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

CATEGORY: ⚐ EN + ecosistema urbano + urban social design

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

Urban Social Design Studio – GSD Harvard


+ public interaction

this studio starts with one question:

How can we – by design and communication technologies – improve and promote interaction, creativity and self organization dynamics between people?

We will work on the design of new tools and strategies to make this possible, creating the conditions for citizens to play an active role in the transformation of cities and decision making processes.

+ concepts

+ urban planning:

Over decades cities have been conceived, designed and built from a physical point of view considering mainly their infrastructures, buildings, technologies, materials, geometry…and completely forgetting about the citizens.

This dominant perception has led us to end up believing that reality and processes are final and closed situations, rather than processes, relationships, patterns, and significant networks.

+ urban social design:

By urban social design we understand the design of environments, spaces and dynamics in order to improve social relationships, generating the conditions for interaction and self-organization between people and their environment.

+ participation+technology+environment

Technology is the interface between people and their environment. Technology beyond efficiency,  towards the implementation of an augmented reality.

This studio will incorporate technology exploring new possibilities of space transformation and networking

+ real space  ←public space →virtual space

Public space

Traditionally the public space has been the part of the city where most links and intersections take place, being responsible for the majority of interactions and random phenomena.

Today a 21st century new layer of a virtual public space interacts with the real space.

– Internet is the “space” where the most successful models of collective creation and self-organization are taking place.  Internet is the most democratic space, the platform where every citizen can express him/herself freely and horizontally, the space where ideas flow in every direction.

– By contrast, the physical space is increasingly more controlled and restrictive by excessive rules, becoming less spontaneous and creative.

Internet allows and promotes the interaction, while the design of many physical spaces cancels it.

+ question

considering the virtues and qualities of the internet as a public space:

Can a physical space emulate the conditions that foster the exchange and interaction that occur among users of the web?

2. target

+ gif mapa

We could have chosen any city in the world, and we have chosen Boston.  There is an exciting city out there to be discovered. And additionally we can act physically and get a feedback from it.

+ Boston aerial zoom

We take the advantage of the cultural diversity of students at GSD to bring in the studio their knowledge and personal experiences related to the public space.

We are going to take a close look at Boston. From these principles we will explore the opportunities, demands and conflicts that are just there. We’ll find out more about its physical configuration but paying special attention to people, associations, networks and dynamics that are already running.


The outcome of the studio will differ depending on the nature of each project.

We believe the tools of our discipline should go beyond what can be achieved and expressed by just drawings, models or inert materials.

Ideally we should have a whole myriad of different materialisations. The final outcome will be a real  implementation in the city of Boston or a prototype experience ready to further developed into implementation.   (beyond the limits of our academic education)

3. logistics + schedule


We will be physically meeting every second week. We will also have virtual meetings on the weeks in between.

Lecture series: we are organizing a lecture series and a workshop to bring Boston breeze into the studio. The personalities from Boston will be selected by students according to the requirements of the researches carried out by them (politicians, neighbours, sociologists, urban activists, …)

+ Animation


At Ecosistema urbano we have developed different digital platforms in the last few years and have created social networks  that give us a total of 40.000 hits per month.

At the studio we will also develop tools and a social network to share information and be real time connected between all of us.

+ Mayor

Publication: the work of the studio will be published. We aim to give the book to the Mayor by the end of 2010. We hope your ideas become inspiring and creative and are able to transform Boston.

We are really looking forward to starting the classes

Thank you for your attention and Welcome to Boston

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