekken | Education, culture and ideas

Category: dreamhamar+ecosistema urbano+events+network design+⚐ EN

The Cultural Rucksack (Den Kulturelle Skolesekken) is a Norwegian national programme for art and culture provided by professionals in Norwegian schools. The programme helps school pupils to become acquainted with all kinds of professional art and cultural expressions. Last year Hamar Kommune decide to connect it with the project Dreamhamar which was at that point under development. This meant that 1292 students from different local schools joined dreamhamar providing their own ideas for the square Stortorget.

Kids drawings Cultural Rucksack 2011 - click to enlarge

Kids drawings Cultural Rucksack 2011 - click to enlarge

From fountains to hot dogs, from ice skating rinks to dancing contests, all sort of ideas emerged through the process and some of them made it through influencing the final design.

This year, again, the Kommune joined Den Kulturelle Skolesekken with Dreamhamar and our colleague Liz Eva Tollefsen is working on site, sharing with a new group of students the whole creative process as well as the final design we delivered last July.

Liz Eva Tøllefsen presenting the Cultural Rucksack

Liz Eva Tøllefsen presenting the Cultural Rucksack

We are really looking forward to see this year’s ideas and we hope kids get interested on urban landscape and design.

If you are curious about last year’s activities, you can check our Flickr galleries, featuring a small selection of the more than 1000 drawings and models we collected:

Drawings from Cultural Rucksack.
Models from Cultural Rucksack
More photos from Cultural Rucksack

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Dream Your City | Ecosistema Urbano at Venice Biennale of Architecture 2012

Category: design+dreamhamar+ecosistema urbano+events+network design+social toolbox+urban social design+⚐ EN

Dream Your City - Ecosistema Urbano at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2012

Dream Your City - Ecosistema Urbano at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2012

Dream Your City - Ecosistema Urbano at the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2012

From past August 27th to November 25th, the Venice Biennale of Architecture, titled “Common Ground”, is open to visitors; and so is SpainLab, the Spanish pavilion, in which we were invited to take part for this edition.

The curators Antón García-Abril and Débora Mesa proposed us to show the way we work, according to the “lab” approach of the pavilion. We decided to do this with a single project, Dreamhamar, which incorporates many of the concepts, objectives and means that Ecosistema Urbano has been working on and is currently experimenting with: urban development, advocacy, citizen participation, workshops, digital tools, design, open culture, network learning, urban actions, network design…

We understand the role of the architect and urban planner is undergoing a huge transformation according to the new needs of contemporary society. This forces us to redevelop a whole “set of tools” to be able to meet these new needs and challenges. Under the title of DREAM YOUR CITY we explain these new tools or methods we are dealing with and the way we think network design can be applied to socially engaged designs for the creation of city spaces. This 90 seconds movie illustrates how we understand network design and how we specifically implemented it in Hamar or how it could be applied somewhere else.


Video by ecosistema urbano + forma.co

Considering the ephemeral nature of the exhibition, we chose to make it a simple, lightweight installation, consistent with the way we are used to work in this kind of projects: trying to get the most out of minimal resources and low-cost means. Almost all materials needed for the installation were taken to Venice by ourselves, as checked-in luggage.

The paint that covers the floor and the walls, made by urban artists Boamistura, transforms the perception and character of the space with a single intervention, bringing to the hall the look and feel of the previous PaintHamar urban action in Stortorget, the main square of Hamar. The natural light, the seats integrated on the floor and the trampoline all recall that outdoor public space and invite visitors to occupy it with their minds and bodies.

Seven small screens show videos telling different aspects of the network design process we deployed in Hamar, giving the visitor some brief glimpses of the variety and complexity of the project without trying to explain it thoroughly –which will be done soon in a more suitable format.

A series of real-scale pictures of various day-to-day objects that were used during Dreamhamar, some of them being physically on display, show the variety of work/life situations that the team had to cope with while working in this project both remotely from Madrid and locally in Norway. From the more disciplinary tools to objects related to social life or cultural events, they evoke the changing role of the urban professional.

Here are some quick photos we shot during the process, taken from the Flickr gallery.

Created with flickr slideshow.
We invite you to visit the installation, have some fun jumping on the trampoline and imagining you are in Stortorget, and share your thoughts –and your photos!– with us on Twitter, Facebook or just down here in the comments.

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Becas IAAC 2012-2013

Category: architecture+creativity+new technologies+news+urbanism+⚐ EN

IAAC scholarships

 

More information:

www.iaac.net
www.iaacblog.com
www.fablabbcn.org

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Siri Brudvik | EU collaborators

Category: colaboradores+⚐ EN

Siri is a Norwegian architect, and started working at Ecosistema Urbano for the urban design development of the dreamhamar project in march 2012. When she was told about the opportunity to work for Ecosistema Urbano, she literally jumped on the next flight from Oslo to Madrid. Siri is excited to be part of the EU and dreamhamar team, and she says her first impression was: “It’s is going to be an interesting experience. This is a great team of people!”

Siri, as seen by photographer Emilio P. Doiztúa
This amazing photo was taken by Emilio P. Doiztúa at the Ecosistema Urbano office.

Siri is specially interested in how the inputs from the participatory process based upon network design are going to influence the future development of both the particular square, Stortorget, and the mentality of the citizens of Hamar regarding their involvement and ownership to their local public spaces.

Siri hopes both to contribute to develop the physical realisation of the urban design project into a well-functioning public space, and to push the investigations of the possibilities of participatory elements after the completion of the physical design.

Heimstadlære

Back home in Oslo, Siri has her own small office, and she is dividing her time between working with architectural projects and on “Heimstadlære”, together with Ulrika Staugaard (architect). Heimstadlære is focusing on placemaking, urban development, discussions about public space and bottom-up/participatory processes. At the moment Heimstadlære is collaborating with other artists on the cross-disciplinary project “Bok på Veitvet”; an “Open Source Library” based on trust and self-organizing tools in Oslo.

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Ecosistema Urbano prequalifies for a planning competition in Kiruna, Sweden

Category: competitions+ecosistema urbano+news+urbanism+⚐ EN

Ecosistema Urbano has, together with the Norwegian architecture office 70°N arkitektur, the Danish landscape studio Kristine Jensen, the Swedish lighting firm Ljusarkitektur and Atkins engineers, been prequalified for the planning competition in Kiruna, Sweden.

Kiruna kommune has shortlisted 10 international teams —out of 56 that were applying— for the next phase of the competition.

Kiruna Center from the southwest, with the LKAB facilities in the foreground

It’s an unusual, but very interesting challenge the Municipality of Kiruna is facing after more than a century of mining by the LKAB company. The ground is becoming unstable as some of the main tunnels are localised right underneath the city, so the city centre and all other areas affected will have to be relocated. In a time frame of approximately 20 to 25 years, some 400,000 sq. m. of housing and non-housing development will need to be replaced within the forecasting line of LKAB’s next main level, 1,365 metres below ground.

Map of Kiruna

The aim for the competition is to create a sustainable, distinctive and pleasant urban environment, a city centre linking together surrounding housing and industrial areas with the whole city and constituting the natural hub of the new Kiruna. This is an opportunity for creating something completely new, emanating from Kiruna’s unique history, to accommodate future needs and the desire for good living in an Arctic climate.

Kiruna, view of the city centre

We are very excited to start working with the other firms in our team in this competition, and we look forward to develop the future Kiruna during autumn 2012.

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Herligheten, urban gardening in Oslo

Category: placemaking+sustainability+⚐ EN

Do you have a dream about planting your own mango tree? The statistic probability that you who are reading this live in the city is over fifty percent, and the number is increasing. This means that fewer and fewer of us have the opportunity to grow our own fruit and vegetables, but are entirely dependent on the increasingly industrialized and transport-based large-scale agriculture.

Urban food production is a growing trend in many cities, and productive green spaces emerge on rooftops, in ditches, between buildings and on the left-over spaces without a specific use. The motives for cultivating food are diverse, some see it as part of a strategy to increase awareness and knowledge about the food we eat (food safety), others will create a focus on local food as one of the solutions to environmental challenges, while others grow their own garden just because it’s pleasure and to save money. Jennifer Cockrall-King claims in the book Food and the City that we are facing a food revolution as we have passed both the oil peak and peak water, and this begins to affect a growing global population:

Food and the City examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their “food security” into their own hands.

Working at Herligheten - Photo by Christoffer Olavsson Evju

In Oslo, Norway, urban farming occurs in a smaller scale, including the Geitmyra allotment garden where you can be assigned a soil patch for cultivation, and as guerrilla gardens, a more freely and actionist activity where the city’s leftover spaces are used for food production without formal permission of the landowners. The latest addition to this green trend where you can grow your own vegetables in Oslo is Herligheten (The Glory), an ecological initiative and project about urban food production initiated in April 2012 and developed during April and May 2012.

As part of a long-term development and urbanization of the waterfront in Oslo, the developer Bjørvika Utvikling has carried out several temporary projects from stunts to pavilions which have been standing there for a few years. The events and installations are bringing human activity into an area that for many years has been characterized by construction activities, but Herligheten differs from previous projects by a greater degree of activation of users and visitors, who are now shaping the new area of the city with green and consumable pleasures.

Working at Herligheten - Photo by Christoffer Olavsson Evju

Herligheten is located at Loallmenningen in Bjørvika, a rocky “island” in the middle of a rough building site surrounded by roads, railway lines and the ventilation towers for the submerged tunnel underneath. It has found its home in an apparently gray and idle landscape between the Medieval park and the Oslo fjord, which has for many years been seen as a lifeless place in wait for better conditions. But during a few hectic weeks during spring the area has experienced a small, green revolution worked out by diligent volunteers who have transformed it into an oasis consisting of consumable plants, in what was previously a closed area for city residents.

Herligheten - Photo by Christoffer Olavsson Evju

As of today Herligheten consists of three main parts: Herligheten Allotment Garden with 100 allotments, a field measuring 250 m2 where several types of ancient grain such as spelt, emmer, einkorn and bere barley will grow, and an activity program consisting of a number of events and seminars for learning and exchanging ideas. As many as 3790 people applied in April to take part in Herligheten through the disposal of one of the 100 allotments, so it is clear that the people in Oslo have ambition to develop their green thumbs. We wish them good luck with the green revolution!

Read more:

About Herligheten in English
Flickr gallery. It will be updated soon with photos of the growing plants!

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Ecosistema Urbano in the winning team for Albertslund Syd

Category: colaboraciones+competitions+ecosistema urbano+⚐ EN

Last year, 2011, when we moved to Hamar and started working for the new Stortorget, we had the opportunity to meet Vandkunsten, the danish office responsible for the design of the new Culture house in Hamar. We then started to know more about their work and different and interesting projects.Albertslund Syd recreationFrom this encounter, we cooperated together for the competition of Albertslund Syd, an intervention for the renovation of 1.000 courtyard houses in Copenhagen. The team also included other companies and professionals as Wissenberg, Transolar, Lise Gamst, Imagine Envelope, etc. The task was to develop the best suggestion for the renovation of the houses and to provide ideas for the urban architectural vision for improving Albertslund Syd.

Albertslund Syd diagrams

Last week we found out we have won the competition. We are very excited about this, and we are looking forward to start this new cooperation!

Albertslund Syd diagrams 2

The full report with jury evaluations is available at  www.masterplansyd.dk and at the website of the Albertslund Kommune.

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Urban land teleconnections and sustainability

Category: research+sustainability+urbanism+⚐ EN

Review of the paper “Urban land teleconnections” by Karen C. Seto, Anette Reenberg, Christopher G. Boone, Michail Fragkias, Dagmar Haase, Tobias Langanke, Peter Marcotullio, Darla K. Munroe, Branislav Olah and David Simon.

Recently a research paper was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) concerning the conceptual development of global sustainability, in relation to both urbanization (urban sustainability) and land change. The paper argues that land change and urbanization dynamics are explicitly connected, and suggests “urban land teleconnections” as a new framework for dealing with global sustainability.

Urban Land Teleconnections

“We propose urban land teleconnections as a process-based framework for integrating urbanization and land change, for revealing their linkages and pathways across space and time, and for identifying potential intervention points for sustainability. Through the lens of urban land teleconnections, new and surprising diverse urban forms and processes, such as periurbanization, can be better understood and foreseen. The urban land teleconnections concept could also be useful to the wider research community to anticipate implications for global land resource use.”

More and more people live in the cities. The increasing urbanization is raising many discussions about sustainable planning, and this recently published paper feeds the debate with new inputs. Encouraging a reconsideration of the terms on which we base sustainable policies, the research is widening again our perception of the relationship between the urban field and land. The term “teleconnections” refers to climate science, where it is understood that events have impact over large geographic areas – when the waters of the North Atlantic go through a warm phase, fire incidents increase in the western United States. Just such urban land teleconnections explain the interrelation and invisible bond between urban processes and land use processes, which we must consider when planning our sustainable future. The key to develop strong sustainable planning, is to stop thinking of urban sustainability and land use sustainability as limited to local scale and place, and instead start to take into account the processes and global connections merging urbanization and land use.

“The virtual shrinking of distances between places, strengthening connectivity between distant locations, and growing separation between places of consumption and production are emerging topics in “telecoupled” human–natural systems and tropical teleconnections of deforestation [...] In an increasingly urban world, characterized by global flows of commodities, capital, and people, where land that provides goods and ecosystems services for people is becoming more segregated from the space of habitation, teleconnections captures links between distant processes and places, and can be used to explore consequences of urbanization and land changes at great distances from points of origin that would otherwise go unrecognized.”

Urban Land Teleconnections

Urbanization and land change have so far been treated as parallel processes. Apparently this has limited the progress of the concept of sustainability. The paper states that a simultaneously treating of urban sustainability and land change as interwoven, non-separable processes is the keystone to advance in developing sustainability:

“The magnitude and accelerating rate of contemporary urbanization are reshaping land use locally and globally in ways that require a reexamination of land change and urban sustainability. Worldwide, urban populations are projected to increase by almost 3 billion by 2050 and the total global urban land area by more than 1.5 million square kilometers—an area three times the size of Spain—by 2030. Urban economies currently generate more than 90% of global gross value added, meaning few rural systems are unaffected by urbanization (3). Given such trends, we must reconsider how we conceptualize the many connections and feedbacks between urbanization and land change processes.”

The paper is confronting three understandings of the urban – land relationship that so far have been key themes in sustainability policies.

One is the Land Classification Systems, on which the paper states:

“By definition, because urban is human-dominated, urban areas “appropriate” natural ecosystems, ecosystem services, and natural capital. By this logic, urban cannot be natural capital. However, such a conceptualization contradicts underlying principles of urban ecology as well as sustainability.”

The second theme is Place-Based Definitions:

“The place-based conceptualization enforces the idea that urban sustainability requires urban self-sufficiency. [...] However, decisions and behaviors that are local or even regional in scope do not account for critical consequences of teleconnections, which may undermine sustainability efforts at great distances or influence the overall sustainability for the entire system. Eating locally might undermine livelihoods of distant farmers who may be using less energy-intensive methods to produce food than local growers. Put another way, sustainability initiatives often focus on the importance of place while ignoring the processes of urbanization that may have farreaching effects on distant places and people. These processes can generate uneven and undesirable outcomes that may be undetected when focusing solely on place.”

On the third theme, Land Transitions, the paper argues:

“[...] Although not always explicit, a common assumption is that land transitions in Europe and North America can help understand future trends in Asia, South America, and Africa. Such assumptions disregard the realities that cultural differences influence conceptions, codifications, and uses of space and land, and that use of distant land to meet demand for local populations can significantly alter the pathways of change. As a result, there is no universal or linear transition process; phases identified in one context can be shortened, prolonged, overlapped, or even omitted or transgressed elsewhere.

Urban Land Teleconnections

Urban Land Teleconnections is suggested as a new key theme, a framework to address sustainability. In an immediate invisible network, urbanization and land change are constantly in a process of affecting one another. The term itself indicates that the concept of sustainable urbanization and sustainable land use has merged. Conceptualization of sustainability should contain both processes at once.

“By using an urban land teleconnections framework, we move away from conceptualizing urban sustainability and land as attributes specific only to a place, to begin to link dynamic global processes to their spatial “imprint”.”

This means that changes in nonurban places affects urban places and that change in urban space affects nonurban space. In this way, urban and land relations are interwoven in a global network wherein neither the themes Land Classification Systems, Place-Based Definitions nor Land Transitions can stand alone to define the framework for developing sustainable concepts.

“ [...] we can study multiple urban regions jointly, rather than trying to aggregate and generalize across many disconnected sets of case studies, and consequently provide a more organized way to integrate knowledge globally. A more holistic analysis of the underlying and spatial effects of production, consumption, and disposal will enable development of policies that promote viable and fair solutions, and ultimately global sustainability.”

Further reading: Urban Land Teleconnections paper – PDF

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Ecosistema Urbano lecture in Tromsø

Category: ecosistema urbano+events+news+⚐ EN

Ecosistema Urbano will lecture next Thursday in Tromsø, a city located 1.643 km north from Oslo. The lecture is hosted by the North Norwegian Architects Association and will take place at Drivloftet, starting at 8.30 pm on Thursday,  14th.

I will present Ecosistema Urbano latest works, including dreamhamar, the project we are currently developing for the main public space of Hamar, Norway.

Tromsø in the North

By the way, this is the further north I have ever been to… I guess their summer is different from ours.

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EU collaborators | Ekaterina Kozhevnikova

Category: colaboradores+⚐ EN

Today we’re glad to welcome a new intern: Ekaterina Kozhevnikova. She will be staying here for the next 3 months and taking part in the different projects that are going on at Ecosistema Urbano. And you’ll be reading soon some articles of her own on this blog, because she comes with a lots of ideas to share. Welcome, Kate!

Kate in the workshop 'Una scuola Sostenibele' Turin

As she says:

About 1 year ago I graduated as an architect in one of the Siberian cities in Russia. Then I became really interested in the topic of Sustainability and decided to go to Italy to find out more about that topic. I chose the Professional Master in Sustainable architecture that was held in Turin. One of the cities in Italy that really pays a lot of attention to the way of using renewable energy and reduction of CO2 emissions. During the period of study I was involved into the workshops and researches that explained the way of sustainable design, not just using the environmental strategies, but also the tools. So it let me discover new and great ways of designing.
I was always interested in the urban design that collaborates with the buildings and the environment, so the Ecosistema Urbano’s way of work seems really inspiring for me. I hope during the period of my collaboration I will improve my skills and see the practical side of designing.

Kate in Roma

And here is Ekaterina’s short profile and related links:

Occupation: Master Sustainable architecture IED Torino (graduated)
Interests:  Sightseeing / Travelling, Theatre, Painting / Body art, Sculpting, Hand made
City/country: Tyumen / Russia
Web:  Online portfolio
Social profiles: Facebook | VK
Ekaterina’s posts on ecosistemaurbano.org

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Open Source Urbanism | Open Source City

Category: open culture+urbanism+⚐ EN

Joshua Gajownik modified by Francesco Cingolani.">Image by Joshua Gajownik modified by Francesco Cingolani.

Today I want to share an article that was previously published in Studio Magazine. On this occasion, I would like to thank their coordination team for inviting me to join their first release.

Summary /Overview

 
Traditional media don’t broadcast what the citizens are debating or organizing on a daily basis. Nevertheless, thanks to Social Networks, people can receive information and interact in real time with others, taking part in debates and social movements; and the 15th of May in Spain is an example of this.

This new information ecosystem reduces the influence of the mass media and slowly forces local authorities to relate to citizens in a more direct and horizontal way.

This is a great opportunity to generate a new “social control” model, pushing local authorities to take public opinion into account.

The digital media offers a broad environment for communication so that the organisation of any given action is greatly improved; everything becomes decentralized while simultaneously connected and synchronized.

On the urban scale, we speak of the “Sentient City”, a model based on a technological/social ecosystem, where knowledge, collective actions, and interactions between individuals and groups are encouraged, taking advantage of the new possibilities offered by hybridizing physical and digital layers.

In reversing the supremacy of centralisation over individual actions, citizens can become aware of their power and organize themselves on the web.
We have the necessary technology, knowledge and dynamics to put in place more open processes of urban administration and management. Citizens have already started to move; and although public administration could take advantage of such independent and autonomous processes to deal with complex situations, it appears that a clear political will is still lacking.

The fragmented city

 
Today, the dimensions of time and space, which were historically strongly linked in a space-time continuum, are increasingly growing apart and becoming independent, in a fragmented spatial perception. Nowadays a large number of people are moving from one point to another of the city to reach their workplace, and go back home. The distance between these two points (spatial dimension) and what happens between them does not affect or interest these people in any way. Indeed, the only thing people are concerned with is the duration of the trip (time dimension).
The city is no longer a continuous place, but a structure of nodes connected in a network (network city). These nodes become increasingly more defined, organised and efficient and, the journeys between them shorter and faster thanks to technical progress. The spaces of a city that have no particular characteristics and a unique function, that is to say everything that is not a node, loose significance, including public spaces.

In such city – the “fragmented city” – we use low cost technologies (internet, telephone and transport) to move, to manage our social relationships, and to communicate with people with whom we don’t necesarilly share a common physical space like a neighbourhood.

Very often the complexity of one point exclusively consists in giving access to other points, hence the importance that movement has acquired today. Instead of living in a continuous space, we continuously move between discontinuous spaces (points or nodes).

This networked structure, unlike a continuous structure, reduces diversity and complexity. The less diversity and complexity, the greater the need to move. Every point has its function and identity. Everything seems more organised and easier to find. However, to find what we are looking for, we are compelled to move constantly to other nodes.

The majority of these journeys are done by means of transport, at a speed that does not allow any relationship with the surroundings. There is a starting point and a finishing point, with little opportunity for a surprise or a change. All this implies an impoverishment of the intermediate spaces, spaces that link different points: places are consequently public spaces.

In order to transform these kinds of cities, it is essential to intervene in everyday aspects of life which might appear to have no relationship with the design of public spaces in urban areas.

Our lifestyles are two dimensional: in situ and virtual. Now we are able to intervene in the new dimension, what we commonly call “virtual” or “digital”, . As the sociologist Manuel Castells says “Everything we do, from when the day begins until it is over, we do it with internet […] the connexion between in-situ (not real because reality is virtual and in situ at the same time) and virtual is established by us. There are not two different societies, there are two kinds of social activities and relations within ourselves. We are the ones that have to search the best way to arrange and adapt them.

francescocingolani.info">fragmented cityImage by Francesco Cingolani | francescocingolani.info

Public Space, Sentient Space

 
According to Daniel Innerarty, in the city the homogeneous and non changing area is nothing more than an extreme case within a global area of connected local multiplicities. Instead of neighbourhoods, local networks are developed, and public debate takes place in a virtual area. In this scenario, streets and squares have ceased to be the main meeting areas.

Internet seems to offer an alternative “space” for social relationships as compared to “traditional” spaces. This can be seen as a problem leading to empty public spaces; or on the contrary, it can be considered an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen social relationships by creating the necessary budgets to improve the vitality of public spaces. Today the Internet is the “place” where community models of management are being experimented.

I believe it is important to reconsider the city as something built by everyone, and to see public areas as the ground where this process can take place. Today we have tools available that are able to act as a catalyst for participatory dynamics that were previously impossible to coordinate. There are increasing examples of processes of creation by citizens, linked to the use of new technologies. It is undeniable that Internet is a key factor contributing to changing the society. That being said I believe it is obvious that we cannot think of public space without taking into consideration the potentialities of these technologies, how they are used and how they can be an added value.

We should begin to talk about a new type of public space, a hybrid space, where technology could become a catalyst for hybridising dynamics between activities that are not traditionally connected or that are located in other (private) spaces.

Juan Freire explains this clearly: “The differentiation between spaces and physical and virtual communities is outdated. We are witnessing a hybridising process which modifies our individual identities, communitarian and territorial. Internet has contributed to the development of global networks, but paradoxically it has had a less noticeable influence in local spheres. However, digital technologies modify radically the way in which we are organised and we relate to our environment so we are already living in territories where the digital realm is as important as the physical. The hyper-local networks and hybrid public spaces are the new realities which we confront with the advent of Internet and digital culture in our local environment”.

According to Juan Freire the crisis of public (physical) spaces in urban areas is also due to the lack of (open) design, giving the citizens, once more, the opportunity to take a real interest in its use. It has also brought into debate concepts such as “hybrid spaces”, to refer to the opportunities that the hybridising of the physical with the digital sphere offers in public spaces.
We can grant the assumption of the existence of a digital skin that characterizes public spaces and devote ourselves to defining its qualities and characteristics. Instead of “hybrid” I like to use the concept of “sensitive”. “Sensitive space” refers to the “living” character of these spaces; to their capacity to promote a two-way relationship with its users, to catalyse hyper-local social networks and to visualise information related to the environment in a transparent manner.

francescocingolani.info">prosumerImage by Francesco Cingolani | francescocingolani.info

Social networks and Self-organization

 
If we analyze the increase in the use of social networks on the Internet we realize that we are witnessing a process of change that will lead to the disappearance of the current dissociation between digital and in-situ identity.
Most people can continue living in complete normality without having to take care of their digital (identity) presence in social networks. Nevertheless, it is highly probable that in a few years time the concept of identity will inevitably integrate both the digital and the physical dimension. Consequently, each person will be forced to take as much care of their digital identity as of their physical identity, something that many people have been doing for some time already.

We must take several specific factors of this new kind of identity into consideration such as its peculiar time dimension. The building process of the digital identity over time leaves a footprint on the web, a visible footprint that is accessible to any user. The end result is an identity that is perceived as a sum of the past (footprint) and present identity.

Generally we control our public image by showing at each time only what we wish. However, when our identity leaves a footprint on the internet, we no longer have exclusive control over it but it is shared amongst friends and acquaintances (namely the peer group).

Each person that knows me can publish information (photographs, texts, etc…) that are directly or indirectly related to my identity without the need of my approval. This is what happens in most of the social networks.

Certainly, my digital identity will be entirely integrated in the learning process and will be increasingly associated to a physical space; that is, the idea we had about a parallel digital identity that is detached from reality does not, I think, interest anyone: in fact we do not even have time to create parallel identities.

Our identity is not only formed by way of the information that my friends and I have published, but also through the information that my devices publish. An example could be the use of services like Foursquare that allows me to upload posts in my social networks about my location at any time, taking advantage of the internet connection of our mobile phones.

To explain this phenomenon Tim Berners-Lee mentions Giant Global Graph, this means, the future Semantic Web with which we shall go from gathering the relationship between people to focus on the relationship between people and their interests (documents). Thus, if the “Internet” has allowed us to connect computers and the “Web” has allowed us to connect documents, then the “Graph” will allow us to link the documents (places, objects, etc.) and the people. So we could define the Graph as the third level of abstraction, taking into account that in each layer (Internet, Web, or Graph) we have handed over some control only in order to reach bigger benefits. A direct consequence of these dynamics is the definite statement of a (unique) identity on the web that can be recognized by any agent, person or application.

This unmistakable digital identity facilitates the development of innovative social hardware projects based on participation of a non-collective nature, where the dynamics of collaboration are the result of individual action and interaction. We are progressively discovering the self-organisation of informed societies that are capable of revolutionizing their own structures taking advantage of the virtual mirror phenomenon that enables the association of information on a given situation with individual decisions.

francescocingolani.info based on flickr images by garpa.net & See-ming Lee">open source urbanismImage by Francesco Cingolani | francescocingolani.info based on flickr images by garpa.net & See-ming Lee

Control and decentralization

 
Social networks reinforce a new type of control: a decentralized control operated by a diversity of independent individuals that collaborate, using shared and mobile capacities of calculation and communication. Information and Communication Technologies do not present a solution, but an opportunity to improve our ability to manage territories. ICT’s can be used for many different purposes. On the one hand their enormous capacity for processing data can be used to centralize all the information and try to “solve” urban complexity; but they can also be used to open and decentralize decision-making.

The aim is to research on how ICT’s allow us to define an urban administration structure where discontinued points of control exist in an environment of self-determination (appropriation) and liberty. This is an idea that is close to the definition of tensegrity that Buckminster Fuller mentions: “islands in compression inside a tense ocean“.

The introduction of digital technologies within the physical space enables the development of new communication dynamics and relations between neighbours that improves the cohesion of local communities and their quality of life, offering a feeling of greater security.

Thanks to new technologies and to some cultural “mutations”, systems and worlds that were previously closed and not very transparent, are now open to the participation of agents (and people) who are external to their organisational structures. Citizens become more available to participate and collaborate because they are better informed and they are finally considered as useful partners for the urban administration. Architects and urban planners can reasonably begin to work keeping in touch constantly with citizens, “sharing” their decision-making “powers”.

To explain this phenomenon we can refer to the concept of “long tail” coined by Cris Anderson. The Internet and the digital environment have changed the (power) distribution laws and the market rules. The present political and economic system is based on a pyramid structure where the power (or the economic or creative potential) of many is considered inferior to the power of those that stand on the highest part of the pyramid. There is a new system based on the addition or accumulation of all the small potentials (or powers) of the mass of citizens that, thanks to the systems of communication on the internet, can equal or exceed the power (or potential) of those who are in a privileged position today. These are the old markets of masses and the new niche of markets that are pictured at the top and the bottom of the well known graph of statistical distribution.

The presence of a centralized identity is not needed when the control and feedback devices allow the actors to visualize or to become aware of the consequence of their actions. The unconscious self-organisation phenomenon becomes conscious and intended control when the individuals are allowed to understand the effects of their actions. The concept of tensegrity comes in here when it refers to an administration model where decentralized and centralized decisions are joined, avoiding the appearance of any closed and omnipresent control dynamics.

Reversing the supremacy of centralization over individual decisions, citizens can become aware of their actions and intentionally coordinate them. This process may help to restore the necessary legitimacy and credibility to the interventions that take place in degraded urban areas.

francescocingolani.info">control y descentralizacion Image by Francesco Cingolani | francescocingolani.info

Towards participation: Accountability and open data

 
“Participation demands an information system, an observatory and indicators that will regularly reflect the situation of what we consider as key variables to establish our evolution, that should be accessible and comprehensible for citizens” (Agustín Hernández Aja, 2002)

In 2002, Hernández Aja, Urban planning professor at the Universidad Politécnica in Madrid, describes the essential assumptions for citizen participation. A decade later, communication models and administration dynamics that bring us close to these assumptions start to become popular.

I would like to highlight (point out) accountability and the Open Data movement.

Approaching the term accountability we can create an ecosystem of communication and transparency that can enable citizens to demand responsibilities from governing bodies. This would help us to reach the objective of decentralizing control, which is necessary for a true democracy.

Open Parlamento (openparlamento.it) is a great example of how to work to achieve accountability. It is a web-based tool that enables distributed monitoring of the work of the members of parliament in the Italian parliament.

The web page offers lots of information on draft legislation, and in general, about all the activities in the Parliament. Most interesting of all is the distributed monitoring system that allows for control of every Member of Parliament’s political activities. Every citizen can “adopt” a member and publish all their declarations and confront them with their parliamentary activity.

We can imagine this same system applied on a local scale, where citizens have greater organization capacities and power to exert pressure. The control to which all the local administrators would be subject to, would be so intense that they would nearly be obliged to start up a transformation of the administrative structures towards a more open and participatory model.

The Open Data movement is an important drive towards achieving transparency over public administration. Open Data consists of making Public Administration data available for the public, such as data related to projects that are financed with public money or managed by public institutions.

The aim is to take advantage of the data that the public administrations do not want or do not have the capacity to analyze. Releasing this data enables any person or organization to build new consultation and visualization formulas, to simplify, diversify and even to enrich the initial information.

In Spain, within this new tendency, the Open Data Euskadi project should be highlighted. It is part of the Open Government initiative of the Bask Government: a website dedicated to the exhibition of public data in a re-usable format, under open licenses. On an urban scale, two projects stand out that have been activated by two Spanish cities; Zaragoza and Córdoba. They are beginning to take their first steps in the world of Open Data.

I am convinced that citizen pressure will force all the big cities to join this process of openness and transparency.

francescocingolani.info REAL-TIME CITY | a proposal for Smart Turin by HDA | Hugh Dutton Associés.">sentient cityImage by Francesco Cingolani | francescocingolani.info REAL-TIME CITY | a proposal for Smart Turin by HDA | Hugh Dutton Associés.

Open source and Network Awareness

 
As we mentioned previously, reversing the supremacy of centralization over individual actions, citizens can become aware of their “power” and begin to organize in networks.
We have the technology the knowledge and the dynamics available to introduce more open urban administration processes. Citizens have begun to move; the administrations could take advantage of these autonomous and independent processes, to manage very complex situations. However, a clear political will is still lacking.

Probably the administrators have managed to delay the transition towards a new participatory administration model, thanks to the indirect or even direct support of what is known as the “fourth power”: the media. The current information system still offers the administrators and the “powerful” a wide opportunity to manipulate and control certain processes.
The emergence of a more distributed information model is beginning to offer to any citizen the possibility to produce relevant local information. A communication ecosystem based on social media is born.
This new information ecosystem can reduce the influence of the mass media and therefore force the local administrators to enforce accountability regarding the decisions that are taken. The administrators will be compelled to relate to this new, more horizontal and distributed form of communication: an opportunity to generate “social control” that can improve transparency and force the local administrators to take the public opinion into account.

A clear example of what is being presented here, are the latest citizen mobilizations that are happening in Spain. After the 15M demonstration, an organized and authorized event, many occupations took place in numerous squares in the whole of Spain. These camps were organized in a matter of hours using Twitter and Facebook. It is impossible to exert control over these information flows and action catalysts like the occupations. Steps have been taken towards a model in which governors and administrators are going to have to understand that they cannot continue to ignore the citizens while they defend the interests of others.

We are witnessing an innovative construction process of a new communal and public sphere; the development of a new model of public space that we have called “sensitive space”. Traditional media don’t communicate what we the people are debating on a daily basis, nonetheless, thanks to Social Networks, people can receive information and interact in real time with others taking part in debates and social movements, the example of the occupation of public squares is an example of this.

It is interesting to note that the in-situ (on-site) realm is absolutely essential and how the digital media is simply offering a wider environment for communication so that the organisation of any given action is greatly improved; everything becomes decentralized while at the same time connected and synchronized.

These processes seem to be nearly inevitable. Once they are established as natural local administration processes then we will be speaking about a more favorable environment, for an Open Source City, that is, a city open to everyone’s participation.

Julio Albarrán">Flickr image by Julio Albarrán

This article was originally published in urbanohumano.org and Studio Magazine.

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Climate Change Adaptation in Kokkedal

Category: colaboraciones+concursos+eu:live+⚐ EN

We are very pleased to announce that Ecosistema Urbano has been pre-qualified to participate in the competition “Klimatilpasning i Kokkedal” (Climate Change Adaptation in Kokkedal, 30km North of Copenhagen, Denmark). We participate together with Spectrum Arkitekter (DK) and Tyréns (SE) and with an expert panel consisting of: Morten Elle (U.S.), Territorial Studio (FR), Street Movement (DK), Soren Hansen and Steffen Aarfing (DK).

klimatilpasning

This competition is a collaboration between Realdania Fredensborg Municipality, Realdania, Local and Construction Fund and the public housing companies in Kokkedal.  The challenge is to explore new possibilities for local management of stormwater and flooding and how to combine it with recreational areas ​​and new active sites, new places for citizens to meet.

Image credits: Spectrum Arkitekter

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URBACT | Implementando en las ciudades un desarrollo local liderado por la comunidad

Category: noticias+urbact+⚐ EN+⚐ ES

¿Cómo puede convertirse el desarrollo local liderado por la comunidad (DLLC) en una potente herramienta para mejorar nuestras ciudades? Partiendo de la experiencia de URBACT, varios expertos en desarrollo urbano han lanzado sus primeras propuestas en un artículo titulado “Implementando en las ciudades un desarrollo local liderado por la comunidad: lecciones desde URBACT”.

Image by Tony4carr - Flickr - click to view source

URBACT publicó el artículo tras la inclusión por parte de la Comisión Europea de un nuevo artículo en sus propuestas de políticas de cohesión para el período 2014-2020, en el que incitaba a cuatro importantes fondos a trabajar juntos para dar soporte al DLLC. La intención tras esta iniciativa es “facilitar la implementación de estrategias integradas de desarrollo local y la formación de grupos de acción local basados en la experiencia del enfoque LEADER”.

Los autores del artículo (Paul Soto, Melody Houk y Peter Ramsden) apuntan que, aunque se trata de una propuesta prometedora, es importante cuestionarse cómo un método o modelo como éste, basado principalmente en la experiencia rural, puede ser aplicado al contexto urbano. A partir de la experiencia de URBACT, el artículo argumenta que aunque la mayoría de los principios fundamentales del enfoque LEADER (basado en áreas, integrado, asociado e innovador) son transferibles, es necesario adaptar el modelo a las complejas y específicas características de las áreas urbanas.

“Esperamos que esto sirva de comienzo para un debate”, dicen los autores. “Muchas propuestas de futuro están siendo desarrolladas mientras escribimos. Es esencial incluir la experiencia de diferentes ciudades de distintas partes de Europa para asegurar que las propuestas son trasladadas de una forma operativa que pueda estar a la altura de los desafíos que enfrentan las ciudades”.

A continuación os dejamos un pequeño sumario y el artículo original, en inglés:

1. En el comienzo… estaba LEADER
2. ¿Qué áreas locales?
3. Definiendo áreas “coherentes”
4. De la integración horizontal a la multidimensional
5. ¿Liderado por qué comunidad?
6. La innovación requiere más que compartir buenas ideas

Sigue leyendo:

Noticia original y artículos citados, en inglés:
Implementing “community-led” local development in cities. Lessons from URBACT – PDF
Community-Led Local Development – hoja informativa de la Comisión Europea – PDF
Este artículo forma parte de un acuerdo de publicación con URBACT

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dreamhamar at Re-Architecture exhibition | Pavillon de l’Arsenal, Paris

Category: news+⚐ EN

The Pavillon de l’Arsenal has invited fifteen European agencies —including Ecosistema Urbano— that question the way that modern-day cities are built to participate in an exhibition that will be opening this wednesday in Paris under the motto “RE-cycle, RE-use, RE-invest, RE-build”.

Re-architecture

We are very glad to be there among such a great selection of agencies and collectives (some of them featured in our recent series about placemaking) that share the same interests and explore similar approaches while working in quite different contexts.

Our contribution to the exhibition will be focused on dreamhamar, our most recent participatory project in Hamar (Norway), in which we have applied our ideas about network design.

dreamhamar

dreamhamar

A quote from the exhibition follows:

In Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, London, Madrid, Paris or Rotterdam,… these extraordinary teams have taken up a critical stance. They admit to exploring the role of architecture in societal changes. They are pro-action and produce and often even build their projects themselves. The practices are promises which revive long-forgotten utopian ideals.
They all invent wonderful standards and approach the complexities of modern life with the ability to transform into reality the potential that lies at the crossroads between experience and the built-up world. They are pragmatic, good at conveying their message and tend to work with the existing residents and for the inhabitants of the future.
The thirty exhibited proposals, shown at the various stages of development, describe the conditions in which the orders were placed, the study behind the projects, participative action as well as the conditions in which studies were carried out and the projects completed. Each proposal is thus presented through videos, drawings, interviews, plans and photographs to provide the public with an idea of the innovative and experimental nature of their research. Whether temporary or permanent, these projects are perfectly in line with the times and do not create extra constraints which could limit future choices.

We highly recommend you to visit the exhibition if you can, and to have a closer look at the work of the rest of the participants:

AAA – Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (Paris), Andrés Jaque Architects (Madrid), Assemble (London), Bruit du frigo (Bordeaux), Collectif Etc (France), Coloco (Paris), DUS Architects (Amsterdam), Exyzt (Paris), MUF architecture/art (London), Practice Architecture (London), Raumlabor (Berlin), Rotor (Brussels), ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] (Rotterdam), 1024 architecture (Paris)

Pavillon Arsenal

More info: official website
Place: Pavillon de l’Arsenal
Open: Tue-Sat 10.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m | Sun 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Entrance: Free, 12th april – 2th september 2012

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URBACT | ¿Que sucedió durante los URBACT INFODAYS?

Category: noticias+urbact+⚐ EN+⚐ ES

Una serie de URBACT INFODAYS celebrados en 19 países atrajeron más de 1000 participantes de ciudades de toda Europa entre diciembre y febrero. Los eventos estuvieron llenos de discusiones, ideas y debates. Para los que no pudieron asistir, aquí os dejamos una selección de lo que vimos y oímos en Bruselas, Lisboa, Varsovia, Roma, Brno, Riga, Estocolmo, etc.

URBACT INFODAYS

El objetivo de estas reuniones fue extraer lecciones de la implementación del programa URBACT hasta la actualidad, desde la participación nacional, y presentar los términos de referencia de la tercera convocatoria de propuestas URBACT.

También se presentó en INFODAYS un vídeo sobre el método URBACT que se puede ver en el canal de URBACT, traducido a 17 idiomas, y que insertamos más abajo.

A continuación adjuntamos las principales presentaciones mostradas durante los eventos:

Introducción al Programa URBACT II – PDF ⚐EN
Tercera Convocatoria de Propuestas URBACT II – PDF ⚐EN

Así como las presentaciones del URBACT INFODAY que tuvo lugar en la sede de la Comisión Europea en Bruselas el pasado 18 de enero:

La dimensión urbana de las políticas de cohesión 2014 – 2020 Presentación por la Comisión Europea ⚐EN
El caso de Sabadell – Proyecto ESIMEC Mesa redonda – Ciudades miembro de URBACT compartiendo su experiencia ⚐EN
El caso de Nyíregyháza – Proyecto RegGov Mesa redonda – Ciudades miembro de URBACT compartiendo su experiencia ⚐EN
El caso de Aarhus – Proyecto REDIS Mesa redonda – Ciudades miembro de URBACT compartiendo su experiencia ⚐EN

El vídeo acerca del método URBACT:

Más información:

URBACT Call for proposals – web de URBACT
URBACT INFODAYS in your country! – web de URBACT
URBACT videochannel – canal de vídeo URBACT en Dailymotion
Artículo original en inglés.
Este artículo forma parte de un acuerdo de publicación con URBACT

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Open Data Handbook 1.0

Category: findings+⚐ EN

Last February the Open Knowledge Foundation presented the version 1.0 of the Open Data Handbook, a guide that explains the basic concepts of open data, especially in relation to government.

Open Data Handbook

It covers how open data creates value and can have a positive impact in many different areas. In addition to exploring the background, the handbook also provides concrete information on how to produce open data.

As the introduction explains:

Do you know exactly how much of your tax money is spent on street lights or on cancer research? What is the shortest, safest and most scenic bicycle route from your home to your work? And what is in the air that you breathe along the way? Where in your region will you find the best job opportunities and the highest number of fruit trees per capita? When can you influence decisions about topics you deeply care about, and whom should you talk to?

New technologies now make it possible to build the services to answer these questions automatically. Much of the data you would need to answer these questions is generated by public bodies. However, often the data required is not yet available in a form which is easy to use. This book is about how to unlock the potential of official and other information to enable new services, to improve the lives of citizens and to make government and society work better.

The original version of the book, called “Open Data Manual”, was written during a book sprint in Berlin in October 2010. Since then, a wide group of editors and contributors have added to and refined the original material, to create the Handbook you see today. Just click the image below and read it online:

Open Data Handbook - ver online

The vision is to create a growing series of open-source Handbooks and Guides that would offer advice on different aspects of open data. This project has already been started, being available so far:

Do you find it useful and want to see it further improved? Then you could consider becoming a part of the project and contributing to its development. The project now lives as a self-contained project within the foundation, its community being mainly centred around the open-data-handbook mailing list. It is primarily supported by the open government data and the EU open data working groups, and of course you can join in and add your bit.

There are many ways you can contribute:

  • Would you like to have it in your language? Help translating it! They are using Transifex to manage translations; see the instructions on their wiki for information about how to get started.
  • You can point out corrections and suggestions for improvement on the issue tracker or by emailing opendatahandbook[@]ofkn.org.
  • You can contribute to the next version of the Open Data Handbook:  join the mailing list and share your ideas!
  • A country specific adaptation could be also a great addition you could work on.
  • Donate! The OKF is committed to keeping the Open Data Handbook entirely free, and all contributions to make this possible are gratefully received.

Source: OpenSource.com
Front page image: digiphile + cactusbeetroot

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dreamhamar | NLA lecture day 2012 in Gjøvik

Category: news+⚐ EN

Next week Belinda will be sharing our experience around the dreamhamar project at a lecture day in Gjøvik organized by the Norwegian Landscape Architects Association and entitled “Nytt djervt frekt”, which means something like “New bold persistent” in english. Three keywords that describe a certain approach to landscape architecture and urbanism.

There will be two lectures on Friday 23 about dreamhamar:

11:50 – DreamHamar!
By city manager Kari Nilssen and city architect Geir Cock, from the Municipality of Hamar
Main square in Hamar: What happens when a foreign group works with ideas of local citizens? Why is everyone inside the process positive and those who are outside of it, critical?

12:20 – DreamHamar and Ecosistema Urbano
By architect Belinda Tato
How does the bold Spanish company Ecosistema Urbano work?

NLA fagdag 2012 – Program

We hope to meet you there!

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House of Steel and Wood | a model from across the ocean

Category: findings+⚐ EN

Sometimes the Internet brings us great surprises. We’ve been recently contacted by some students from the U.S. (Bernabe Longoria, from the University of Texas at Arlington, U.T.A. and Fabiola Miria, Brigid Hardiman and Shih-hsun Lin, from New York Institute of Technology) regarding the same project: the House of Steel and Wood in Ranón.

Across the ocean

As there isn’t much information about this building around the net (in fact I just realized it isn’t even published here), they asked us to send them the plans. The surprise came when, some weeks later, Bernabe contacted us back and sent us some photos of a nice scale model he had made using that technical information. Here you can see them:

Vista 1

Vista 2

Vista 3

Nice, isn’t it? It’s even more detailed than Ecosistema’s own models! And Bernabe also wrote us some words:

Dear Ecosistema Urbano,
My name is Bernabe Josue Longoria and I am a student at the University of Texas at Arlington [also, he tells us he was born February 8, 1990, raised in the small town of Cleburne, Texas]. This is currently the beginning of my junior year in the architecture program and the first assignment given to us was to study a small, residential, prefabricated house of our choosing. After spending a few days going through books in our library and houses online, I finally stumbled upon the House of Steel and Wood.
The organic simplicity of this design was what impacted me most, along with the spaces themselves. Nothing interrupts them, which allows anyone to not only enjoy the company of their own family and friends, but the beautiful surroundings in the area.
Being from Texas, everything must be expensive, everything must be better than “that design”, above all, everything must be bigger. As a student the fame, fortune, and idea of my name becoming a generic stamp on a building has never been something important to me. What I aim for in this career is clearly what this house displayed; to impact the world itself without leaving a mark. I find it very interesting that you are able to design with not only a limited amount of space but materials as well. I have never been taught to design at this scale or style, so this was a whole new experience for me seeing as how The House of Steel and Wood was my first precedence of this type of architecture. I hope to pull from this experience the concept of making a feasible, discrete, and sustainable designs for the earth and by the earth; therefore offering a design to the world without taking away from its natural beauty.

Bernabe with his model

Many thanks to Bernabe for sharing his work with us! And there’s even more: Fabiola, Brigid and Shih-hsun are right now working on a BIM model of the same house; here at the office we are all eager to see the result.

This kind of interactions make us even more aware of the importance of sharing information about each one’s projects and creations. Right now, everyone can already download the Air Tree project or, just for fun, get the CAD files for EU Comics, but there is still a long long way to go: could we publish every project the same way?

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EU collaborators | Julie Kaalby Bjerre

Category: colaboradores+⚐ EN

Today we are happy to introduce you to Julie, one of our most recent collaborators. Welcome to Ecosistema Urbano!

Julie Bjerre

In her own words:

I am currently a master student of architecture at the Aarhus School of Architecture, from where I also completed my BA of Arts in Architecture. During the past years I have found a lot of inspiration from travelling and through my camera I try to take notion of every-thing that wonders my Nordic eye.

One late evening at the Aarhus School of Architecture I found myself caught in a post about the parallelism between pizzamaking and a concept called network design. When I was to discover that the Madrid based studio Ecosistema Urbano was the pizzachef, I realized that to learn more about this intriguing idea of network design and how to profoundly activate the citizen as a integrated ingredient in architecture, I had to head south. I had for a while been interested in the relation between citizens and architecture and I found Ecosistema Urbano’s mindset very inspiring.

With strong predilection for a sensible architecture I usually try to work with the mechanisms of the urban landscape to create durable concepts that can make us even more aware of the beauty of our constantly evolving environment. During my studies I developed a strong interest for an architecture of process –and I encountered the idea that the process is in fact the project. By working with Ecosistema Urbano I am hoping to explore another layer in the field of architecture in process, that I have not yet been able to fully explore during my studies.

So here I am. Lets bake!

And here is Julie’s short profile and related links:

Occupation: master student, Aarhus School of Architecture
Interests: People/city/landscape, travel, photography, food, friends, family, hygge
City, country: Aarhus, Denmark
Web: juliekaalbybjerre.dk
Social profiles: facebook.com/julie.bjerre

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What if…? Manama | Workshop at Bahrein

Category: eu:calls+news+talleres+⚐ EN

Next Thursday 23 two of us will be flying to Manama (Al Manāmah, Bahrein)  for a workshop, in the context of the Open Ideas Competition Bab Al Bahrain.

Sattelite view of the site

The workshop, which is open to both architecture students and general public, will take place around Bab al Bahrain (Gateway of Bahrain) on Friday 24 and Saturday 25. During these two days we will try to approach and visualize the identity of the city from the point of view of the citizens, with the aid of the whatif web and mobile application. We are looking forward to meet you there!

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EU lectures | Oslo & Copenhagen

Category: news+⚐ EN

Next week we will be giving a lecture in Oslo and Copenhagen about our work, including the latest projects like dreamhamar.

 

Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture

 

Oslo | 15.02.2012 | 19:00 h | learn more

Organizer: Architects Association of Oslo
Host: Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture

 

Living Copenhaguen

 

Copenhagen | 17.02.2012 | 19:00 h | learn more

Organizer: Living Copenhagen project
Host: PB43 / The Tower

http://www.livingcopenhagen.org/about-php/

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placemaking | Collectif etc

Category: placemaking+urban social design+video+⚐ EN

“Our projects are optimistic, open and focused on the spontaneous population of the city”
- Collectif etc

Following our last week’s post on Place au Changement, and still in the frame of our placemaking series, we were curious to meet with collectif etc. From the other side of the Pyrenees, we managed to contact them on their Détour de France, so they could share some impressions about their experience in Saint-Etienne, and ideas about placemaking.

placemaking | Collectif etc from ecosistemaurbano on Vimeo.

The Détour de France

Since October 2011, collectif etc has started a Détour de France, a trip around France to meet different makers of the city – inhabitants, associations, professionals, institutions – who seek for alternative ways and models of generating the urban fabric.

“The making of the city formerly follows complex and vertical processes, according to a hierarchy often excluding the population concerned. Public urban projects tend to remain in the professional field of architects, consultants and clients (often local or national administrations) and to generate isolated solutions from the community’s real needs.
In response to this gap, new participatory processes are emerging in various cities in France, aiming to involve the population in building their own living environment. We are off to meet the actors behind these initiatives, and work with them in the social making of the city.”

The itinerary was initially based on the collective’s established contacts, yet it remains flexible to any potential opportunity along the way. Until august 2012, Collectif etc will be pedaling, meeting, sharing, creating, building, tinkering and designing, adding the preferred co- prefix according to the different people they encounter on the way.

Two objectives in mind:
1. make a census and build a network of the different actors involved in a social making of the city
2. collaborate with them along the trip on interventions in public space

For french speaking readers, you can follow their progression on their blog, and we recommend you read the full description of the project here.

Active since September 2009, Collectif etc is a combination of sparking energy, innovative dynamics, social engagement, creative experimentation and human interactions. Their practice materialises in various forms - built structures, ephemeral interventions, urban furniture, workshops and debates –  where the common key is about generating a process, and building a community. Their projects take root in the existing climates of exchange and creation, grow from collective action and intelligence, and catalyse the existing dynamics of the community into the design of their living environment.

In short, a breath of fresh air in the scope of city related professionals. You can be sure to here from them again.

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EU collaborators | Marta Battistella

Category: colaboradores+⚐ EN

Today we are very glad to introduce you to Marta Battistella, one of our most recent collaborators.

Marta is a graduate student at 4Cities, a European master in urban studies which takes students to Brussels, Vienna, Copenhagen and Madrid. Previously, she also studied visual arts and theater in Venice and landscape design in Vienna.

To the question “Where are you from?”, her answer is both open and precise:  30% from Este, 30% from Venezia, 20% from Wien, 5% from Modena, 5% from Bruxelles, 5% from København and 5% from Madrid.

She is mainly interested, among other topics, in cultural theory related to urbanism and public spaces, landscapes, contemporary dance and photography. A wide and rich profile that brings new approaches and perspectives to the agency, so we are sure we will be sharing interesting debates and experiences with her at work during her internship.

Welcome, Marta!

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Authorship and collaboration | Urban Design Conference at Harvard

Category: events+⚐ EN

Next Saturday —February 4, 2012— José Luis Vallejo and Edgar Pieterse will be giving a lecture about “Authorship and collaboration” as part of the Urban Design Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

UD conference

The conference, subtitled Conditions and projections, hopes to propel a discussion about the unfulfilled potential of the practice of Urban Design and the role it can play in mediating the different disciplines and forces that eventually mould the built environment in our cities, suburbs and peri-urban conditions —the larger landscape that comprises the objects of human interventions of various kinds.

Participants in the conference will address 6 specific aspects relevant to contemporary discourse in Urban Design:

  • Land/form or the re-consideration of architecture’s traditional relationship to the ground, city and landscape, no longer occupying a site but instead, constructing and transforming the site itself.
  • Micro-Urbanisms or how in the context of crisis and uncertainty, local, networked, and even intangible interventions can have a direct impact on urban life.
  • Applied Research or the instrumental use of teaching and academia’s theories, methods and techniques for the purpose of real transformation of the urban realm.
  • Regulatory Practices that actively engage design through planning and policy making to propose more comprehensive scenarios to the current physical transformations of the built environment.
  • Strategic Upgrading, or the idea of large-scale transformation precipitated by strategic changes in the urban microcosm.
  • Authorship and Collaboration, or the exploration of current thinking about the role of collective authorship and collaboration within the design process in response to diverse working scales, emerging technologies and degrees of complexity

You can learn more about the conference at the official website.

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placemaking | Place au changement

Category: placemaking+urban social design+⚐ EN

Place au Changement is a co-constructed square and a placemaking process conducted by collectif etc, to create the Giant’s square, a self-managed temporary public space in Saint-Etienne.

Saint Etienne, Châteaucreux. Since 2008, the district entered a long-term process of urban transformation, a process of destruction, reconstruction, renovation, a process where different mutation stages and time-spaces side and cohabit, often leaving voids pending for weeks, months, sometimes years. And why not include these urban gaps in the process? Why not take advantage of change to colonize rather than procastrinate? Such were the questions carried out by the EPASE (Etablissement Public d’Aménagement de Saint Etienne) when announcing the competition “Défrichez-la” – literally suggesting “Clear it” – to temporarily occupy plot 58, at the crossroads of Ferdinand and Cugnot streets.

Place au changement was collectif etc’s response, to design both a square and a participation process. The name itself plays on two layered meanings: the square Of change and the process to Give way to change. The first intention, to reflect the on-going mutations in the neighborhood and remind the square’s temporary condition, was to design the square as a transitional step of its future outcome: on the ground, the imaginary plan of a future apartments building meant to replace plot 58, and on the surrounding wall, its corresponding section. And second, to design a process involving the citizens both in building the proper square and its identity as a public space.

“Make yourself a square !”. The familiar DIY tag line came out as a call for participation while launching the communication warm-up strategy, first step to pave the way for the upcoming event. Following their success in March 2011, collectif etc, along with two graphists - Bérangère Magaud and Léatitia Cordier - initiated the process by making public presentations of the project in local council assemblies, organizing meetings with the concerned political actors, contacting local associations, social centers and foster cares, negotiating with different city services the maintenance of the building site and its subsequent public space, and opening a blog to keep daily track of the project’s evolution, in order to spread the news in the greatest number of circles.

On 14 July, the building site opened to public participation. To involve the local inhabitants in the construction process, the work was organised in three thematic workshops, aiming to target people according to their own field of interest, capacities and knowledge.

The wall painting workshop, to dress the painted cross-section and bordering fronts with real scale drawings of daily objects, mainly involved the children of the Soleil and Cret de Roch neighborhood houses. The nationally renown street-artists Ella & Pitr also made a punctual intervention to paint the huge Giant, which later inspired the square’s actual name, and allowed to arouse national interest and local pride, while valuing the children’s work alongside.

The gardening workshop, to design and plant the green spaces of the square, spontaneously involved neighbors in the long-term. People voluntarily brought plants and tools from their own homes, and shared their knowledge, from which the collective had usually a lot to learn. On the last day, the group built a shelter to keep the tools and a 1000L water tank which was agreed to be regularly filled by the local city service.

The carpentry workshop, to make the square’s framework and furniture, involved any handy volunteer in the construction of the preconceived designs. A member of the collective along with a neighbor who was spontaneously designated foreman by the team, were in charge of driving and supervising the workshop, and helping people with the tools at the participants’ disposal.

Place au Changement proposed to use not only the building site as a public space, but also the building period to schedule on-site events. A building site is an event as such : closed streets, constant noise, and permanent activity. Yet, whereas we tend to call it nuisance, Place au Changement’s constant occupation was other: free and collective meals, tournaments, concerts, activities, performances, meetings…

During three weeks, what was formerly a wasteland became a daily attraction. Every Fridays announced a collective dinner, prepared by the women of the Dames de Côte-Chaude ONG, which gathered up to 80 people around a couscous, tajine and paella. Saturday nights held open concerts, which drew a miscellaneous public around improvised barbecues and cheap drinks.

Sundays gave out out-door movie projections, that welcomed students of the Gobelins to release their own short films. Associations such as Feedback association, who coordinated a circus introduction workshop, and El Caminito who offered tango lessons, made punctual on-site interventions to incite more people to join the process.

Two round-table discussions around the citizen as an actor of public space were also held, as times of reflection and debate with local associations, authorities and professionals, aiming to claim for a more horizontal cooperation and direct communication between the citizens, actors and administrations in projects of urban and public nature.

On 1 August, the construction site ended in a closing event, marking a new step in the process, the opening of a public space in the neighborhood. To promote the citizens’ involvement, the most active participants had their name carved on a pole on-site, a poster was put up to explain the process, again naming all the stakeholders, and a booklet summarizing the project and three weeks of building and lucrative site was given out to the public. A public vote by show of hands, undertaken by the citizens, renamed the space Giant’s square, after Ella & Pitr‘s huge painting on the bordering wall.

The day ended by a closing concert and jam session, and a silent commitment not to lose what had been raised during the past weeks. For beyond an architectural design and a square, Place au Changement built a self-managed community, and stirred up an activity of spontaneous uses – to be continued.

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placemaking | Zuloark

Category: placemaking+urban social design+video+⚐ EN

Following our last week post on the Campo de Cebada, and still in the frame of our placemaking series, we decided to interview Zuloark, so they could tell us about their own field experience. In the end, we managed to find two Zulos in El Ranchito, absorbed in the construction of their new Open Offffice, and catch a few minutes of their time among drills, nails and hammers. Ironically, they shared their story on the few remains of City Island, first initiative at the root of the Campo.

placemaking | Zuloark from ecosistemaurbano on Vimeo.

“For us it has always been a kind of test, a laboratory where we would put ideas
that weren’t necessarily very clear. [...] The idea is to generate opportunities.”

What is Zuloark? An office, a collective, a platform, a frame, a kind of commitment?
- “You could be Zuloark.”

Indeed. Zuloark is an open and unstable network, a group of individuals who identify themselves as such, as members of a collective identity. The collective’s organisation is based on a completely liquid hierarchy, a mutable structure changing at all times and for each project, challenging the inherited hierarchical models.

By defining itself equally in each of its members, Zuloark doesn’t focus its professional activity on a specific theme, but constantly aims to multiply and extend its fields of intervention by generating various research lines, often linked to architecture and urbanism. You can tell their story from the actual spaces they worked in, some virtual like Zoohaus and Inteligencias colectivas, others physical, like the Campo de Cebada, all focused on building open networks and generating opportunities of co-working.

In terms of working platform, Zuloark considers itself as a zone of proximal development (ZPD), meaning the difference between what one can do with and without help. In other words it promotes a new knowledge environment based on a peer-to-peer model of horizontal collaboration and learning with more capable peers.

Which is precisely what aroused our interest. Despite its unstable and undefinable nature, Zuloark precisely finds meaning and consistency in the latter: a networked, open and unlimited structure aiming to promote collective intelligence and collaborative creation. Beyond an office or collective, beyond fulfilling projects and involving neighbours, citizens to participate in generating their own public space, Zuloark calls for a step further: a completely open and horizontal structure, a new participatory model where professionals and participants are no longer distinguishable.