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MetaMap | a web research on mapping

Category: ⚐ EN+city+internet+MetaMap+open culture+technologies+urbanism

Image by Tommaso Miti for Ecosistema UrbanoMaps and cartography have been, traditionally, tools to express and exercise power and have been used exclusively by a few people who held the knowledge. Nowadays, this practice is enriched by more and more nuances and gets contributions from all sorts of fields.

We find maps exposed in galleries, painted in the streets, and drawn as acts of performance art, dealing with the necessity to express identities and culture in mass societies. We see maps based on a huge amount of information and real time data coming from social networks, which were only made possible once computer science and the web appeared, thus enabling us to have an unprecedented knowledge of what’s happening in cities. Cartography is even used as a tool to emphasize critical aspects of our society that, otherwise, wouldn’t be noticed and as a platform to solve these same problems.

All of these multiple approaches are becoming a common experience as they are often the result of a participative process and are shared as open source information. On one side, this shows the need of understanding the growing complexity of reality and the quantity of information that is being produced. On the other side, it expresses the need to re-create an identity through self-knowledge in the actual context of globalization.

I have decided to examine the current state of cartography due to the influence it’s having on many fields today, with the power to be transversal with the classical arts. This research is an ideal continuity with the exhibition that was recently hosted by Caixa Forum (Madrid), on contemporary cartographies. The exhibition started with the situationist and surrealist approaches that opened up the mapping discipline, introducing contaminations from other fields (art, politics, statistic…) overcoming the scientific point of view, showing it lacks the description of reality.

The aim of my investigation is to make a MetaMap, a research on different types of maps I come across, in this meta-map we will see the multiplicity of possible outputs, as well as the common points between them. Taking advantage of the web and its horizontal-knowledge rather than the classical vertical and deepened knowledge. The research was made seeking projects and asking the same set of questions to the authors. These interviews should make it possible to separate the different tendencies and intentions of mapping, tracing connections, and intersections. I manage to focus on particular authors by interviewing them to better explain their work.

This is the list of posts published in this series so far:

Urban Sensing by Accurat

MyBlockNYC, interview with Alex Kalman

[im]possible living, rethinking the abandoned world

Domenico Di Siena about Meipi

6000 km by Basurama, interview with Pablo Rey

Interview with Christian Nold on his mapping projects

Interview with Pablo de Soto, Hackitectura

MapTube by CASA

The posts in this series by our collaborator, Tommaso Miti, were be published once a week under the MetaMap category. You can follow the conversation in your favourite social network through the #metamap hashtag.

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The Water Footprint: Every drop counts!

Category: ⚐ EN+city+research+sustainability

The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

The water footprint consists of three components: the blue, green and grey water footprint. The blue water footprint is the volume of freshwater evaporated from the global blue water resources (surface water and ground water) to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community. The green water footprint is the volume of water evaporated from the global green water resources (rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture). The grey water footprint is the volume of polluted water that associates with the production of all goods and services for the individual or community. The latter can be estimated as the volume of water that is required to dilute pollutants to such an extent that the quality of the water remains at or above agreed water quality standards.

The past century has brought a lot of changes, like the explosion of human population, the creation of an expansive global economy and the increasing technological development. All of them have put unprecedented pressures on water. More specifically, our growing appetite for water-intensive food and manufactured good, the construction of large dams for hydro-electricity and irrigation, and the massive discharge of industrial waste into limited freshwater sources, have made water an increasingly limited and expensive resource.

Despite this obvious fact, people use large amounts of water: drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, and almost every other physical product. This water can be named as virtual water.

The virtual water content of a product (a commodity, good or service) is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured at the place where the product was actually produced.

It refers to the sum of the water use in the various steps of the production chain. The virtual-water content of a product can also be defined as the volume of water that would have been required to produce the product at the place where the product is consumed (consumption-site definition).

 

Image made by Virtual water | facebook.com/virtualwater

Here are some examples of water footprints of daily products , calculated by Unesco-IHE Institute for water education, Netherland

Image made by Hoekstra and Chapagain 2008

These numbers are kind of shocking! Aren’t they?

So, let’s try to calculate our daily footprint and investigate the solutions to reduce the numbers as much as we can!

Image made by GOOD and Fogelson-Lubliner

Water footprints can be hard to calculate, depending on how far up the chain of production you go, since everything you eat and buy used some water to produce. With our latest Transparency, I give you some examples of how much water is used in some of your daily activities, so that you can begin calculate your footprint and try to reduce your gallons.

To help put things in perspective, think about this: your standard trash barrel holds 32 gallons and a mid-sized passenger car-if pumped full of water has room for a little more than 800 gallons. So, the difference in the amount of water it takes to produce a pound of chicken and a pound of beef is enough to fill almost two whole cars.

Which result have you got?

Let’s compare it with the water footprint calculation of one friend of mine, Croatian architect Ana Bilan that did some research in that field.

According to her calculations she was able to reduce her water footprint more than twice, which sounds really impressive!  So it was a matter of changing her habits, decreasing the direct water footprint and also the types of food she eats and products she uses to get a better result with indirect water Footprint.

Image made by Ana Bilan | research about MY WATER FOOTPRINT | for IED Torino Master SUS

 

If you become really interested in knowing how much water you personally use per day, you can follow this link and make a simple calculation:

Water footprint calculator (adults)

And you can also involve your kids into the idea of water preservation!

Water footprint calculator (kids)

Here are some facts to convince you to be a water guardian:

  • The average American lifestyle is kept afloat by nearly 2,000 gallons of H2O a day—twice the global average;
  • 46% of people on the earth do not have water piped to their homes;
  • Women in developing countries walk an average of 3.7 miles to get water;
  • In 15 years, 1.8 billion people will live in regions of sever water scarcity

A complete update of facts and stats about the water global crisis has been recently (2017) published by John Hawthorne, available at this link.

And remember – Every Drop Counts!

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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

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From Brown to Green: Development of London´s 2012 OLYMPIC PARK

Category: ⚐ EN+city+sustainability

Olympic game development is  rushed,  expensive and large-scaled.  Now, more than ever, winning the right to host Olympic games also comes with large-scale responsibility. Olympic game hosts are given the opportunity to present their country as leader of the current  times –  and in our time, its becoming more and more obvious that such large-scale development must be carefully pursued by the sustainability conscious.

London took this challenge and ran with it. The new East-London Olympic park that will soon boast world-class sporting facilities for the 2012 summer Olympics was once, not too long ago, just an unvisited, industrial wasteland. continue reading

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Beyond the beats: the U.S. city that’s shrinking faster than any other

Category: city+migration as mutation+urbanism

Detroit is known by many as the birthplace of techno, a reputation that has preceded the shrinking city among music-savvy youth for 20+ years. Like most twenty-something Americans,  I have never really considered visiting the city of Detroit – that’s why, when i was asked “what Detroit is like” while living in the other techno-capital, Berlin, I didn’t have much of anything to say – except for something along the lines of “i hear it’s pretty cold”. continue reading

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Invisible Cities: A Transmedia Mapping Project

Category: ⚐ EN+city+espacios sensibles | sentient city

What social media activity has to do with the literal lay of the land.

By Maria Popova

In December, the now-infamous map of Facebook friendships revealed an uncanny cartography of the world depicted purely through social relationships data. Now, a project by Christian Marc Schmidt and Liangjie Xia is taking the concept ambitiously further: Invisible Cities is a transmedia mapping project, displaying geocoded activity from social networks like Twitter and Flickr within the context of an actual urban map — a visceral, literal embodiment of something VURB‘s Ben Cerveny has called “the city as a platform,” the idea that cities are informational media and living computational systems for urban society. continue reading

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You are where you live

Category: ⚐ EN+city+research

Researcher looks for link between people’s health and where they live
We know that smoking causes cancer, yet we still light up. We know that overeating causes obesity and diabetes, yet we still overeat. We know that exercise makes us healthier, yet we can’t resist the couch’s siren song.

We all want to be healthier, and we know how to become so. Yet we just don’t do it.

S.V. Subramanian, associate professor of society, human development, and health at the Harvard School of Public Health and a researcher at the Center for Population and Development Studies, has heard all of the theories explaining why living a healthy lifestyle is so difficult. We’re predisposed to pack on pounds to survive the famine that, in olden days, was certainly coming. We’re addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes and the fat in burgers, which get their hooks into us. Convenience is key: Who can drag themselves to the gym every day and cook healthy meals of nuts, fruits, and vegetables when the golden arches beckon? continue reading

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City life and the brain

Category: ⚐ EN+city

BOSTON, Mass. (November 9, 2010)—For the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. According to the United Nations, that urban head count tallies up to more than half of the world’s 6.7 billion people. While city life may offer many benefits—ready access to social and cultural events, more employment opportunities, and the promise of higher living standards, as examples—research does show that city life can have drawbacks. For one thing, it’s hard on the brain.

Scientists who have begun to look at how the city affects our brains have uncovered some surprising findings, including evidence that city life can impair basic mental processes, such as memory and attention. A study conducted by University of Michigan researchers in 2008 found that simply spending a few minutes on a busy city street can affect the brain’s ability to focus and to help us manage self-control. continue reading

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La ciudad en cómics: Saul Steinberg

Category: ⚐ ES+arte+city+eu:comic

Hoy os presento a este magnífico dibujante y humorista, a través de dos de sus viñetas en las que refleja su particular visión de la ciudad.

Más información sobre Saul Steinberg:

The Saul Steinberg Foundation

Wikipedia

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r[eu]cycling · El nuevo Mercado de San Miguel, o ¿Deben protegerse los Mercados?

Category: ⚐ ES+arquitectura+city+r[eu]cycling+restauración-rehabilitación+reutilización+urbanismo

Mercado_de_San_Miguel3

Situación del mercado en las inmediaciones de la Plaza Mayor de Madrid

A principios de Junio se puso de nuevo en funcionamiento el mercado de San Miguel de Madrid, un edificio que destaca no sólo por su arquitectura singular sino por la escala compacta, adecuada a las condiciones de su enclave en el casco histórico de Madrid…

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