Comment: (1)

Plaza Ecópolis en la coreana C3 Magazine

Category: ⚐ ES+espacio público+publicaciones


Acabamos de recibir en la oficina dos ejemplares de la revista coreana C3 MAGAZINE, el número 351 de noviembre.



Una publicación muy cuidada y con obras muy interesantes. Estamos encantados de encontrar la escuela de Rivas Vaciamadrid entre ellas. Pondremos un post-it en la página 158.


Comments: (0)

Digital social tools for the city l New series: Social Toolbox

Category: ⚐ EN+social toolbox+technologies

Today we present a coming series of posts about digital social tools. With this term we mean digital platforms, software, and online projects developed for the improvement of cities and neighbourhoods through direct participation by their citizens. Digital social tools can be open platforms that allow anyone to sign up and collaborate or applications that can be applied to different participatory projects.

What is the social potential of information technology and of the development of open source software and web-based social projects? To answer this question we will begin by establishing a theoretical framework contextualizing this spreading phenomena in contemporary society. In the end we will propose a system for a graphic representation to help us better understand and compare their underlying structure.

 Marta Battistella

continue reading

Comments: (4)

Huertos urbanos: un Madrid cultivable para los niños | eu:KIDS

Category: ⚐ ES+eu:kids


Lejos de entrar a fondo en el extensísimo e interesante tema de la horticultura urbana, hay cosas muy positivas que podemos extraer de ello por su sencillez y enormes beneficios, poniendo una vez más en relación la ciudad y los niños.

leer más

Comment: (1)

Mass culture: How to not die of

Category: ⚐ EN+city+sustainability+urbanism

Last summer, different cities from different parts of the world screamed through their squares and streets, and the messages from their voices revealed more than what we could see at first sight.

2013 Taksim Gezi Park by Flashstorm

2013 Taksim Gezi Park by Flashstorm

In Turkey, protests clashed initially in Gezi Park in Istanbul, where the government wanted to impose a new shopping center in the middle of the city, where a green park stood. The protests appeared trivial and useless, as the decision to build another shopping center, commonly and always justified as part of innovation and development of a country, could not compete with citizens’ willingness to keep a green area in the city center. Anyway it appeared incredible that due to this occupation, government military forces started a real fight against the ‘riots’, so that from a little episode, the phenomena started to expand to the whole country, augmenting the size of the protest and people’s involvement.

Photo by Diren Gezi Parki on Facebook

Photo by Diren Gezi Parki on Facebook

Likewise, Brazilian people began to occupy their streets in the name of stopping their Government for what they considered a waste of money and resources: the forthcoming World Football Championship. As it is known, the investment for this is a huge cost, involving the building and the re-organization of new spaces. Citizens occupied the streets asking to invest that money in more urgent sectors, as education, health and security. For sure, behind this people movements, behind their complaints and their need of being listened to, there are several dimensions of a same problem.

The ‘problem’ is that people would like to be part of a democracy, as the Governments define themselves, and have access to a democratic life, having the chance to be active part of the decisions taken. Mass culture takes part as a dimension of the phenomena. We can try to understand why and to what extent.

The context for much of the current interest in material culture is a fear. It is a fear of objects supplanting people. That this is currently happening is the explicit contention of much of the debate over postmodernism which is one of the most fashionable approaches within contemporary social science. (Miller, 1998:169)

This statement is extracted from an article where the author explains that the fear described is an overrated feeling in sociology. If we consider the Marxist position, it uses to refer to a distinction between an assumed pre-era, far from material objects, and the modern one, made or dominated by material; anyway there is actually no evidence of this historical distinction from ethnography or past studies, as even old societies were rather engaged with cultural media (Miller, 1998). However, Miller’s thought is contextualized in a different discourse, whilst the theme, that hereby is going to be explored, touches that argument in the most ‘materialist’ way possible: Indeed it will be the consideration of mass culture intended in its symbolic and representative meaning, and especially in which way the symbolic and the representative are intertwined with the material objects and massive quantitative consequences of its use as media tools.

In this case, I would argue that fear is not overrated, rather it is underestimated. Indeed, fear is real as much as deaths due to climate change and revolutions; fear is real to the extent that some people have too much and others have nothing. In this essay mass culture will be discussed from the aspect of its weight on people and planet lives, in particular inside our cities. I would try to discuss mass culture from an ethic point, not asking if we are dominated or whether there is the domination of a Western or capitalist culture, but rather inquiring if we are dominated by mass culture without recognizing its cost in terms of social justice, sustainability and depleting resources, and thus, if we could change something before crashing indirectly also due to mass culture’s effects.

Mass culture and the city

Image by AlexandraGalvis

Image by AlexandraGalvis

Mass culture is, first of all, an incredible phenomenon itself. With this term, I will refer to the huge flowering of cultural products and cultural media that surrounds our daily life, often strongly driven by markets, and that, due to the global streaming, reach masses and are consumed quite globally. Thus, it is clear that within the phenomena, arts, events, shopping and most of the rituals and media we experience daily are directly involved. Above all, mass culture has a relation with the consumerism system and technology development. Furthermore, when we talk about mass culture, we talk about a collective culture production, and thus of a result due to human interaction. (Grazian, 2010).

It is not so difficult to imagine the particular relationship that mass culture engages with cities. Not just because it is possible to observe it directly, but because cities are primarily the first concentration of masses where people live into the network of relationships, where their lives are indeed organized and intertwined within the social system. Literature supports various different traditions and points of view: For sure the city has always been seen as a great place for commercial, business, capitalist trades and often cities have been built according to these interests. For instance, Marx Weber in his classic ‘The city’ (1958) discusses it in these terms, trying to identify their main features, stressing what defines a city and what is not enough:

Both in terms of what it would include and what it would exclude size alone can hardly be sufficient to define the city. Economically defined, the city is a settlement the inhabitants of which live primarily off trade and commerce rather than agriculture.

Certainly, due to chances of trades, relationships and exchanges, the city is the realm of business. Weber also considers citizens according to their consumer role:

Similar to the city of the prince, the inhabitants of which are economically dependent upon the purchasing power of noble households, are cities in which the purchasing power of the other larger consumers, such as reinters, determines the economic opportunities of resident tradesmen and merchants.

Moreover, he claimed that:

Thus, we wish to speak of a ‘city’ only in cases where local inhabitants satisfy an economically substantial part of their daily wants in the local market (…). In the meaning employed here the ‘city’ is a market place. The local market forms the economic center of the colony in which, due the specialization products, both the nonurban population and urbanites satisfy their wants for articles of trade and commerce. (1958)

So, as a central crossroads of activities made of relationships and exchange, soon the city became the symbol of economy, gathering around itself both producers and consumers, and creating for them a whole life, including mainly rituals and tools of innovation concerning demand/buying and offer/selling. This is well explained by Jayne in his essay ‘Cities and Consumption’ (2006). He conducts an analysis about the rising of the industrial revolution, mass production and the consequent mass consumption, and the rituals of shopping and entertainment that had developed around these, collocated in the spaces of the cities, according to class distinctions, social system and capitalist interests. And mainly it is from this process that mass culture developed for the most as we know it today. Jayne stresses also how the dominant class pictured the shape of cities basically operating on the re-organization of spaces in order to respond functionally to a social meaning of class division, but also to respond to new needs of rituals primed by economic growth and capitalist fuel (2006).

It is in the first years of the 20th Century that the consumption of objects as media tools of culture in a massive style starts to be established and spread, thanks to the incentive of mass commodification and the technology advances. As it has been described by Veblen (1899), and Bourdieu later (1984), consumption and possession became icons of status. Precisely, as affirmed with the concept of cultural capital, the consumption of a specific culture and lifestyle became the symbol of distinction within the capitalist societies, where agencies and institutions worked to perpetuate the status quo (Bourdieu, 1984).

A kind of economic frame-centrism seems to exist, indeed economy is often the most considered starting point for analyzing society, as an invasive factor that defines all that it touches. Anyway, according to me, it is necessary not to forget that economy is not the only working force, because, not considering the phenomenon exactly in its whole, we risk to fall into determinism, being partial, and not seeing alternative ways of operating.

Robert Park, the major exponent of Chicago School, in 1916 talks of the city from another point of view, in my opinion also changing the vision of mass culture related. I found his words extremely interesting:

The city, from the point of view of this paper, is something more than a congeries of individual men and of social conveniences-streets, buildings, electric lights, tramways, and telephones, etc.; something more also, than a mere constellation of institutions and administrative devices -courts, hospitals, schools, police, and civil functionaries of various sorts. The city is, rather, a state of mine, a body of customs and traditions, and of the organized attitudes and sentiments that inhere in these customs and are transmitted with this tradition. The city is not, in other words, merely a physical mechanism and an artificial construction. It is involved in the vital process of the people who compose it; it is a product of nature, and particularly of human nature. (1916)

Considering that, I would see mass culture more like something belonging to the city in a virtual and potential way, then created by people and by their relations built there, and as something that is not just derived by economic forces and consumerism traditions. Again, the city characteristics assume a more human look. Park doesn’t forget the economic side and recognizes its importance:

The city is not, however, merely a geographical and ecological unit; it is at the same time an economic unit. The economic organization of the city is based on the division of labor. (…) Much of what we ordinarily regard as the city-its charters, formal organization, buildings, street railways, and so forth-is, or seems to be, mere artifact. But these things in themselves are utilities, adventitious devices which become part of the living city only when, and in so far as, through use and wont they connect themselves, like a tool in the hand of man, with the vital forces resident in individuals and in the community.

Another last important aspect:

The fact is, however, that the city is rooted in the habits and customs of the people who inhabit it. The consequence is that the city possesses a moral as well as a physical organization, and these two mutually interact in characteristic ways to mold and modify each other… (1916)

Thus, the city is first of all the space of human action and the shape and personality of its citizens. It is the place where culture and ideas flourish, as a fruit of human interaction.

Image by Oleksandr Hnatenko

Image by Oleksandr Hnatenko,

Following this pattern, we can look at analysis that see the representative idea of a city today, as the core of creativity, the essence of innovation, and the development and growth of a contemporary era. The same Richard Florida best seller ‘The rise of creative class’ (2002) contributed to expand the idea of a different city representation. Together with the ‘The creative city’ by Landry (2000), the authors indicated culture in its whole manifestation as the best creativity booster factor to attract the main potential resource of innovation: creative people.

By the way:

Hall unfolds a very important aspect of urban creativity, i.e. the people involvement. In fact, in the view of many scholars concerned with popular culture, people are not only passively consuming goods, as ‘mass’, they are also creatively determining the production and circulation of culture (Chambers, 1986; Fiske, 1989a, b) and shaping accordingly their view of the city. (Botta, 2006)

Mass culture could be seen as created, influenced, inspired by and consumed in the cities. But, in a double way, the same city is protagonist of mass culture, of narrative and imaginary, recounted and repurposed as representative of an idea of the city itself.

Mass culture, consumption and sustainability

Once the interrelationship between city and mass culture has been observed and after having stressed how there is not an only way to intend this liaison, we could now focus on the weight of mass culture. This weight could seem invisible to most, in first place because they don’t want people to see it, and then because people don’t want to see it either. Indeed, I am talking of a complex plot process among mass culture, consumerism and mass consumption, something that concerns deeply our ‘normal’ representation of daily life, as the best life possible.

Every day we get up and go to work. We work to earn money and with that money we buy everything that can permit us to conduce a comfortable life, possibly happy, healthy and rich. The more we work, the more we earn, the more we want to have. Having objects, first of all, does not imply them to be stupid ones. We love design, we love to show off concern for our culture: So we fill our houses with books, compact discs, vinyls, vintage pieces, clothes, shoes, cars. We love of course an independent big house with all comforts, hot in winter and cool in summer. We love culture, we love style and good food, we love travelling around the world, we love a comfortable life, we love shopping. We love sports, we love concerts and dancing. And above all, we love doing everything in a single very amusing and cozy place: a big city that can offer this and more.

That above seems almost one of those pictures or statements that we can commonly find on the teenager’s timeline on Facebook. A real statement about ideal life underpinned by mass culture. Unfortunately it is a sad reality if observed under another point of view. I regret to communicate that our planet is not big nor rich enough (not anymore) to grant the same treatment to all the teenagers of the world. I am sorry to communicate to my friends that their passion to collect rock compact discs is increasing the garbage that someone else will probably find as plastic junk in the sea. I am sorry to communicate to citizens that our big cities are not going to be livable anymore if the presence of toxic gases will increase. I am sorry to communicate that while your favorite an-alcoholic drink brand, Coca Cola, launches its new advertise, assessing their will to help people and make the world a better place, with children singing in the background, in India their factories are exploiting the country’s water resources to produce their drink and the company is collaborating with Government to privatize the same water, taking it away from people.

Image seen in Global Environments & Societies wiki

Image seen in

It is not easy put in discussion the best lifestyle possible people’s idea: but it is time to really face the cost of our lifestyle, and our lovely mass culture. Maybe mass culture has become a natural part of our life that it is really difficult try to reason on it in terms of sustainability for the planet in which we live, the only one. This is because mass culture currently concerns almost all the rituals of our everyday life, including education, cultural capital, identity, wealth, traditions, and all the ‘soft’ symbolic part turned on rituals.

Anyway, at this point, it could be useful to make a distinction. For me, when we talk about mass culture we are not talking just and necessarily of consumerism, but perhaps more of rituals and activities that are deep-rooted within the consumerist society; this has then for sure been emphasized to an excess, in quantity and in stimulation and expansion of people’s needs. Indeed, Chandra Mukerji (1983) has historically described examples of consumer culture in the 15th Century Europe, where the exchange of media culture, such as books, exotic pieces from far places, jewels, spices and textures, was usual among royalty and upper classes (Wilk, 2002). Moreover, Peter Corrigan argues that the concept of ‘fashion’ was already well known in the Elizabethan times, when London was the center of trends (1997).

Today the modern consumption and the consumerism culture has achieved an exaggerate level of production of goods, if not waste. We could think that the human nature aims to have as much as possible or that being greedy is a natural component of human behavior; instead it is fairly reasonable that not in all societies, in the past nor now, people have the same need of possession, nor the same notion of richness or comforts. Nowadays, we can also say that not even the whole population belonging to the same society has the same notion of values in life and of our cities. Coming back for a moment to Turkey and Brazil, it is clear that a great number of people doesn’t agree with their Governments about which are the priorities for a good life in their cities. Could another shopping center create better conditions for people or enrich people more than a green space? Could a world event solve the social basic issues of inequity and poverty of a country? People are recognizing more and more that what is really important for their cities are adequate spaces for themselves, where they have the chance to choose their rituals or maybe to create them.

We are in a cyclic system that resembles a treadmill, where the whole society is involved, into the process of producing needs, old and new, and then producing goods. The index to indicate the level of wealth and growth is the GDP that measures the quantity of goods – products in one year per country. Is the huge quantity of goods produced seriously making our societies better and prosper?

Whereas mass culture (or mass cultures) is made of tools, symbols, icons, practices, rituals and it is something concerning people and their consumption in a certain way, what distinguishes pure consumerism today is: The quantity of goods produced; the stimulation and the expansion of needs; the pushing, by few stakeholders, of society towards consumption and possession. For sure marketing and selling strategies have always done a good job to lead practices, rituals and symbols around their products.

Buy More Stuff, Black Friday 2009 - Photo by Michael Holden

Buy More Stuff, Black Friday 2009 – Photo by Michael Holden

Consumerism affects mass culture so much that is primarily a mean of identity and interaction with others, because historically our Western capitalist societies consider money and the quantity of goods as distinctive symbols of wealth and success in life. Sure is that, the existence and the use of mass culture both suffer this deal. But in a society where we are conscious of the issues concerning the exploitation of resources and the return of it under the shape of garbage and where the first value is keeping safe life conditions, mass culture could change look. Already now we are adhering to style trends for smart cities, car sharing, waste recycle and other practices, that if inserted as pieces of mass culture into our lives could help to change mass culture too.

Thus, we cannot just criticize our consumerism society in terms of the damage that we are causing. We should start to reflect on our daily cultural practices, which are indeed made of mass cultural media tools, starting by city spaces, where our activities are concentrated and where more than other we could see the rituals and the proliferation of mass culture. And thus, we should begin thinking of a new approach based on them. I am persuaded that we could indeed change mass culture through mass culture itself.

According to the anthropologist Margaret Mead, there is no single approach working successfully in every society; rather, each one has a “culturally appropriate” approach, concerning the specific characteristics of its individuals (1953). In this perspective, Wilk argues:

They imply that no single set of solutions, technological, legislative, or cultural, is going to work in every society. On the contrary, we should expect great diversity in the ways different countries and cultures deal with sustainability problems. How can we expect things to change in the countries that presently consume so much more than their share of global resources? (2002)

When we talk about cities, we then talk about mass culture too, thus maybe cities could live by a different mass culture. As the city has been the protagonist of growth of mass society and mass culture of consumerism, it could also happen that the city may see the birth of a new and fairer society. Indeed, change should begin from here, from the set of organizations and citizens, in creating different rituals and use of the spaces.

Image by Starkart

Image by Starkart


Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. Richard Nice. Harvard University Press.
Corrigan, Peter. 1997. The Sociology of Consumption: An Introduction. London: Sage.
Florida, Richard. 2002. The Rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic Books.
Grazian, David. 2010. Mix It Up: Popular Culture, Mass Media, and Society. New York: W. W. Norton & Co.
Jayne, Mark. 2006. Cities and Consumption. New York: Routledge.
Landry, Charles. 2000. The creative city. New York: Routledge.
Mead, Margaret; World Federation for Mental Health. 1953. Cultural patterns and technical change. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Miller, Daniel. 1998. “Coca Cola: A Sweet Black Drink from Trinidad.” Pp. 169-187 in Material Cultures: Why Some Things Matter, edited by D. Miller. London: UCL Press.
Mukerji, Chandra.1983. From Graven Images: Patterns of Modern Materialism New York: Columbia University Press.
Park, Robert. 1916. “The city: suggestions for the investigation of human behavior in the urban environment” Pp. 90 -130 in Classic Essay on the Culture of Cities. New York. 1969, edited by R. Sennett. New York Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Weber, Max. 1958. “The City.” Pp. 23-46 in Classic Essay on the Culture of Cities. New York. 1969, edited by R. Sennett. New York Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Wilk, Richard. 2002. “Culture and Energy Consumption” Pp. 109-130, in Energy: Science, Policy and the Pursuit of Sustainability, edited by Robert Bent, Lloyd Orr, and Randall Baker. Island Press: Washington.
Veblen, Thorstein. 1899 [1973]. The Theory of the Leisure Class. Introduction John Kenneth Galbraith. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

This is a guest article by Simona Ibba (@PenniLeyn). Thanks, Simona!

If you want to get your own article published, see this.

Comment: (1)

Formación en planificación participativa para grupos de apoyo local | Segunda sesión en Madrid

Category: ⚐ ES+urbact+urbanismo

Un momento del anterior seminario - Foto: Emilio P. Doiztúa

El pasado mes de junio tenía lugar la primera sesión del programa de formación en planificación participativa que está organizando URBACT para hacer más fácil su tarea a los integrantes y coordinadores de los Grupos de Apoyo Local. Podéis leer la crónica del seminario y las entrevistas que realizamos a sus asistentes, procedentes de distintas ciudades de España y con un perfil muy variado.

El programa URBACT se está centrando en la capacitación como una de sus prioridades, y de acuerdo con ese enfoque se lanzó un programa de capacitación para los integrantes de los Grupos de Apoyo Local en cada país, además de para los representantes políticos.

Los grupos de apoyo local son una pieza clave en el programa. Cada ciudad adscrita a un proyecto de URBACT crea su propia red local de agentes interesados, que se convierte en reflejo de la comunidad. Son entidades o personas de la ciudad que se involucran en el desarrollo de un Plan de Acción Local que la ciudad elabora a través de la colaboración con otras ciudades.

Los próximos lunes 25 y martes 26 de noviembre tendrá lugar en Madrid el segundo seminario nacional de este programa, que permitirá a los participantes de los 15 proyectos de la tercera convocatoria de URBACT adquirir los conocimientos y habilidades necesarios para participar en la planificación urbana local.


El punto de partida es proporcionar una comprensión más profunda de la metodología de URBACT y la manera en que esta puede ser aplicada al desarrollo urbano, implicando de forma participativa a todos los agentes relevantes. La formación también intenta mostrar un amplio abanico de herramientas que ayuden a coordinadores y miembros clave de la comunidad a llevar a cabo sus actividades de forma más eficiente durante la vida del proyecto.

Algunos de los materiales que se utilizan - Foto: URBACT

Algunos de los materiales que se utilizan – Foto: URBACT

La colaboración, aunque está en el centro del enfoque URBACT, no siempre resulta natural en un entorno institucional, que por razones históricas tiende a ser más jerárquico. El siguiente objetivo, por tanto, es permitir a los asistentes intercambiar ideas y compartir experiencias con sus compañeros, así como desarrollar su capacidad para engranar con las autoridades gestoras del proyecto proponiendo una forma distinta de trabajar.

El programa de esta segunda sesión, concretamente, se centra en cómo poner en marcha un Plan de Acción Local que integre a todos los agentes afectados, comentando aspectos como su co-producción, sus sostenibilidad y las fuentes de financiación disponibles para poder llevarlo a la realidad.

Para seguir el evento

Aunque el curso no está abierto al público general (está planteado para miembros de Grupos de Apoyo Local), estaremos allí en nuestro papel de Punto de Difusión Nacional, y os iremos transmitiendo nuestras impresiones de la experiencia por Twitter, via @URBACT_ES y el hashtag #urbactNTS. Posteriormente publicaremos también algunas entrevistas y una crónica resumiendo de la experiencia.

Datos del evento en la web de  URBACT: National Training on Participatory Action Planning
Crónica del seminario y entrevistas que realizamos a sus asistentes

Comments: (0)

Treib Gut magazine | A publication by Schwemmland + Our thoughts about Linz harbour

Category: ⚐ EN+events+urbanism

TREIB GUT magazine - Cover

As we told you in this previous post, last June we were in Linz, Austria, invited by Roland Krebs for a lecture and a workshop, part of an event called Identity City Lab. The workshop, led by local collective Schwemmland and Ecosistema Urbano, was aiming to provide some fresh insights and proposals about the eastern harbour area of Linz, a big extension of former ‘schwemmland’ (alluvial land) turned into an industrial area during the second part of the 20th century.

The people from Schwemmland, who have been living, thinking and working around the area for a long time, used the occasion to launch TREIB GUT magazine as a new means of communication with the city. We recently received some copies, and wanted to share with you the results of this effort.

TREIB GUT magazine - Index

Branded as ‘the independent harbour journal’ and published in German using a newspaper-like format, this publication looks like a great way to disseminate the results of the workshop, together with other reflections on Linz and its harbour area. The aim of such an important communication effort  is to transmit to the rest of the city the thoughts, proposals, reflections and actions that have been taking place around the harbour.

For this issue, we were asked to write a report about the workshop and our thoughts on the harbour area in general. Since we already published a report here, I’m going to share with you the last part of the article, which is a kind of ‘statement’ or manifesto that summarizes our point of view on this project and part of our general approach to urban social design:

Linz harbour – Looking to the future

TREIB GUT magazine - Article by Ecosistema Urbano

TREIB GUT magazine – Article by Ecosistema Urbano

[…] So, what can Linz do with such a place? Here are ten points that summarize and contextualize some of the most important things we have learned from our work in the city. We think they can provide a conceptual framework for the development of the harbour area.

Reactivate the existing as an alternative to expansion. The docks and the surrounding areas are full of unused spaces, concrete platforms, green fields and water surfaces that provide plenty of room for new activities without the need of huge transformations.

Develop constructive criticism
, as an optimistic approach to existing reality in order to bring up creative solutions. The harbour development plans are a reality the city has to live with, but also an opportunity of making things better if the city gives some space for complementary proposals.

Take care for the public. We believe the concept of the city is completely linked to the creation of public space, and this area of Linz should not be an exception. Between the private lots there is still a chance to create a meaningful, diverse public space that gives citizens easy and universal access to the river.

Rely on low-cost to make great things with less resources. Taking advantage of the qualities of the place it is possible to have positive impact with a relatively low investment. Simple, minimal and clever installations can turn a forgotten spot into a lively, comfortable place.

Create open systems in order to allow the development of a changing reality. Planning can be done over decades, but urban life changes both slower and faster. Leaving open ends and room for change will guarantee an easier adaptation to future needs. Use removable systems that permit relocation or dismantlement. Adopt construction standards that allow for easy improvement, repair and maintenance. Allow the citizens to develop their own solutions on top of the existing infrastructure.

Bring instant change through urban actions. Small actions can provoke huge reactions and great experiences, acting like tests for the future of the area. Do you think it could work differently? Just try it, experience it, and learn from the results in order to improve quickly. Three smaller interventions can drive more changes and give more useful lessons than a huge one, while being more cost-effective.

TREIB GUT magazine - Photos of an urban action

TREIB GUT magazine – Photos of an urban action in Linz harbour

Integrate the citizens into the processes of changing their environment. Make them aware about the opportunities, inspire them and work at a social level to find out what they would really use and enjoy. Listen, think, build and try things together, and be patient about the results: social change and citizen involvement can be slow, but they are powerful.

Build networks to share knowledge and experiences. Count on existing and active collectives or associations, communicate beyond the most involved people, continuously share ideas and resources to create a responsive network and a ‘social warmth’ around the place. Keeping the most active people and the possible future users involved can be crucial for the success of an urban project.

Take account of the intangible using new technologies as a mechanism to create awareness about the complexity of the place. Track and map impressions, feelings, opinions, data and contents related to the harbour area in order to visualize the collective imagination about that place.

Keep positive to be able to push ahead reality. Dare to think in terms of desirability, more than possibility or probability. Dream about things that were never done in that area, build fantastic experiences on the water, the docks, the streets or the natural spaces. Imagine the citizens bathing, creating, playing, cultivating or flying near the Danube, the river that made the city of Linz possible.

Our report Linz harbour: a city and a river | Identity City Lab workshop with Schwemmland
Post in German by Roland Krebs, organizer of the Identity City Lab
Post in German at CreativeRegion website, with more photos
Post about the conference at CreativeRegion website

Comment: (1)

Energy Carousel | Segundo premio Taipei Design Award 2013

Category: ⚐ EN+⚐ ES+city+ciudad+competitions+concursos+design+diseño+espacio público+sostenibilidad+sustainability


Hoy tenemos el placer de comunicaros que Ecosistema Urbano ha recibido el segundo premio del Taipei International Design Award 2013, con el Energy Carousel en la categoría Diseño de Espacio Público.

continue reading

Comments: (0)

Hoy arranca #BAT_2013 | Espacios híbridos para la innovación urbana

Category: ⚐ ES+eventos+urbanismo

Hoy está arrancando el evento BAT 2013  “Espacios híbridos para la innovación urbana: Arquitectura, arte y urbanismo” en Bilbao, y estará en marcha hasta el sábado 23.

BAT 2013

BAT es un proyecto cultural promovido por Zaramari que pretende explorar las posibilidades de aprendizajes múltiples que ofrece la ciudad para la formación de una ciudadanía participe en la transformación de su entorno. Este año BAT se centra en el incipiente uso de las nuevas tecnologías digitales de comunicación y su influencia en la forma en la que nos relacionamos con el espacio físico. A través de las actividades de su programación (workshops, conferencias, debates, cine-forum…) promueve una participación activa y espacios de comunicación y creación que transcurren simultáneamente en el entorno físico y en la red, abriendo la posibilidad de poner en relación a ciudadanos, arquitectos, urbanistas, diseñadores, agentes del desarrollo comunitario y activadores urbanos para cruzar ideas y miradas con el objetivo de buscar de forma conjunta herramientas y proyectos que traten de contribuir a la (re)construcción de territorios más habitables.


Podéis ver aquí el vídeo de presentación. Para los que no tengáis la suerte de estar allí, aquí os dejamos varios canales (que ya están ahora mismo “echando humo”) por los que podéis seguir el evento:

Podéis seguir la cuenta oficial de Twitter: @BAT_info
Buscar el hashtag en las redes sociales: #BAT_2013
Seguir la página de Facebook:
Podréis seguir la jornada del día 23 en streaming a través del canal ThinkCities
El programa y otros datos están disponibles en la web oficial:


Comments: (0)

Comportements responsables et architecture scolaire

Category: ⚐ FR+arquitectura+creatividad+educación+EntornoEducativo+internet+medioambiente+nouvelles technologies+sostenibilidad

Wrong way of using tecnologies

Versión en español

Premier post relatif à la série EnvironnementScolaire. Mon intention est de suggérer des applications (potentiellement développables) qui hybrideraient décisions architecturales et contenus/dispositifs numériques. Les pistes abordées ici naissent d’une réflexion en relation avec le projet de centre d’éducation expérimentale de Reggio Emilia. Cependant, les thèmes explorés concernent tout type d’espace d’apprentissage: organisations saptiales, mémoire partagée, visusalisation de l’invisible, information sensorielle.

La réflexion sur l’architecture scolaire peut s’aborder depuis divers champs (territorial, social, culturel, économique…). L’une des constantes que nous allons explorer est la relation qu’entretiennent ces espaces dédiés avec l’éco-système dans lequel ils agissent. Selon Philippe Meirieu, expert français en sciences de l’éducation et de la pédagogie, attirer le regard des plus jeunes sur les enjeux environnementaux constitue une mission fondamentale. Cette préoccupation actuelle, dit-il, exige l’acquisition de “réflexes, comportements (…) nécessaires à la survie de la planète”. Il s’agit également “d’introduire une perspective nouvelle, une manière originale de penser le monde comme un système complexe” dans lequel chacun puisse être perçu comme un élément solidaire, puissant et actif. Bien que cet enseignement soit en mesure d’être transmis dans le cadre d’un enseignement traditionnel, nous pourrions imaginer que ces idées et pratiques puissent être transmises par le biais d’un support immersif: le bâtiment scolaire lui-même.

Visualisation ludique de données environnementales dans l’environnement scolaire

Avant d’être réellement conscient de la situation environnementale de notre planète, tout individu doit s’imprégner de connaissances relatives à divers domaines. Encore loin de ces préoccupations, l’enfant attribuera d’avantage d’importance à ses sens. Dans La Représentation de l’espace chez l’enfant (1972) Jean Piaget, spécialiste du développement infantile, explique qu’entre 2 et 6 ans s’adapte affective et intellectuellement au monde qui l’entoure grâce au jeu symbolique. Ainsi, un environnement architecturale conçu comme un instrument pédagogique pourrait-il aiguiller leurs comportements vers une certaine conscience et responsabilité?

Très tôt, l’enfant apprend à estimer la relation topographique entre les objets et la valeur fonctionnelle de certains éléments qui constituent l’espace construit proche (porte, fenêtre, interrupteur…). Mais la question de l’environnement souffre d’une dissimulation spatio-temporelle qui attribue à son urgence un caractère abstrait: les conséquences environnementales de nos actes sont rarement visualisables directement.

Que surviendrait-il si l’édifice scolaire révélait les flux, habituellement invisibles, de son activité? Par exemple, à travers la présence d’indicateurs de consommation énergétique ou de situations climatiques anormales… Et si nous imaginions une école augmentée de sentiments qui pourrait éprouver (et montrer) de la tristesse lorsque la lumière d’une salle vide resterait allumée? Ou bien lorsque les enfants laisseraient couler l’eau du robinet trop longtemps?



Je pense que l’architecte ne pourra jamais imposer à la société civile l’adoption d’un comportement “responsable” selon ses convictions propres. Cependant, face à des usagers curieux, tel des enfants, provoquer l’emploi habituel de gestes durables me semble envisageable par le biais d’une expérience spatiale immersive durant/dans laquelle chacun s’implique en faisant ce qu’il aime.

1. Émetteur (enfant ou prof.)
2. Support de transmission de contenus numériques: donnée/images/son/vidéo
3. Récepteurs

Mais qu’entend-on par intégrer le numérique au milieu scolaire? Intégrer ou ajouter de tels dispositifs dans un espace donné signifie repenser la façon dont l’hybridation entre espaces physiques et espaces numériques s’opèrera. Aujourd’hui, dans les lieux de savoir, certains usages technologique reviennent:

– Production/gestion de mémoire (numérisation de contenus imprimés…); question des espaces de stockage.
– Favoriser l’innovation organisationnelle et la concertation entre acteurs de la communauté scolaire à travers le partage d’informations; création d’espaces de dialogue.
– Profiter de la ludicité de certains outils numériques et objets communicants pour capter l’attention de l’élève; on parles d’espaces augmentés.
– Comprendre l’historicité d’une technologie et développer la créativité par l’appropriation et l’expérience; espaces d’émancipation.

Générer, partager, archiver des données utiles à la modification et l’appropriation d’espaces scolaires disponibles. Ces “dossiers” numériques forment une extension de l’espace d’apprentissage initial à même de favoriser la constitution d’une plateforme de dialogue entre les acteurs de la communauté scolaire

Sur la base d’une cartographie des espaces “oubliés” (que personne n’utilise), les enfants pourront imaginer et proposer leur idées d’occupation. À Reggio Emilia, les enfants manipulent en permanence des matériaux et développent leurs sensibilités architecturales. L’expérience consistera à passer d’une maquette à une petite construction collective éphémère.

1. Espace initial
2. Volume oublié (forme complexe): visualisation numérique
3. Volume disponible simplifié
4. Échelle à partir d’une figurine
5. Maquette à modéliser (scan ou photogrammétrie)
6. Intégration, adaptation et construction

Percevoir l’invisible

En vivant dans un espace, l’individu développe des automatismes. La conception architecturale repose sur l’emploi d’éléments aux performances mécaniques complexes et aux impacts variables. Dans de nombreux cas, les solutions proposées tendent à éloigner l’usager de l’impact environnemental de ses actes. Mais l’environnement scolaire pourrait constituer une interface ludique et symbolique entre l’apprenant et son milieu. Acquérir cette conscience en intervenant (régulant) le foncitionnment d’un microcosme (le bâtiment) est une façon didactique d’introduire les notions de “système” et de globalité” qui aujourd’hui comptent. Chaque besoin ou plaisir individuel se transformerait alors en un “exercice” de résolution d’un “problème” global. Biensur, pour un enfant tout devra avoir l’air d’être un jeu!

Plein / vide, beaucoup / peu, froid / chaud, douloureux / agréable, haut / bas, long / court…

Cette application a pour objectif d’enseigner la juste consommation de l’eau et de l’électricité à l’école. Entre abstaction et figuration, par l’utilisation de dispositifs analogiques et numériques , le support architectural permettra la combinaison de vocabulaires graphiques compréhensibles par de jeunes usagers

Pour la majeur partie des consommateurs, le fonctionnement des productions industrielles et architecturales reste abstrait. Il s’agit de révéler le “squelette” et les “organes” qui sont à l’origine du confort qu’offre le bâtiment. Des parcours (eau, air, électricité…) d’habitude cachés convertis en outils pédagogiques.

Support architecturaux augmentés (numérique et analogiquement)/  Il s’agit d’associer des données climatiques essentielles (peut être évidentes pour un public adulte) à des actions quotidiennes et des faits concrets: quoi manger? comment s’habiller? que faire pour profiter de l’extérieur? comment adapter l’espace intérieur à l’environnement extérieur?…

Lors de la conférence organisé par Ars Industrialis durant le Salon européen de l’éducation 2012 (Paris) et intitulée L’éducation, vingt ans après l’apparition du World Wide Weble philosophe Bernard Stiegler partageais qu’il était…

… absolument hostile à l’introduction du numérique dans les niveaux élémentaires pour une raison méthodologique qui consiste à dire que pour pratiquer une technologie, il faut connaître les technologies qui ont permit leur production. Si non, on ne peut pas avoir (…) un point de vue critique. La condition de la critique est la connaissance et la compréhension de l’historicité d’une chose. Le contenu des programmes scolaires se fonde sur cette base.

Et il est vrai qu’offrir à l’espace scolaire un lot technologique développé par les acteurs du marché de l’Education présente un danger: celui d’octroyer une majeure importance au statut de moyen technique de l’outil au lieu de valoriser l’environnement socio-technique qu’il enrichit. Dans ces premières propositions destinées à un environnement préscolaire, j’ai tenté de clarifier la possible relation entre la donnée numérique et son contexte pratique de génération et/ou d’utilisation. Disons simplement que si usage désinformé de technologies il y a, la dimension magique du processus numérique devrait en tout les cas s’avérer minime par rapport à l’importance (complexité) de l’information concrète perçue.

Pour finir, je vous laisse apprécier un extrait du vocabulaire d’Ars Industrialis:

Écologie (de l’esprit).

La discipline nommée « écologie » n’est pas tant la science du milieu que celle des relations d’un être vivant à son milieu. L’écologie, telle que nous la définissons, n’est ni la science d’unenvironnement objectif, ni la protection de ressources quantifiables, ni même la question de la nature, car la question de l’écologie est celle de la culture avant d’être celle de la nature.

 Si l’esprit a un milieu qui évolue, et si ce milieu est originairement technique (du silex taillé au silicium des ordinateurs en passant par le biblion du Saint Esprit), alors, de même qu’il faut se soucier de la qualité des milieux naturels afin de préserver leur fécondité future, de même, il faut se soucier de la nature des milieux psychotechniques dans lesquels naissent et se développent de futurs esprits. Il faut présentement aborder la question écologique à partir du capitalisme culturel. Notre milieu de vie est définitivement industriel, et cette industrie est désormais le milieu de notre culture, c’est à dire de notre esprit, et c’est pourquoi nous parlons d’écologie industrielle de l’esprit. De ce point de vue écologique, la question esthétique, la question politique et la questionindustrielle n’en font qu’une.

L’écologie de la nature est une dimension de la question de l’écologie de l’esprit, c’est à dire d’une écologie générale des milieux : naturels, techniques, institutionnels, symboliques, etc. L’écologie de l’esprit conditionne en effet la résolution des problèmes d’écologie naturelle : si l’on veut modifier leur comportement, il faut changer l’esprit des consommateurs qui détruisent et jettent avant tout pour compenser une misère symbolique systémiquement installée et entretenue par des industries culturelles toxiques.

 Autrement dit, la véritable question de l’écologie n’est pas celle de l’énergie de subsistance (épuisement des ressources fossiles), mais celle de l’énergie d’existence (épuisement de l’énergie libidinale).