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Exuma Garden of Dreams

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

Sobrevolando el Caribe

Puedes ver la versión en español de este post aquí.

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

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

Situación de Exuma

The location of Exuma

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

Resumen del trabajo de campo - Fuente: Exuma Topics

Field work summary – Source: Exuma Topics

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

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

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

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

Llegando a Gran Exuma

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

1. Street photo tour

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

Algunas de las fotografías tomadas durante el "tour"

Some of the photographs taken during the “tour”

2. Creative workshops

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

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

Azul y rojo, sueños y cambios

Blue and red, dreams and changes

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

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

Plantillas usadas para las propuestas y el origami

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

Proceso de plegado del origami

Folding origami

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

"The park", el principal espacio público de Georgetown

“The park”, the main public space in Georgetown

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

Ubicación de este "parque" en Georgetown

Location of this “park” in Georgetown

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

Añadiendo propuestas al panel de exposición

Adding proposals to the exhibition panel

Puesta en común

Presentation

Puesta en común

Presentation

Trabajando en los "pétalos"

Working on the “petals”

Algunos niños posando con sus propuestas

Some kids with their ideas

Aprendiendo y enseñando a plegar el origami

Learning and teaching how to fold the papers

Some “flowers” start to appear

Mostrando el resultado

Showing the result

In a local highschool

Using the digital application

Using the digital application

Adults workshop

Workshop with adults, both tourists and locals

Sharing results and reflections

Sharing results and reflections

3. Digital Exuma: www.exumadreams.org

As in previous occasions, and after adapting the graphics, we used Whatif [Edit 2015: now called local in] for digitally collecting ideas from participants. The resulting platform www.exumadreams.org, is and will remain active for the next few months as an open communication channel with all those who want to maintain the dialogue and continue to participate.

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

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la pantalla principal

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the main page

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la entrada al formulario

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the entry form

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mapa

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the map view

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mensajes

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the messages view

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de etiquetas

exumadreams on whatif – screenshot of the tags view

www.exumadreams.org

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

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

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

Boceto de concepto para la instalación

Concept drawing for the installation

La "flor" resultante

The resulting “flower”…

... y las flores formando un jardín

… and the garden these flowers form.

Personas visitando la instalación

People visiting the installation

Personas visitando la instalación

People visiting the installation

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Night view of the installation

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Night view of the installation

Otra vista nocturna de la instalación

Another night view of the installation

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

More information about the project:
www.sustainableexuma.org
www.exumatopics.org/about

More pictures about the project at their Facebook page

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

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

Cheers from Exuma!

Cheers from Exuma!

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Jardín de Sueños en Exuma

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

Sobrevolando el Caribe

You can see the English version of this post here.

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

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

Situación de Exuma

Situación de Exuma

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

Resumen del trabajo de campo - Fuente: Exuma Topics

Resumen del trabajo de campo – Fuente: Exuma Topics

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

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

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

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

Llegando a Gran Exuma

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

1. Street photo tour

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

Algunas de las fotografías tomadas durante el "tour"

Algunas de las fotografías tomadas durante el “tour”

2. Creative workshops

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

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

Azul y rojo, sueños y cambios

Azul y rojo, sueños y cambios

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

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

Plantillas usadas para las propuestas y el origami

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

Proceso de plegado del origami

Proceso de plegado del origami

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

"The park", el principal espacio público de Georgetown

“The park”, el principal espacio público de Georgetown

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

Ubicación de este "parque" en Georgetown

Ubicación de este “parque” en Georgetown

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

Añadiendo propuestas al panel de exposición

Añadiendo propuestas al panel de exposición

Puesta en común

Puesta en común

Puesta en común

Puesta en común

Trabajando en los "pétalos"

Trabajando en los “pétalos”

Algunos niños posando con sus propuestas

Algunos niños posando con sus propuestas

Aprendiendo y enseñando a plegar el origami

Aprendiendo y enseñando a plegar los papeles

Empiezan a aparecer “flores”

Mostrando el resultado

Mostrando el resultado

En un instituto local

Using the digital application

Usando la aplicación digital

Adults workshop

Talleres con adultos, tanto turistas como locales

Sharing results and reflections

Sharing results and reflections

3. Digital Exuma: www.exumadreams.org

Como en otras ocasiones hemos utilizado, previa adaptación a nivel gráfico, la herramienta Whatif [Editado 2015: ahora llamada local in] para recoger de manera digital las ideas de los participantes. La plataforma resultante, www.exumadreams.org está y seguirá estando activa durante los próximos meses como canal abierto de comunicación con todos aquellos que quieran mantener el diálogo y seguir participando.

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

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

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la pantalla principal

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la pantalla principal

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la entrada al formulario

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la entrada al formulario

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mapa

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la vista de mapa

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de mensajes

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la vista de mensajes

exumadreams con whatif - captura de la vista de etiquetas

exumadreams con whatif – captura de la vista de etiquetas

www.exumadreams.org

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

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

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

Boceto de concepto para la instalación

Boceto de concepto para la instalación

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

La "flor" resultante

La “flor” resultante…

... y las flores formando un jardín

… y las flores formando un jardín

Personas visitando la instalación

Personas visitando la instalación

Personas visitando la instalación

Personas visitando la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Vista nocturna de la instalación

Otra vista nocturna de la instalación

Otra vista nocturna de la instalación

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

Más información sobre el proyecto:
www.sustainableexuma.org
www.exumatopics.org/about

Más fotografías sobre el proyecto en su página de Facebook

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

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

Cheers from Exuma!

¡Saludos desde Exuma!

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ecosistema urbano lecturing at GSD Harvard

Category: ⚐ EN+ecosistema urbano+events

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

¡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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Ecosistema Urbano en Harvard GSD: Urban Social Design II

Category: ⚐ ES+ecosistema urbano+eu:live+urban social design

El próximo otoño, Jose Luis Vallejo y yo, Belinda Tato, de ecosistema urbano nos unimos una vez más al equipo de GSD Harvard comoVisiting Professors dentro del departamento de Urban Design, que dirige Rahul Mehrotra.

El título del option studio es Urban Social Design II, una continuación del taller que realizamos en 2010, donde exploramos la construcción de un nuevo espacio público aumentado fruto de una nueva relación entre lo físico, el espacio digital y el ámbito social. Los estudiantes trabajarán en el desarrollo de nuevas herramientas que posibiliten una mayor y mejor participación democrática en la vida urbana como una respuesta más eficiente a los nuevos problemas urbanos contemporáneos. Y como caso de estudio… la ciudad de Boston.

A continuación os mostramos uno de los proyectos más interesantes realizados en el Taller que allí realizamos en 2010.

Actual Air en funcionamiento

Mike Styczynski -estudiante del GSD Harvard- crea con Actual Air un proyecto híbrido entre instrumento de medición, base de datos y red social. Detectando altos niveles de asma en un barrio de Boston, se plantea profundizar en este fenómeno, sus causas y consecuencias. Para visualizar, registrar y denunciar los alarmantes niveles de contaminación, elige un elemento de uso cotidiano en la ciudad, la bicicleta. Actual Air es un dispositivo plug in que se acopla fácilmente a cualquier rueda de bicicleta, monitorizando la calidad del aire a través de distintos sensores. Un piloto de iluminación LED varía de color en función del grado de contaminación y dicha información recogida en tiempo real, es volcada a una base de datos en la web, mapeando los niveles de contaminación urbana, y visibilizando un problema hasta entonces ignorado. La información, así accesible, es un instrumento al servicio de la comunidad para potenciar la controversia.

Por acción o por omisión, cualquier iniciativa ciudadana tiene significado político. El geógrafo y teórico social David Harvey habla de la necesidad de acostumbrarnos al conflicto continuo que promueva el consenso para generar entornos urbanos saludables. Por ello, debemos percibir como positivas las iniciativas de carácter reivindicativo que activando a los ciudadanos generan ese clima de debate.

Prototipo de Actual Air

Mike ha continuado con el desarrollo de su proyecto más allá de GSD, lo cual responde a la actitud proactiva que intentamos potenciar en los estudiantes, con el desarrollo de nuevas herramientas que les capaciten y conecten con nuevas posibilidades de desarrollo profesional.

Estamos entusiasmados con esta nueva etapa en Harvard. Y si estás por Boston el próximo otoño, ¡te esperamos en el GSD!

Página oficial de Harvard GSD
Si quieres saber más sobre el proyecto: ActualAir.org o en Facebook
Fotos cortesía de Mike Styczynski

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Nearer, better

Category: ⚐ EN+research


Photo Credit: Kyungjoon Lee

Link found between physical proximity of researchers, impact of work

The above schematic represents the relationship between intra-building collaboration and citations. The height of each building reflects the average number of publication citations originating there, and the color reflects the degree to which authors on those publications cohabitated (from gray=low to blue=high). The graphic depicts that, in general, buildings with more intra-building collaborations produced studies with higher citation rates.

Absence makes your heart grow fonder, but close quarters may boost your career. continue reading

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Digital drive- Technological breakthroughs are changing scholarship all across campus

Category: ⚐ EN

At Harvard Business School (HBS), students use a software program to tap into a virtual Wall Street trading floor. At the Graduate School of Design (GSD), a computer-driven, robotic arm assembles walls and carves stone. At the Widener Library, digital specialists use high-resolution cameras to electronically capture everything from ancient Chinese manuscripts to Harry Houdini’s handcuffs.

Across its Schools and academic centers, Harvard is embracing cutting-edge technology that is rapidly changing the nature of scholarship, redefining research, opening doors to information, fostering collaboration, and revolutionizing classroom learning.

Camera Operator Edith Young scans a rare Chinese book with the help of special, high-resolution cameras. Young is one of many digital specialists across campus who are playing a major role in digitizing Harvard.

Examples abound across campus, and often involve stitching the Schools together. Recognizing the need for more digital interactivity, for instance, the Library Implementation Work Group, building on the work of the Task Force on University Libraries, two weeks ago recommended adopting a system that emphasizes a more harmonized approach to the global strategic, administrative, and business processes of the libraries.

The University’s leadership in information technology dates back more than 65 years to the Mark I, which is considered the first mainframe computer. It was the brainchild of Ph.D. physics candidate Howard H. Aiken, who envisioned a newer, faster, more powerful calculating machine.

The original Mark I, considered the first mainframe computer, holds court at the Science Center. Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Technology in the classroom
Aiken’s mega-computer was the prototype that paved the way for the Blackberrys and iPods of today, the powerful handheld digital devices that are ubiquitous in Harvard’s classrooms. In those classes, the fans and adopters of such technology say, electronic devices aren’t driving education, but instead are supplementing the pedagogy.

Eric Mazur, the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, has used wireless technology in his introductory physics class for 17 years. His students use clickers, their own handheld devices, or their computers to send answers to a common website that registers the responses on a screen in the front of the classroom. Mazur introduced the clickers to ask questions of students, to get them to discuss their answers in small groups, and to have them try to convince each other of their own reasoning.

“In the end,” said Mazur, “learning and research is a social experience. It’s people, it’s not sitting in front of a book, or sitting in front of a terminal.”

Harvard professors increasingly engage their students electronically by using clickers, virtual office hours, videos and transcripts of their lectures online, and comprehensive course websites.

In the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), Katie Vale, director of the Academic Technology Group, and her team help instructors to enhance their curricula through technology. Together, they have created a virtual model of Harvard Yard in the 17th century and a three-dimensional visualization of a virus and its reaction to certain drugs.

“What we want to be able to do is make sure the teaching is driving the technology,” said Vale. “We want to be able to solve educational problems through the use of technology and encourage faculty to try new and different pedagogical methods, such as using clickers for active learning.”

In the HBS course “Dynamic Markets,” students emulate the New York Stock Exchange through their computers.  Joshua Coval, Robert G. Kirby Professor of Business Administration, and Erik Stafford, John A. Paulson Professor of Business Administration, developed a software program that simulates the financial markets. The program allows students to trade with each other, compete for opportunities, and learn the principles of finance.

“It’s a very powerful learning vehicle,” said Coval. “When it clicks, it gets imprinted in their psyche. The hope is that it will remain with them for many, many years.”

Martin Bechthold is a professor of architectural technology and director of the GSD’s Fabrication Lab, which is home to such digital devices as a computer numerically controlled, six-axis, robotic manipulator. Attached to a high-pressure water jet, the electronic arm blasts a mixture of water and garnet dust at, for example, a piece of marble to slowly carve it.

“Robotic fabrication of architectural components is, I think, one of the most exciting activities here with regard to the innovative use of technology,” Bechthold said.

Elsewhere, Harvard’s Initiative for Innovative Computing, an interfaculty effort, has developed ongoing projects that include the Scientists’ Discovery Room Lab. Part of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), under the direction of Chia Shen, the lab focuses on human-computer interaction. One promising project involves tabletop touch-screen technology that aids occupational therapy for children with cerebral palsy.

Efthimios Kaxiras, the John Hasbrouck Van Vleck Professor of Pure and Applied Physics at SEAS, and a team of collaborators have developed computer-generated simulations to model blood flow in the human cardiovascular system, work that may help to understand diseases.

In another example, involving a group of physicists half a world away at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, Alán Aspuru-Guzik, assistant professor in Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, has used a quantum computer to determine the energy of a hydrogen molecule.

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, which created an early prototype podcast, is at the center of much of the University’s web research, exploring, analyzing, and enhancing cyberspace. And the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Technology, Innovation, and Education program “prepares students to contribute to the thoughtful design, implementation, and assessment of media and technology initiatives.”

Harvard’s Center for Geographic Analysis buttresses University research projects with geographical information systems that use a combination of cartography, statistical analysis, and database technology. “When we try to bring time and space together, we start to be able to look at change taking place over time in many places at once, and that’s only possible with computation,” said Peter Bol, the center’s director and the Charles H. Carswell Professor of East Asian Languages and Civilizations.

During Harvard Extension School’s final CS 175 class for the semester, students present their final projects, which required the use of graphics applications. Course administrators shoot live video from the Maxwell Dworkin classroom for students taking the class remotely. Photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Spread of distance learning
Thanks to technology, this year students at the 101-year-old Harvard Extension School can access 150 courses through its distance-learning program. Of those, 37 are Harvard College courses, and three are HGSE courses, all taught by Harvard faculty.

Students watch streaming videos of lectures and remotely interact with classmates and professors through real-time, virtual “chat” discussion boards, as well as through web-conferencing software and video conferencing. In smaller classes, students can dial an 800 number to take part in class discussions.

“By opening up its teaching expertise to a global audience, we are demonstrating how Harvard can contribute to the public good,” said Henry Leitner, associate dean for information technology and chief technology officer at the Harvard Division of Continuing Education. “It enables busy Harvard faculty, whose scarcest resource is time, to make their first-rate teaching accessible to a wider audience.”

Stanley Hoffmann, the Paul and Catherine Buttenwieser University Professor, several years ago agreed to open a class that he co-taught on U.S.-European relations on the condition that it be available to students in the Extension School and at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, a prestigious French university.

“It was very instructive and enlightening for Harvard College undergraduates to learn firsthand the opinions of peer students in another part of the world.

Instead of engaging with an on-campus classmate from, say, Paris, Texas, they could discuss ideas with someone from Paris, France,” said Leitner. “It worked magnificently.”

Hunting for new online tools
John Palfrey, the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and vice dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School (HLS), has spearheaded an initiative to create a “library of the future” that uses technology to help the stacks “come alive in a virtual environment.”

HLS lab initiatives include Library Hose, a Twitter feed of what’s being acquired by Harvard’s libraries; Shelflife, a web application that researchers can use to access and comment on work, using common social network features; and StackView, a visual rendering of the library shelves.

Palfrey also is faculty co-director of the Berkman Center, which in 2003 created a free blogging platform for the University that now hosts more than 700 blogs. The blogs are critical, said Palfrey, because they offer scholars an important way to exchange information, allowing researchers to engage, solicit feedback, refine arguments, and “improve the quality of their work.”

Blogs can also reveal important social and cultural undercurrents, as in the center’s ongoing project evaluating the blogosphere in restrictive societies such as Iran and Russia. With these projects, “We can gauge what the reaction is to the state — what the state is blocking, who is starting these important conversations, and who is setting the agenda,” said Palfrey.

Imaging technician Lily Brooks photographs a Theodore Roosevelt manuscript in the digital lab in Widener Library. Photo by Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Sharing the University’s collections
Using digital tools, the University is widening access to the massive collections in its museums, libraries, and archives, providing connections to ancient documents and prized holdings for anyone with access to a computer.

At the Harvard College Library, which consists of 11 allied libraries, items that have priority for digitizing include those that are at risk of deteriorating, that are unique, that are used often, or that are likely to fit well into existing class curricula.

A five-year collaboration with the National Library of China is digitizing the Harvard-Yenching Library’s vast collection of rare Chinese books. Another of its many projects involves digitizing more than 5,000 scarce 19th century Latin American pamphlets containing political and social commentary.

“It’s a benefit to Harvard, but much more broadly to the world at large,” said Rebecca Graham, associate librarian of Harvard College for preservation, digitization, and administrative services. “It promotes scholarship not only for the researcher and scholar, but also for those who are simply curious about a particular topic.”

Through the Open Collections Program, Harvard’s libraries, archives, and museums have created six online collections that support teaching and learning anywhere.  The collections bring more than 2.3 million digitized pages — including more than 225,000 manuscripts — to the web.

In addition, virtual visitors to the Harvard Art Museums can browse through images from its vast collections by tapping into its extensive online archives.

Harvard also has a key role in creating the Encyclopedia of Life, a one-stop information shop spotlighting the 1.8 million known living creatures on Earth, in collaboration with five partner institutions. The project is creating web pages with multimedia information, when available.

A collaboration between the Museum of Comparative Zoology and College of the Holy Cross biologist Leon Claessens is creating an online database, Aves 3D, that shows the museum’s 12,000 bird skeletons, including 3-D digital models of each species.

In addition, the Harvard University Archive is processing and digitizing 17th and 18th century holdings about Harvard in a program that carries special relevance. The documents, including papers and manuscripts from the School’s earliest presidents, shed light on the origins of the institution, and also on the country as it was struggling to come into its own.

“In this collection,” said University Archivist Megan Sniffin-Marinoff, “you see these parallels between the activities and the intellectual life and the public discourse here and in the emerging country at large, and the role that Harvard played in that evolution.”

The ambitious Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard project, under the direction of Stuart Shieber, provides an open-access repository for the work of University academics.

“We want to take things into our own hands and make sure people can read the things that we write,” said Shieber, the James O. Welch Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science, who heads the Office for Scholarly Communication, which spearheads campuswide initiatives to open, share, and preserve scholarship.

The program, created two years ago following FAS passage of an open-access policy, has put more than 4,000 articles online. Active for just over a year, the site has recorded hundreds of thousands of downloads.

Keeping the information highway open
What keeps Harvard’s digital engines running is a massive underlying structure that many users simply take for granted.

“There’s a critically important infrastructure that goes along with digital Harvard that people do not see,” said Anne Margulies, Harvard’s new chief information officer.

Harvard’s web system is one of the largest and most sophisticated private networks in the country. The fiber-optic backbone of the University links close to 500 of Harvard’s buildings on campus as well as the affiliated hospitals and other medical facilities. There are thousands of servers, tens of thousands of desktop computers, and uncounted mobile devices in the digital grid.

Tasked with maintaining what is underneath the computer platform, Margulies is also helping to develop Harvard’s digital future. One aspect has already risen to the top: video.

“Currently, 40 percent of traffic on our network is video. Some predict it will be 80 in a few short years,” said Margulies, who hopes to expand the network’s bandwidth to keep pace with the rising demand for video conferencing in classrooms and streaming of courses online. “We are seeing this explosion in the demand for video, and we need to make sure that our infrastructure is able to keep up with that and support it.”

Margulies relies on support from the Harvard Academic Computing Committee, a faculty and senior administration committee that explores academic information technology issues, principles, and policies for the University.

One technology effort under way is the collaborative group known as iCommons. The Provost’s Office created the initiative in 2001 after a number of deans expressed a desire for more cooperation in online learning among the Schools. Paul Bergen, director of Harvard’s iCommons, said the group offers a suite of online resources for teaching and learning. It includes iSites, an easy-to-use web publishing and collaboration system used by about 90 percent of courses at the University.

The humanities embrace digital
Digital scholarship in the humanities is a young but robust and expanding field. Authorities say that, while past research in the humanities was largely focused on qualitative methods of inquiry, digital media and web-based technologies are being brought into the mix more often.

“There is an increasing importance of visualization in humanities scholarship, and of geospatial components like mapping and other means of organizing knowledge, rather than in narrative form,” said Jeffrey Schnapp, visiting professor of Romance languages and literatures, visiting professor of architecture, and a fellow at the Berkman Center. At Harvard, Schnapp is collaborating with the libraries and museums to explore ways to animate their archives.

For the past three years, the Digital Humanities program has worked to raise awareness of the Harvard groups that offer digital services and support. As part of that effort, the program organizes a yearly fair in collaboration with Harvard’s social science division.

At the event, Elaheh Kheirandish, a fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, presented a Micromapping Early Science project that offered a nuanced look at the development of science in Islamic lands through interactive maps that chart the transmission of scientific works and concepts.

“I am interested in the ways technology can drive the research,” said Kheirandish, a science historian. “Ideally, my hope is that this work generates research questions we would not have thought of without this technology.”

This article was published by the Harvard Gazette

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Final Review of Urban Social Design Studio at Harvard

Category: ⚐ EN+ecosistema urbano+urban social design

Final Review of Urban Social Design Studio at Harvard Gsd. Today the students will be presenting their works at room 517 at Gund Hall, quincy street. For those who are not in Boston, a live connection will be available here: ecosistemaurbano.tv.

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ecosistema ubano joins Harvard- GSD (Graduate School of Design)

Category: ⚐ EN+ecosistema urbano+urban social design


This semester, ecosistema urbano is teaching at one of the option design studios of the Urban Planning and Design Department at Harvard GSD. Under the title urban social design, the studio will explore Boston looking for new possibilities and connections between people, technology, public space, virtual space and interaction. The studio meets physically and virtually every week alternatively. Final presentations are scheduled to be held October 28th and December 7th and several critics and guests are being invited. You can now download the presentation which was used for the launch of the semester last August 31st. We will soon inform you about some network initiatives we are developing to communicate the content and material produced during the term. continue reading

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PODCASTS: Ecological Urbanism Conference Harvard GSD

Category: ⚐ EN+sustainability

ECOLOGICAL URBANISM: Alternative and Sustainable Cities of the Future
Conference at Harvard University Graduate School of Design
April 3 – 5, 2009

The conference, which ran from April 3-5, 2009, brought together design practitioners, students and theorists, economists, engineers, environmental scientists, politicians and public health specialists, with the goal of reaching a more robust understanding of ecological urbanism and what it might be in the future. continue reading