Comments: (2)

International summer course (by the sea) | Urban design and sustainable architecture

Category: ⚐ EN+architecture+sustainability+urbanism

More Than Green international summer course

The people behind More Than Green have organized a great summer course on July 15-26, 2013 in the mediterranean city of Alicante (Spain), where we will also be taking part together with PLAYstudio, Transsolar and Urban Think Tank.

Sustainability is not just an environmental issue but, and above all, a social, cultural and economic one. This course about URBAN DESIGN and SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE proposes a complex incursion within the subject of sustainability understood not only as a problem but as an opportunity to meet new approaches to the city in a creative, innovative, playful and unprejudiced way.

More Than Green

Contents + Objectives

Architecture in Alicante

Improve your design skills: based on an open criticism of the “only green” approach for the construction of our future sustainable cities, this course offers a much wider, complex and playful perspective at the same time. Students will combine the design of a team project –about an specific case‐ with the supervision of guest experts and their master classes.

Build a knowledge frame –examples of good practices told by guest experts‐ where students take consciousness of the importance of broadening their understanding of sustainability according to the new world policies.

Create a typical multicultural situation of an international course where students coming from different places exchange their various backgrounds and modes of undertaking the sustainable urban project. The diversity of the faculties contributes to enrich this situation.

Methodology + Course Structure

Architecture in Alicante

Master classes, teamwork and project reviews within the context of four different ways of understanding sustainability: ENVIRONMENTALLY, SOCIALLY, ECONOMICALLY and CULTURALLY.

Faculty

Faculty

DIRECTOR: José Luis Oliver Ramírez  (University of Alicante) + TRANSSOLAR: Matthias Schuler (Harvard GSD) + URBAN-THINK TANK: Alfredo Brillembourg (ETH Zurich) + ECOSISTEMA URBANO: Belinda Tato y Jose Luis Vallejo (Harvard GSD) + PLAYstudio: Iván Capdevila y Vicente Iborra (University of Alicante)

Alicante + Free time

Lively Alicante at dusk

It’s summer, you’re by the coast… who would dare to keep you away from having fun?  Within the course structure, it is programmed a considerable amount of free time so the students can visit other cities or some interesting spots on the surroundings, enjoy the sun and the beach, or take part in different summer activities organized by the University of Alicante.

Acommodation

University of Alicante

The University of Alicante offers you a wide range of facilities and affordable accommodation in several lovely locations from the historic city centre to the university campus surroundings.

You can download the brochure here: MTG International Summer Course  – PDF
For a more information on fees, acommodation, organization, etc. check the official website: summercourse.morethangreen.es

Comments: (0)

Resolution planning and design for peace

Category: ⚐ EN+city+findings+urbanism

Is Peace a matter of design? Do designers have a role in it? During our stay at Harvard GSD last Fall semester, we had the pleasure to meet architect Karen Lee Bar-Sinai who is a current Loeb Fellow there. Last January she launched the workshop DESIGNING PEACE, looking into how designers can envision peace for the city of Jerusalem. Below is a description of the course and the links to some of the contents and results. We hope you find them inspiring.

designing peace

Architecture and Planning may seem to be of little relevance to Conflict Resolution. However, territorial conflicts occur in space, and so are their solutions. It is time architects, planners and policy makers approach disputed territories together to plan viable, peaceful futures for disputed areas.

This workshop invites you to join an exploration of how design can aid envisioning peace in conflicted territories. We will explore the possible meaning of Resolution Planning – originally a concept and practice developed by “SAYA/Design for Change” (sayarch.com) . Together we will try to give broaden this term, and find new ways to encourage policy makers to think as architects, and to encourage architects to think as policy makers.

Palestinian and Israeli zones on Jerusalem

The 5 day solution-oriented workshop will focus on Jerusalem as a case study for other contested cities such as Belfast and Nicosia. We will plan, think and design at various scales, and propose innovative ideas for peace. Several sites will serve as case studies (one will encourage a landscape intervention, another an urban design strategy, and a third will call for a more general policy oriented vision for the future Jerusalem seam-line). The workshop is planned to be followed by a publication.

Goals and Outcome:
The goal of the workshop is to develop spatial-based concepts to aid peace. We also plan to gather the various proposals into a publication which will include both the theoretical framework and examples of various tools for planning peace.
Above all, we wish for this effort to truly aid overcoming the stalemate in the peace process, which we believe it is crucial to future of both Israeli and Palestinian. We therefore wish this event to be as interesting, meaningful and involving as possible, in order for its fruits and visions of peacemaking to be of highest impact.

Among the contents and results of the workshop we highlight here an introduction to resolution planning and a lecture by Karen on the topic:

More info:

Results: Gallery of the workshop | Same in slideshow mode
Homepage: designing-peace.com
Related website: ispeacepossible.com

Comments: (0)

Blanca Abramek | eu collaborators

Category: ⚐ EN+colaboradores

Today we introduce Blanca Abramek, an architecture student who did an internship with us last spring/summer. She did a great work actively helping us with the design and selection of contents for a book about Dreamhamar that we are now (finally!) finishing.

Blanca Abramek -  by Emilio P. Doiztúa

In her own words:

I’m in my final year of Architecture and Graphic Design at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA. As researcher at the Positive Psychology Center, I am investigating the relationship between urban design and well- being.

Because of my interest in fine arts, cultural anthropology, psychology and film I like to look at design from a holistic perspective. In my opinion architecture relies on an interdisciplinary exchange in which lies the opportunity for architects to seek broader strategies for impact. I believe that in today’s world we, architects and urban designers, need to seek radical new channels of influence that move design away from focusing only on providing professional services and toward a more ambitious role of cultural leadership in the built and social environments.

Blanca Abramek at Ecosistema Urbano

Here is a short summary about Blanca:

Occupation: Student
Interests: Dance, travel
City/country: Warsaw, PL
Social profiles: @tendrebarbare
Related posts on this blog

Both photos were taken at our office in Madrid. The first –amazing– one is by Emilio P. Doiztúa.

Comments: (0)

Low Budget Urbanity: frugal practices transforming the city | Call for papers

Category: #follow+#followresearch+⚐ EN+convocatorias+sustainability+urbanism

The trans-disciplinary research initiative “Low-Budget Urbanity. Frugal Practices Transforming the City” invites PhD and post-doctoral researchers to their first Early Career Laboratory from March 25th to 28th 2013 at HafenCity University in Hamburg.

Low Budget Urbanity - visit website

Low-Budget Urbanity is a research programme that explores contemporary urban phenomena such as ridesharing and online hospitality networks, water-saving infrastructures and DIY-practices of house owners, and second-hand consumer cooperatives as saving practices that transform the urban setting. These self-organized saving practices all involve “complex encounters, connections and mixtures of diverse hybrid networks of humans and animals, objects and information, commodities and waste“ (Sheller and Urry 2006:2).

Public budgets are slashed, many cities are burdened with near-paralysing debt, and for private households, too, saving money often is less a virtue than the order of the day. As a search term of an exploratory and multidisciplinary research project, “low-budget urbanity” provides a relational perspective on those seemingly disparate austerity phenomena. The research focuses on the question of how these phenomena are transforming cities.

What is new is not that saving money constitutes a principle of individual practices (rationalized building, economic or political action, individual budget planning, etc.), but that the austerity imperative for the assemblage, i.e. the confluence and interaction of these principles has become a force that shapes and defines cities.

Next you can find a call for papers that many of you may find interesting, with the topic “What is the value of saving costs? The urban economics and politics of everyday saving practices”.

CfP EarlyCareerLab LBU

More info:

Official website: low-budget-urbanity.de
Research group funding programme

Comment: (1)

Open Source Urbanism | Open Source City

Category: ⚐ EN+open culture+urbanism

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Flickr image by Julio Albarrán

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

Comment: (1)

EU collaborators | Marta Battistella

Category: ⚐ EN+colaboradores

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!

Edit: During her stay at Ecosistema Urbano, Marta wrote a very interesting series of posts about digital social tools for the city. You can check them here: Social Toolbox | Marta Battistella

Comment: (1)

Sostre Cívic, a cooperative housing model

Category: ⚐ EN+urbact

While preparing the URBACT Biannual report, we found some interesting information regarding sustainable urban development. One of them is Sostre Cívic, a non-profit association that aims to provide planning solutions applicable to our society through non speculative access to housing.

continue reading

Comments: (0)

In Berlin: Reclaiming Dark Spaces

Category: ⚐ EN+creativity+urbanism

Artists in Berlin utilize a forgotten beer cellar, an old soviet bunker and an abandoned power station.

Berlin is well known for it’s population’s frequent reclamation of abandoned tenement buildings, but the past couple of years have seen an even more impressive trend of the reuse of seemingly uninhabitable dark spaces for art showings and cultural gatherings.

Galerie Unter Berlin
Eight meters below ground, Galerie unter Berlin exists in the cellar of a former brewery. The 500 square meter space recently opened to the public in fall 2010 and serves as a venue for gallery art and performance pieces. continue reading

Comments: (0)

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

Comments: (0)

WeCommune: Tech Support for Communes

Category: ⚐ EN+espacios sensibles | sentient city


Post-ownership living
may be closer than we think. We see the evidence all around us, in the form of innovations from community kitchens to emerging mobility solutions. So, if people are recognizing the practical potential in social solutions, why aren’t even more models for collaboration, sharing and product-service systems thriving? According to architect Stephanie Smith, spurring the movement may be a simple matter of providing the tech support.

This week Smith, who heads WeCommune, plans to launch the first software platform designed specifically for, well, communing (if you visit, you may get a splash page while they transition). The platform’s services will allow groups of three or more people to self-organize a “commune” defined by a shared interest or shared zip code, and will provide tools for communicating, organizing and managing projects, and sharing resources. continue reading