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Networked Urbanism: The real learning begins when things go live | part I

Category: ⚐ EN+creativity+ecosistema urbano+networked design+networkedurbanism+publications+urban social design

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#networkedurbanism is a series of studios taught in the Urban Planning and Design Department at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design between 2010 and 2014.

The #networkedurbanism studio aims to bring network-design thinking to the forefront of design disciplines and strives to solve real-world problems on the ground, providing an alternative to the traditional approach of designing urban environments from a bird’s-eye view, and a single designer’s perspective. Networked Urbanism not only examines the physical dimension of the city, but also its social processes and fluxes, developing initiatives that generate spontaneous transformations and set up conditions for change.

The #networkedurbanism studio provides the framework for students to pursue their own interests, find their own means of expression, and create their own paths. They are encouraged to work with others, to create connections and to search for new problems and opportunities that underlie our society, visibly or subtly. Overall, they are expected to explore the city and design new tools to creatively improve urban life.

The following conversation with Paul Bottino is an excerpt from our publication Networked Urbanism, Design Thinking Initiatives for a Better Urban Life

Paul Bottino is cofounder and executive director of TECH, Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard.
TECH’s mission is to advance the understanding and practice of innovation and entrepreneurship through experiential education: by initiating, advancing and informing student projects. TECH helps faculty create and deliver innovation and entrepreneurship project courses, provides students with project support and sponsors and advises student groups working to build the Harvard innovation community.TECH is based on the belief that boundaries—between disciplines, people, organizations, and ideas—need to be crossed continually to create the insights that lead to innovations because socially useful and commercially viable advancements require the right mix of scientific and engineering knowledge, entrepreneurial know-how, and worldly perspective.

Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo (BT&JLV): TECH promotes experiential education, a pedagogical approach that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase their knowledge, develop their skills, clarify their values, and develop their capacity to contribute to their communities.
Networked Urbanism studio incorporates this methodology, requiring participants to leave their comfort zone in order to introduce them to realities in today’s society – outside the walls of Academia—in which designer’s skills are needed. Do you think that this non-academic, feedback-driven process should be used more often in design courses? Does it help to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among students?

Paul B. Bottino (PB): Absolutely. Though it is only non-academic in the sense of that word that means concerned solely with matters of theoretical importance. I consider it academic because it is central to learning, which is my chosen sense of the word. The kind of experiential education that my students and I practice does have practical ends as well as theoretical. But in a creative economy, where knowledge is the primary means of production, education is inextricably linked to practical ends. All of the educators and learners I know—be they at the lifelong, higher, secondary, elementary, or natural level—want to create useful knowledge for their desired ends, and those ends include everything imaginable on the spectrum of human experience. In my case, and I believe this is true of the Networked Urbanism studio, the end goal is to help build students’ innovative capacity.
In order to do that, educators and students must jointly go on an implicit knowledge exploration.

It is obvious but worth saying that knowledge about the future and the new designs that will inhabit it is not explicit, meaning you can’t enter search terms in Google and get answers, even if Google had access to every bit of knowledge available. Instead, it is a research process in which you craft a probe in the form of a design concept and take it to people to educe knowledge about it. If it is a new concept, which it must be to qualify as a potential innovation, then it is going to generate new thoughts. The designer takes those new thoughts not as answers, but rather as feedback. The endeavor of the designer is to transform concepts into value. Value is a utility function; it derives from the use of designs by some number of people. So the essential way designers create value is by engaging in a process of formulation-feedback-reformulation that transforms neurons firing into words, visuals, prototypes, and designs. In my experience, learning via this process is the only way to develop the kind of embodied knowledge that lasts and evolves. Willingly engaging in this full experience and being vulnerable to it is the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit. And, as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., is quoted, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

BT&JLV Networked Urbanism encourages students to choose a topic at the intersection of their interests and society’s needs. They have to take the initiative and make decisions. Projects become unique and linked to their personal stories and many of them live beyond the term. This isn’t the traditional academic approach but it is a common entrepreneurial construct, and designers are increasingly expected to define both the problem and the solution. Do you think that “problem finding” skills have become a fundamental base for innovation?

PB Yes, most certainly. I would say those skills always have been essential to innovation, but it is probably more apt to call them something else because in many cases you don’t need to find the problem, it is in clear view. Consider certain diseases where the problems are well known—when a treatment or cure is discovered, invented, and developed, it is very likely immediately deemed an innovation. This is a process of innovation that occurs almost entirely by devising a new solution to an existing problem. I think it is fair to differentiate creative problem-solving, where the problem is given or known, from innovating, where it is not, yet still call creative solutions that are widely used, innovations. To this way of thinking, the full experience of innovating starts with some kind of finding—finding problems people don’t know they have or finding opportunities others don’t see. These kinds of findings emerge from change. Change causes uncertainty about the meaning of existing things and whether they are still useful and valuable. The designer interprets change, sees things differently, and creates new meaning and value. Because there is so much change, the possibilities are endless so it is essential to filter them through one’s values, interests, and capabilities to make a starting choice. This is wonderful for the educational experience because it supplies personal purpose, relevance, and intrinsic motivation to the exploration.

BT&JLV One of the crucial benefits during the Networked Urbanism studio has been the cross-pollination of students with many different backgrounds from all the programs within the GSD. Moreover, the collaboration with people outside of the studio enhanced the innovation of the projects exponentially, since students are required to build up connections with others, creating a network of advisors and professionals within the field, as well as existing and potential community members. Is interdisciplinary collaboration now a necessary ingredient for successful entrepreneurship and innovation?

PB It is probably too much to say that it is absolutely necessary in all cases because there will always be instances of people seeing things differently and innovating without too much assistance, but it feels like those are edge cases that are more and more extreme. More the norm is where the challenge is complex, and seeing and approaching things differently comes from a combination of perspectives and abilities. It is often hard for one person to see things differently. Some people are more agile than others at changing frames internally; most need collaboration and other inputs to do it. I think this is due to a combination of the way our neural pathways are formed and maintained and a lack of meta-thinking practice. That combined with increasingly specified knowledge domains and the training and concentration necessary to master those domains means collaborating with people from other areas, worldviews, and walks of life increases your chances of seeing things differently, getting the diversity of feedback you need and finding the knowledge resources you need to create value.

The second part of the conversation with Paul Bottino has been published in this post.

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100 en un día | 100 in one day | 100 in un giorno

Category: ⚐ ES+città+ciudad+creatividad+espacio público+participación+sostenibilidad+urban social design+urbanismo+urbanistica

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100 en un día es un festival de experimentación urbana que consiste en la implementación de 100 acciones urbanas en un solo día en una ciudad. La iniciativa nació en 2012 en Bogotá, lanzada por el Colectivo “Acción Urbana” y se ha replicado hasta hoy en 13 países y 28 ciudades en los 4 continentes, entre ellas Santiago del Chile, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Rio de Janeiro y Montreal.

100-en-un-día

Pero, ¿qué se entiende por acción urbana en el contexto de 100 en un día?
Una acción urbana es algo que:

+ tiene capacidad de poner en evidencia un potencial subestimado del carácter urbano de una ciudad
+ surge de reflexiones efectuadas directamente por los ciudadanos, tanto necesidades insatisfechas como deseos
+ se realiza directamente por iniciativas ciudadanas
+ tiene capacidad de concienciar y despertar el interés por lo común 

En Milán 100 in un giorno se realizará el próximo día 27 de Junio a partir de las 7.00 y con una duración de 24 horas. Las acciones urbanas a realizarse (juegos, performance artísticas, instalaciones temporales para deporte y ocio, etc..) serán propuestas directamente por los ciudadanos a través del formulario presente en la página web y durante una serie de workshops organizados in situ.

El festival aspira a involucrar de manera directa a la ciudadanía en el proceso de reimaginar su ciudad, dándoles la posibilidad de transformar activamente su entorno urbano hacia un modelo más sostenible y más enfocado a la escala humana.

Aquí va el vídeo (en italiano) que explica cómo funciona la iniciativa:

100in1giorno 8 from 100in1giorno on Vimeo.

La anécdota: 100 en un día es una de las referencias que incluimos en nuestro catálogo de buenas practicas en la fase de concurso del Plan Maestro del Centro Histórico de Asunción el pasado mes de Agosto.

¡Nos encanta esta iniciativa y esperamos que se difunda y se ponga en práctica en muchas otras ciudades del mundo, contagiando creatividad y capacidad transformador!

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Descubriendo el MIN | Museo para la Identidad Nacional de Honduras

Category: ⚐ ES+arquitectura+arte+ciudad+creatividad+espacio público

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En estos últimos meses estamos trabajando sobre un proyecto de participación ciudadana en la capital de Honduras, el Distrito Central, constituido por las ciudades de Tegucigalpa y Comayaguela.
A finales de Abril tuvimos la oportunidad de realizar un primer viaje a Tegucigalpa para conocer un poco más sobre esta ciudad y tomar contacto con los agentes locales más activos de la comunidad.

Tegucigalpa_2

Entre las realidades más interesantes, descubrimos el MIN – Museo para la Identidad Nacional, una interesante institución que está liderando un proceso de regeneración urbana y activación del centro histórico.
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El MIN es una institución que representa lo que normalmente llamamos catalizador urbano; ya que además de ser un interesante Museo que acoge exposiciones permanentes y temporales sobre la historia y cultura de Honduras, se ha convertido en una referencia para toda la capital hondureña con la organización de actividades y eventos recreativos, culturales, lúdicos y de integración social en el espacio público.

Además de promover actividades formativas en el interior de su estructura, como el programa EDUMIN y el FILMIN, el Museo para la Identidad Nacional ha extendido su influencia positiva también fuera de su institución, comenzando un proceso de regeneración del espacio público en el espacio ubicado frente al edificio, el Paseo Liquidámbar.

En un contexto urbano donde la seguridad es un tema prioritario, condicionando muchas de las actividades normalmente posibles en el espacio público, el MIN constituye una fortaleza que cultiva la innovación social y fomenta el interés cultural entre los jóvenes de la ciudad, reconquistando y tomando la calle mediante la organización de eventos culturales abiertos a la ciudadanía.

El año pasado esta institución se dio a conocer a nivel internacional por la intervención “SombrillasMIN”, que consistió en la instalación de cientos de paraguas para constituir una cubierta multicolor dotando al Paseo Liquidámbar de una gran calidad urbana, acelerando su proceso de regeneración y permitiendo su reafirmación como espacio vivo del Centro Histórico de Tegucigalpa.

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Este año el MIN vuelve a proponer una nueva instalación artística en el cielo del Paseo Liquidámbar: PIXELESMIN. Los objetos que caracterizan la intervención de este año son botellas de plástico (de resinas 100% recicladas – patrocinadas por la empresa PEPSI), que con sus diferentes colores permitirán la creación de patrones gráficos y efectos ópticos dotando a la calle de una nueva atmósfera cromática y espacial.

NUEVO HOME SLIDE ABRIL-2015

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Además de ser una intervención artística low-cost de gran efecto, PIXELESMIN tiene también un valor social muy grande; ya que esta iniciativa ha sido lanzada mediante una campaña de crowdfunding que consiste en solicitar a la ciudadanía una donación de 20.00 Lps (0,80€) por cada botella instalada.
Esta aportación individual se compensa con una entrada gratis al Museo. El dinero recaudado será utilizado para financiar el programa EDUMIN (dirigido a subvencionar actividades artístico-culturales para los niños en riesgo social) y para financiar la próxima instalación artística en el Paseo Liquidámbar.

Nos parece una iniciativa inspiradora ¡y esperamos que el MIN siga trabajando con la misma energía!

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Plan CHA: el making of de la maqueta | video

Category: ⚐ ES+arquitectura+ciudad+comunicación+ecosistema urbano+espacio público+eventos+noticias+Plan CHA+urbanismo

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Hoy os presentamos el vídeo del making of de la gran maqueta del Centro Histórico de Asunción realizada en ocasión de la Exposición sobre el Plan CHA inaugurada el pasado jueves 14 de mayo de 2015, que os contábamos en un post anterior.  La maqueta ha sido realizada por un equipo de arquitectos y estudiantes consolidado a partir del taller #labCHA, y en particular por Jacqueline Jaquet, Daniel Barrientos, Aldo López, Cristian Carísimo, Laura Alejandra Colmán y Oscar Amarilla. ¡Un gran trabajo, literalmente hablando!

El vídeo ha sido grabado por Cristian “Gurú” Nuñez y editado por “Estiven”, ambos parte de la comunidad local que ha dado nacimiento a la primera escuela de cine de La Chacarita, donde jóvenes del barrio pueden acceder a una educación de nivel profesional en temas audiovisuales. ¡Uno de los proyectos piloto que se hacen realidad desde ya!

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El Plan Centro Histórico Asunción se presenta al público

Category: ⚐ ES+arquitectura+ciudad+comunicación+espacio público+eventos+Plan CHA+urbanismo

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foto: Juan Carlos Meza

El pasado jueves 14 de mayo culminó uno de los proyectos más extensos, intensos y complejos que hemos realizado hasta la fecha: el Plan Maestro del Centro Histórico de Asunción, que nos fue adjudicado por concurso el pasado verano y que hemos venido desarrollando desde entonces con un equipo a caballo entre Madrid y la conocida como Madre de Ciudades.

continúa leyendo

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Colectivos para una arqueología del territorio – conferencia y exposición en Lisboa

Category: ⚐ ES+arquitectura+ciudad+noticias+urbanismo

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El próximo Martes 19 de Mayo, Belinda Tato participará en la conferencia internacional Colectivos para uma arqueologia do território, una actividad que se realizará en el ámbito del programa de doctorado Arquitectura dos Territórios Metropolitanos Contemporâneos del Instituto Universitario de Lisboa ISCTE-IUL.

La organización de esta iniciativa está a cargo de la unidad de investigación DINÂMIA’CET. Los objetivos del encuentro son: la consolidación de una línea de investigación sobre los territorios contemporáneos; la percepción de la nueva organizaciones colectivas de arquitectos; apertura del debate académico sobre los temas emergentes relacionados con la actividad de los arquitectos. Asociado a este evento también se celebrará una exposición de obras originales entorno al tema, estando las actividades insertadas en el Congreso internacional Optimistic Suburbia. 

Otros participantes del evento incluyen a Pedro Bandeira, Zuloark, atelierMOB, José Castro Caldas, Jorge Bassani, Projecto Warehouse y FAS-Fundo de Arquitectura Social.

La exposición estará abierta desde el 18 de Mayo al 5 de Junio.
Aquí puedes consultar el  programa del evento.

¡Nos vemos en Lisboa!

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Presenting the 'Networked Urbanism' Book | Available Online for Free!

Category: ⚐ EN+networked design+networkedurbanism+urban social design

Book Cover Book Cover

After several months of work here in Madrid, collaborating with our associate editors at the GSD in Boston, we are happy to announce that the Networked Urbanism book has finally been published online and is making its way through the printing process!

We have been presenting the work of the “Networked Urbanism” students in a series of posts on the blog and they have been publishing many of their ideas and the results of their efforts on networkedurbanism.com, but having the book finally printed on paper is an important milestone considering that the book also contains 4 unpublished essays and an exclusive interview. For those of you that haven’t been following our updates during these years at the GSD, here comes the short story of the book and its contents.

The book is the product of three different studios taught by Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, in Boston, during Fall Term of 2010, 2012, and 2013. The three courses shared the same approach while focusing on slightly different topics; this approach, what we call network-design thinking, is an alternative to the traditional way of designing cities from a bird’s eye view, and a single designer’s perspective.

What is Networked Urbanism?

In today’s connected world, urban design can no longer be addressed from a singular perspective, but should result from an open and collaborative network of creative professionals, technical experts, citizens, and other stakeholder, we need to explore the new role of the designer as an activator, mediator and curator of social processes in a networked reality, but above all, we must develop and test tools that allow citizens to be active participants at all stages: before, during, and after the design process.

Networked Urbanism promotes the exploration of new tools that can become the catalyst to spark creativity and multiply the possibilities of interaction and connection among individuals in the search for more healthy and sustainable communities. The studio challenges future designers to develop initiatives that reconcile existing physical conditions with the emerging needs of citizens through network-design thinking, and promotes active participation in the redefinition of the contemporary city.

The pedagogical approach: the toolbox

The Networked Urbanism studio adopts a framework of experiential education that promotes learning through direct action on the ground and reflection in a continuous feedback loop. With this approach, students actively engaged in posing questions, assuming responsibilities, being curious and creative, investigating, experimenting, and constructing meaning. They became intellectually, emotionally, and socially engaged. This involvement produced a perception that the learning process is authentic, necessary, and real, as a starting point, the Networked Urbanism toolbox provided a set of guidelines that could be applied sequentially throughout the design process:

1. EXPLORE: Choose a topic at the intersection between your personal interests and societal needs.
2. RESEARCH: Become an expert on the topic.
3. NETWORK: Create a network—from citizens to experts—and explore connections at both the official and grassroots level.
4. SHARE: Confront and experience ideas outside your own desk: feedback is a treasure.
5. BE OPEN: Start with a detailed plan but be prepared to disrupt it, responding to its natural development.
6. THINK BIG: Focus on a small-scale design that has the potential of the larger scale, and design a strategic overall vision.
7. START SMALL: Any aspect can be the starting point; the concept will grow as your project develops.
8. ACT NOW!: Prototype and implement in real life at least a small but significant part of the design.
9. COMMUNICATE: Take your initiative to a broader audience.
10. MOVE BEYOND: How can you develop your project beyond the limits of the studio?

The book contents

GIF animation of the contents of the book

The book dives deep into the exploration of these principles, first through four essays: “Digitas Meets Humanitas” written by Blair Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune; “A Different Design Education” by Lulu Li, a former student and creator of bikenapped.com; “Out of the Studio onto the Streets” by Scott Liang, Thomas McCourt, and Benjamin Scheerbarth, also former students and now entrepreneurs with their project Place Pixel; and “Reflection in Action” by Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo containing the famous 10 points of the Networked Urbanism Toolbox; and then with an interview on the importance of design thinking with Paul Bottino, the co-founder and executive director of TECH at Harvard.

The second part of the book contains 19 selected projects organized by their main area of intervention. Even if, obviously, they all can not be easily categorized under a single topic, the first projects are more focused on Environmental issues followed by the ones centered on Social interventions and finally by projects considering more the Digital realm, which are reconnected to the Environmental ones closing the conceptual circle of topics.

Until the printed version is released, you can read the book online and download it in digital format:

Enjoy!

If you want to explore the projects briefly, you can have a look at the list of posts with the projects organized by different thematic categories:

1- Bicycle Culture

2- Turning waste into resources

3- Active awareness

4- Better communities better places

5- Your digital opinion is importat to us

6- Physital social networks

7- Time, space, and memories

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dreamhamar contado como nunca antes: presentación del libro y exposición

Category: ⚐ ES+dreamhamar+ecosistema urbano+publicaciones+urban social design

dreamhamar

dreamhamar es el proceso de network design que llevamos a cabo alrededor del rediseño de la plaza principal —Stortorget— de Hamar, Noruega. Este proceso creativo se inició como un concurso internacional de ideas en 2010 y en julio de 2012 entregamos el proyecto de ejecución de la plaza.

Poco hemos compartido durante este largo tiempo sobre el proyecto, el proceso participativo y las vicisitudes de abrir una pop up office y trabajar codo con codo con la comunidad local. Ha sido un proceso apasionante, intenso y lleno de todo tipo de anécdotas; una experiencia única que nos permitió trabajar sobre un espacio que literalmente habitamos durante 4 meses, ya que nuestra oficina estuvo localizada precisamente allí, frente a Stortorget.

Recopilar, ordenar, cribar y presentar la información producida ha sido una enorme tarea. La voluntad de mostrar y contar esta información en un libro nos ha obligado a realizar una labor de síntesis que por otro lado ha resultado muy esclarecedora. Con este post queremos contaros el proceso que hemos seguido, mostraros unas primeras imágenes del resultado e invitaros a su presentación en público.

dreamhamar book - interior

dreamhamar book – interior

Volver a contar la historia

Acabado el proceso participativo, que tuvo lugar entre los meses de agosto y diciembre de 2011, redactamos un informe para el ayuntamiento contando lo que se había hecho desde distintos puntos de vista. Nuestra idea inicial era pulir ese documento, convertirlo en un libro y hacerlo público. Pero pronto nos dimos cuenta de que para hacer todo el proceso inteligible y, sobre todo, facilitar el aprovechamiento práctico del conocimiento generado necesitábamos contarlo de otra manera. Tras meses de redacción y revisión en inglés y noruego, el resultado es una forma de contarlo, de muchas otras que podría haber, que creemos que es más estructurada y fácil de “navegar”, leer y consultar.

Revisar el proceso de forma (auto)crítica

Uno de los valores más claros de plantear una metodología definida aun sin precedentes directos es el de la experimentación. Pero ese valor no trascendería más allá de la experiencia concreta si no fuéramos capaces de extraer conclusiones con vistas a mejorar el proceso y repetirlo en otra ocasión. De modo que, junto a varios colaboradores del ámbito de la sociología urbana y la antropología, realizamos una revisión del proyecto, repasando las herramientas y metodologías utilizadas, explicitando nuestras propias impresiones tras la experiencia directa, destacando cosas que funcionaron bien y aspectos que habría que mejorar en el futuro, y tratando de condensar todo ello en una serie de conclusiones que pudiéramos compartir.

Clasificar, seleccionar y reelaborar materiales

dreamhamar nos dejó con una cantidad ingente de materiales de todo tipo. Notas escritas en cuartillas y postales, comentarios y posts publicados en la página, paneles con propuestas de proyecto hechas por estudiantes, cartones con esquemas dibujados durante los talleres, dibujos hechos por los niños en las escuelas, documentos impresos y digitales, maquetas, vídeos y sobre todo muchísimas fotografías de todo el proceso. Desde el principio tuvimos claro que para poder mostrar y compartir posteriormente el proceso teníamos que poner especial cuidado en documentarlo muy bien, y así lo hicimos. El resultado es que, a la hora de recapitular y contar el proyecto, hemos echado en falta muy pocas cosas, pero nos hemos tenido que enfrentar a la difícil tarea de ordenar, cribar, seleccionar y formatear todo ese contenido que sí tenemos.

Maquetar, revisar, maquetar, revisar…

Y por último, montar el libro. Para ello contamos con Lugadero, una joven editorial de Sevilla que desde el principio vio muy claro el proyecto y apostó sin dudarlo por su publicación. Con ello comenzó un largo proceso de pruebas y maquetas para encontrar una estructura adecuada, y después un aún más largo proceso de revisión y ajuste. En la carpeta del proyecto tenemos cerca de 40 borradores llenos de anotaciones, correspondientes a otras tantas vueltas de revisión. Algunas parciales, otras específicas para revisión de textos o gráficos, y otras, la mayoría, mucho más completas y exhaustivas.

Y por fin… el libro

Gracias a la paciencia y dedicación de todos los que han participado en esto, podemos por fin presentar una edición muy cuidada que, esperamos, permitirá al lector entender el proyecto en su totalidad y revisar al detalle nuestras reflexiones y conclusiones sobre lo que fue una gran experiencia piloto de network design y de lo que nos gusta llamar diseño social urbano.

dreamhamar book

dreamhamar book

Este es el libro que estaremos presentando en Lugadero mañana martes, aprovechando para inaugurar una exposición con materiales complementarios, algunos traídos casi directamente de nuestra última instalación en la Bienal de Venecia. ¡Os esperamos allí! Para los que no estéis por Sevilla, no os preocupéis, en breve os contaremos más sobre el libro y la manera de conseguirlo.

Fecha: martes 29 de abril de 2014
Hora:  20:30h
Lugar: Lugadero (C/Correduría, 5A, Sevilla)

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#networkedurbanism: design thinking initiatives for a better urban life

Category: ⚐ EN+ecosistema urbano+networkedurbanism+publications+urban social design

Last year we introduced a pink #networkedurbanism banner on the right hand side of our blog. Although we briefly mentioned it in previous posts, we never formally wrote about this banner and what is behind it.

networkedurbanism

networkedurbanism

What is it about?

#networkedurbanism is a series of courses we – Jose Luis Vallejo and Belinda Tato- have taught for the last four years in different Universities:  Harvard GSD (2010, 2012, 2013), University of Alghero (2013) and Portland State University (Winter 2014).

#networkedurbanism studio aims to bring interdisciplinary problem solving to the forefront of our work by working on real-world issues and providing an alternative to the traditional way of designing cities. Networked Urbanism blends critical theory with hands-on practice, progressive thinking with social engagement, and research with reflection in action. The studio provides the framework for participants to find their own interests, their own means of expression, their own paths.

Due to the nature of this course, the results and outputs are extremely different as the topics selected by students mainly respond to their own interests and aspirations.

#networkedurbanism design thinking methodology

The ‘toolbox’ of the course includes 10 guidelines:

01. EXPLORE: a topic in the intersection between personal interest and “real” society needs
02. RESEARCH: become an expert in the topic.
03. NETWORK: Create a network (from citizens to experts). Explore the official side but also bottom up visions.
04. SHARE: confront and experience ideas outside your own desk, feedback is a treasure.
05. OPENNESS: start with a detailed plan and be prepared to disrupt it responding to its natural development.
06. THINK BIG: Design a strategic overall vision.
07. START SMALL: Focus on a small scale design that has the potential of the bigger scale.
08. ACT NOW!: Prototype and implement into real life at least a small but significant part of the design.
09. COMMUNICATE: reach a broader audience.
10. BEYOND: How can I develop my project beyond this term?

With this approach, and during the different courses, we have obtained great results. We are aware that working with real issues, real problems and creating connections with professionals is quite challenging, especially considering the time constraint of a term. But at the same time we truly believe that getting out of the designers’ comfort zone, and being exposed to real life, having to provide ambitious but feasible solutions give the students the skills and power to better face reality after they finish this stage of their education. Moreover, some of the ideas/projects developed within these studios continue beyond the course, in many cases becoming the professional thread for the students, who naturally grow as entrepreneurs.

Documenting processes and publishing results

In order to document the processes and the results of the different courses we created, with help of Wes Thomas and Montera34, a specific website where students could upload images, texts, documents and videos along the different stages of development of their projects.

You can browse the contents by their authors —to follow a specific project—, by courses, or by keywords that summarize all different topics or issues the projects have been addressing.

Networked Urbanism website - clic to visit

Networked Urbanism website – clic to visit

We are currently working on a book that will be published by Harvard GSD as a compilation of the projects produced at the studios we taught there in the Urban Planning and Design Department.

On a shorter term we are going to produce a series of posts which summarize some of the projects developed. Some of the topics that are more present are: PLACEMAKING, DIGITAL, MAPPING, WASTE, MOBILITY, RESOURCES, AWARENESS, EDUCATION.

In the meantime, we invite you to surf the web to see the results, that we hope you find inspiring:

networkedurbanism.com

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Ziudad, citizen buzzing to be listened to | Social toolbox

Category: ⚐ EN+social toolbox

ziudad

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


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

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