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MetaMap | [im]possible living, rethinking the abandoned world

Category : ⚐ EN + city + internet + Intervista + MetaMap + technologies + urbanism

[im]possible living is a crowd-sourcing website dedicated to mapping and reactivating abandoned buildings around the world.

[im]possible living wants to be an enabler and a catalyst of the energies available in every place in the world that are not able to get through and give birth due to the abandonment market and, in general, to a new housing development model. It’s a very ambitious goal, but we truly believe in it and are investing everything in this dream!

I interviewed the two founders, Daniela Galvani and Andrea Sesta, about the project.

[im]possible living

1. How did you get to the practice of mapping? 

[im]possible living is born from our personal interest in abandoned buildings. At the time we understood that many individuals and associations were spreading energies to map the abandoned buildings in their area, but everyone was doing their own maps, thus losing the possibility of sharing results, experiences, and the best possible practices.

So we decided to create a global map of abandoned buildings via a web platform, where everyone could participate and contribute to a common goal and benefit from the experiences of other people.
Since the beginning of the project we have gone far beyond mapping tools. With the last release of our site, people can now reactivate an abandoned building and involve the community in the design concept for the new life of the building.

2. How is the users’ contribution managed? How does the platform work?

The website consists of a service through which users can surf and see the abandoned buildings that have been mapped around the world, which also shows their profile, containing a general description and some detailed information about the building (year of construction, years of abandonment, square meters, number of floors, etc.) To explore the mapped buildings click here.

The real heart of the service, however, is the reporting and collaboration features, through which users can upload new abandoned buildings and enrich existing records by adding photos and videos. If you would like to begin a map click here.

Users can also use a mobile app for the iPhone to instantly map abandoned buildings. Once launched, the application allows you to choose a photo from the Pictures archive, add essential information and automatically provide the geographic data associated with the location (street, city, etc.), allowing the user to change any incorrect information.

The last new part, which has launched recently, allows users to start a reactivation process. Once an abandoned building is mapped, a user can decide to become the reactivator of the place and [im]possible living provides him/her with a suit of services that helps collect the needs of the area, ideas for the future of the building, and in general, create a community that supports the reactivator in designing a concept for the new life of the building. The platform also tries to connect different kinds of users, everyone possibly involved in the renovation process: citizens, entrepreneurs, professionals, artists, real estate developers, etc.

[im]possible living map

[im]possible living map

These services are now online and we already have some projects running that you can contribute to or simply surf to get an idea:

Padiglione Conolly by RETESPAZZI
Sottopassaggio pedonale di Porta Vescovo by AGILE
Edificio 3 by workinco
Residenza by LANGYX
Ex Casa albergo per anziani by SIMONACOLUCCI
Ex-macello comunale by ASSBUENAONDA
Ex-Ospedale San Giacomo by ASSBUENAONDA
Masseria O’ Sentino by INDIEVIDUI
Stabile di uffici abbandonato by DANYGALVANI
Palazzo Cosentini by CARLONATOLI

3. What is the process you wanted to start with your work? What is the social aim you wanted to reach with your work?

In the last years we have witnessed the constant investment in new construction, leaving behind millions of old abandoned buildings. This process has led to the phenomenon of land consumption in most of the world, but the recent economic crisis stressed the problem even more, condemning the new constructions to remain vacant.

The solution to this problem is taking an altogether new approach: abandoned buildings are not liabilities but assets from which we should take the most possible advantage. [im]possible living tries to promote this new sustainability approach. Instead of building new structures over and over again, we can utilize what already exists. Having abandoned buildings in your city or in your neighborhoods is not only a waste, but it also means trouble, that, in a long term perspective, becomes costly for the public sector.

We are creating a platform available to all, which consists of the most complete database of abandoned buildings in the world. It is a virtual place that everyone can use and all can be shared and discussed, and where citizens can actually have an influence in shaping the future of the place they live in.

Many times the interests of construction companies, or even publicadministrations, are not consistent with the local environment of the area itself. This missing link between those sides can be discussed through the [im]possible living platform, in order to build mutual benefits for both sides. Through the website, entire communities can share their needs and ideas, and this could lead to a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Nowadays, real estate projects are handled behind closed doors and the problem is that often the local population is not involved in the design process. This implies, on the one hand, a mismatch between the purpose of the construction project and the real needs of the urban and social settlement. On the other hand, it takes additional time to complete due to the resistance from local communities, which often brings in legal involvement.

Our aim is to create a more efficient process to reuse abandoned structures, with a benefit for local communities that will be able to affect or even contribute projects on the online platform. A benefit for the public and private investors that would receive important inputs or even entire concepts developed by teams of reactivators and a benefit for the reactivator teams that would pursue their own projects with all the technological, professional, and financial support to fully accomplish their goal.

4. What is the next phase of development that your research will undergo?

We released the reactivation services a few months ago, so now our aim is to expand the community as much as possible and start as many reactivation projects as possible. This is very connected to making the available services better, making the actions easier, making the contributions from the community as simple as possible, and adding new features that can increase the sharing activity on the site.

Furthermore, we want to investigate the real bottleneck of reactivation processes: getting the project funded! In fact, the real problem when you talk about abandoned buildings is that, even with low-cost interventions, using them involves pricey investments. So our question is: How do we ease the investment process? How can we push for better projects and actually bring them to life? It’s complicated research, but it’s definitely what we want to focus on during the next year.

5. What are you personal references for the theme of mapping (from ancient to contemporary ones)?

Our point of view is very connected to recent technologies, in particular, web technologies. We consider the birth of web 2.0 and web 3.0 the beginning of a new era: the shift from static contents to dynamic ones, but more importantly, the participation and involvement of people in crowd projects, tools created for geo-localization, augmented reality, and much more.

This had a dramatic impact on the theme of mapping: for the first time in history, people from around the world could contribute to global mapping projects seamlessly, using services like Google Maps, Open Street Map, Wikimapia, History Pin, Ushaidi, Foursquare, and thousands of other services that are enabling users to map things in the world and share the information globally.

This process is generating a huge amount of data that, in most cases, is openly available to everyone via API systems (in computer science, an API is a way to access private databases, retrieve information, and build a new service using one or many different external data sources) For example, today I can use Google Maps API to obtain geographical information and then use Wikipedia to map monuments and historical places.

The potential of this revolution is very immense and has already started to affect our society in a significant way, but we still can’t entirely understand all the possibilities that will be generated in the upcoming decades.

Site: [im]possibleliving
If you would like to know more, visit their BlogFacebook and Twitter, or read their FAQ

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Linz harbour: a city and a river | Identity City Lab workshop with Schwemmland

Category : ⚐ EN + events + talleres + urbanismo

Linz and the harbour area of the intervention - Google Maps

Three weeks ago (Juny 5th-8th ) we were in Linz, Austria, invited by Roland Krebs for a lecture and a workshop, part of an event called Identity City Lab, which is part of the Creative Region program.

The workshop, lead 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 past century.

Some context

The area highlighted in the first image has been slowly fading out of the citizens’ imagination and become a ‘forgotten’ part of the identity of Linz. Tourist maps end right before the border of that area, which is still one of the most important connections of the city with the Danube and with its own history.

Tourist city map - Click to View PDF

Tourist city map – Click to View PDF

Nowadays, the area hosts an active industry and a working logistic transportation system by rail. Interestingly enough, it contains patches of different uses scattered between the industrial facilities: nature (even protected species live there); cultural or recreational zones like an airfield; private gardening and traces of former agriculture; restaurants and small street stalls that sell food to workers and passersby.

Despite the long decades of industrial activity, the 8 meter deep water in the north-eastern docks is usually calm like a mirror and crystal clear… although during our stay it was very muddy due to the flooding that had happened just a couple of days before.

A basin between the docks - deep, calm water forgotten by the city

A basin between the docks – deep, calm water forgotten by the city

Some of the docks were recently filled in order to continue the industrial development of the area, which raised some concerns but can also be seen as an opportunity for the city of Linz to re-think its relation with the harbour and the water.

Here comes urban development: filling at one of the docks

Here comes urban development: filling at one of the docks


The workshop started with a guided tour by bike around the area, which gave everyone a clearer insight on its different aspects and the opportunity to meet interesting people living and working there. Then we had a first work session at Schwemmland’s office.

Bike ride by the river

Bike ride by the river

This aerodrome runway is not somewhere in the countryside  - it's right at the harbour

This aerodrome runway is not somewhere in the countryside – it’s right at the harbour!

Traditional food stall between the office buildings

Traditional food stall between the office buildings

The rest of the workshop took place at the Tabakfrabrik, a ‘great’ (both ‘good’ and ‘big’) example of industrial architecture by Peter Behrens and Alexander Popp finished in 1935, which is now being transformed in a cultural center. Some light and temporary structures built of wood, textile and truss systems created a human-scaled space for everyone to work comfortably in the long hall of the second floor.

Working inside the Tabakfabrik, an amazing industrial building from the early XX century

Working inside the Tabakfabrik, an amazing industrial building of the early XX century

The participants, divided in small groups or couples, worked in quite different approaches, trying to imagine how the new industrial development that is planned for the area could be made compatible with some other uses or initiatives in order to bring that calm, clear water surface and its surroundings ‘closer’ to the city.


Despite the short time we had for developing them, there were some interesting proposals, so we ended up with a set of complementary ideas that will be presented to Linz AG, the company that manages almost every aspect of the city’s operation, maintenance and development.

An urban kitchen which could act as meeting point for the people working in logistics, industry, creative offices and artistic workshops and become a catalyst for activities, designs and actions on site.

An extension of the typical tourist map of Linz, making emphasis on a west-east axis, departing from the main square and connecting cultural facilities and lively urban places in a chain that would lead to Harbouria, a citizen-driven ‘city’ floating in the harbour.

Extending the tourist map and creating a 'urban life chain' from the center to the harbour

Extending the tourist map and creating a ‘urban life chain’ from the center to the harbour

Harbouria - a floating 'cuty' in the docks

Harbouria – a floating ‘cuty’ in the docks

A very critical, almost poetical approach, which stated that the spontaneous activities in the harbour area should be preserved without a direct intervention. They talked about what could happen in the spaces “in between” the planned uses such as industry. Could we respect these emergences without trying to plan them?

Explaining how to keep spaces of opportunity without directly pointing at them

Explaining how to keep spaces of opportunity without directly pointing at them

One of the proposals was to always keep a public fringe always available and accesible right on the border between the ground and the water. Simple to explain, but with very significative potential results.

And another one approached the place from the point of view of nature: letting the ecosystem take part of the docks back and creating a quiet and slow natural cycle inside the human hectic cycle of production.

We hope that the city will take these suggestions seriously and develop them further. The harbour is an amazing space where the city and the Danube really meet each other, and it shouldn’t be neglected as a potentially valuable public space.

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
TREIB GUT magazine, publication about the workshop and our thoughts about the place

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MetaMap | Urban Sensing by Accurat

Category : ⚐ EN + city + internet + Intervista + MetaMap + technologies + urbanism

Accurat is an information design agency based in Milan and New York, founded by Giorgia Lupi, Simone Quadri and Gabriele Rossi in 2011.

They define their work as the following:

We envision and identify new ways to structure information, revealing and addressing latent needs, desires and opportunities. Basing our methods on the design thinking approach, we specialize in providing our clients with consultancies, services, and products related to information design. Focusing on how information is transforming networks, cultures, contexts, and behaviors is an attempt to understand the future, a demonstration that it can be intercepted and designed.

I interviewed them about Big Data base maps and about their ongoing work in mapping: Urban Sensing.

Experiment of Tweet mapping in Milan during design week


1. How did you get to the practice of mapping? 

To us, mapping could be seen in a broader context as “structuring information”.

To start off, it’s not needed to say that information related issues are at the core of any design project that deal with cities, public services, society, and behaviors regardless of scale. Particularly, we have always been interested in urban related projects that deeply rely on information: contexts, analyzing data, designing analytical tools, and visual narratives that provide awareness and comprehension of changing urban dynamics.

In our past entrepreneurial experiences, at Interactiondesign-Lab, we experimented working between the intersection of information systems and urban dynamics within the design of the Plan of Services for the Municipality of Milan (developed between 2009 and 2010). We designed a plan not to be intended as a product or document, since it was developed as a continuous process of listening, monitoring, reporting, and crossing the needs and the offers in terms of services of the city.

We designed 2 tools at 2 different scales, the macro scale of the city and the micro scale of the neighborhood. These tools don’t define what services we plan to have, but they give directions on how to cross the demand and the possible answer in terms of services in a meaningful way. It was, in fact, an information design project.

2. In what way do you obtain and treat the data for your mapping?

A big mapping project we are currently working on and coordinating at Accurat is ✳UrbanSensing.

The ✳UrbanSensing project is a EU funded project which aims to design and develop a platform for extracting patterns of use and citizens’ concerns with city spaces, through robust analysis of User Generated Content (UGC) shared by city users over social networks and digital media. The platform will allow the user to analyze citizen’s perceptions related to specific geographic areas and understand how population reacts to new urban policies within participatory mechanisms.

Novel digital and telecommunication technologies can be deployed to integrate data-sharing platforms within the spatial dynamics of the city. If properly analyzed, geo-tagged and User Generated Content (UGC) coming from Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, or Flickr can be useful in the creation of meaningful, real time indicators of people’s perceived and communicated urban experiences. Through natural language and network analysis, it is possible to identify the nested micro-narratives that shape the behavioral and semantic background of a place and to extract specific urban indicators.

Our assumption is that by conducting an analysis of datasets based on text extracted from UGC we can recognize multiple stories, as they emerge, overlap and influence each other, unfolding from city users’ mental representations and spatial experiences of city spaces. In fact, by providing tangible, visible references, the spaces of actual buildings and cities participate in constructing the meaning of the speech that articulates itself within them and as conversations unfold within particular architectural settings, they build up increasingly dense webs of shared understanding grounded -at least in part- on the points of reference that these settings afford.

Thus, within ✳UrbanSensing we are mainly gathering and analyzing geo-localized social media data (Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, and Flickr); and such data will be properly integrated and compared with more traditional sources of urban information (socio-demographic territorial data, real-estate indicators, and environmental data) to produce dynamic and evolving images of the city as used and perceived by its’ citizens and temporary users.

3. What is the application of open source/social network-based mapping you are interested in the most?

If properly analyzed, integrated, and interpreted, Social Media data can help stakeholders at the urban scale to “forward-looking” innovation strategies based on a thorough analysis of people’s contexts, interests, and needs.

Among the possible urban topics this data could partially answer to, we will narrow them to the following particular issues:

  • Rapidly intercepting emerging urban dynamics, such as gentrification processes and precise areas’ evolution through time (for identifying trends in areas’ related phenomena, in the exact moments they’re originated, with the possibility to add more dynamic parameters to those used by the real estate market);
  • Understanding which are the factors (e.g. morphological aspect, aesthetic quality, public service availability and density, infrastructure granularity, cultural scene, and commercial service) that attract people in particular places (areas, neighborhoods), and how this evolves through time;
  • Understanding which kind of people (language / on-line influence / demographics) are in specific areas at particular moments;
  • Highlighting patterns of movement throughout  the city (from which places people in an area come from? where are they going? are they residents, visitors, or ordinary city users?);
  • Interrogating data about a particular topic (e.g. brand name, event name) or about a selected theme (e.g. cultural phenomena, cutting-edge topics) to see how things evolve spatially and temporarily.

All this, to provide a better understanding of an areas’ related phenomena and evolution, to redefine actual districts’ fixed boundaries and to see where public services, policy’s infrastructures, design interventions, or activities could be better located, and to try and build models to predict near-future evolution;

Experiment of Tweet mapping in New York


4. What is the next phase of development that your research is undergoing?

One of the forthcoming steps of our project is to gain a deeper understanding of:

  • How such data sources could be interpreted (in terms of sharing behaviors and motivations) to get actual and consistent insights;
  • Which are the real limits of such data in terms of research (e.g. demographic, digital divide, economic, location-related);
  • How to overlap and integrate such data sources with more traditional layers of territorial information (e.g. socio-demographic data, income data, rental costs, ethnic data, and environmental ones such as pollution and sanitary inspections, etc.) to finally display extreme high-resolution views and interpretations of territorial related dynamics.
  • How unexpected patterns and meaningful questions could emerge from data themselves. 

In fact, UGC differs from conventionally produced geographic information in several aspects. The source of the information, the technologies for acquiring it, the methods and techniques for working with it, and the social processes that mediate its creation and impact. Traditionally, geographic information has been produced by experts and institutions, therefore, certain types of information have been privileged and other types ignored, and even marginalized. UGC’s represent a powerful shift in sources, content, characteristics, modes of data production, mining, sharing, dissemination, and use. Therefore, a wide set of meaningful questions (that have been partly investigated for “conventional” geographical information) need now to be re-investigated, and a framework on how to use these information still has to be built.

In parallel, we are designing and developing the technological architecture and the actual interface allowing us (and lately, stakeholders) to perform specific queries and produce such dynamic maps in a very visual and intuitive way.

5.  What are you personal references for the theme of mapping (from ancient to contemporary ones)?

We would here focus on emerging critical practices that propose new models to describe the city that stresses the collaborative and constructionist dynamics of the mapping process.

The underlying idea of this approach considers the geographic, urban experience through a network of multiple fragmented temporary data and information generated by human-place interactions and collaborative dynamics. Based on these theoretical premises, several experimental GIS-based applications focusing on cartography emerging from users’ perceptions and activities have been produced.

As Zook & Graham noticed, traditional methods used to register users’ perceptions and activities about the cities and its fruition – like surveys and ethnographic reports – seem to be inadequate to meet the need of information of contemporary society both because they require a considerable amount of resources (in terms of time and money) and because they do not consider the temporal dimension.

Mapping projects based on UGC have been therefore conducted both by research institutions (e.g. CASA at University College London, SIDL Lab at Columbia University, Senseable City Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Urban Age at London School of Economics) and independent scholars and design firms (e.g. Christian Nold, Stamen Design) with the aim of creating new ways to observe and depict specific subjective and objective processes taking place in cities.

Senseable City Lab explored mapping systems based on UGC on several projects like World’s Eyes and Obama One People.

Current City, a European foundation committed to address long-standing city management problems in unconventional ways, explored the potential of urban mapping based on real-time data streams on users’ location coming from telco providers.

Christian Nold’s work focused on in-depth research of technological tools in order to unravel their social and political layers, and on building socially constructive, bottom-up devices, that take the form of practical tools such as in the Bio Mapping project.

Bio Mapping is a research project based on biometric sensors that can be worn by users provided with a GPS device able to trace their paths through the city, and that register specific parameters (e.g. emotional status in a specific place or situation) and publish them as user generated content on specific emotional maps. This project explores tools that allow people to selectively share and interpret their own bio data. Within this framework, Nold investigates how the perceptions of a community in an environment can change when they become aware of their own intimate emotional status.

Some other recent GIS projects focused on the idea of building open tool-kits that could be used by the community of students and practitioners of urban design, planning, and management. The Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis at UCL created MapTube as a free resource for viewing, sharing, mixing, and mashing maps online and the NeISS project (National e-Infrastructure for Social Simulation) provides a platform to meet the demand for powerful simulation tools by social scientists and public and private sector policymakers. The tools enable researchers to create workflows to run their own simulations, visualize and analyse results, and publish them for future discovery, sharing, and re-use. This facilitates development and sharing of social simulation resources within the urban planners and social science community, encourages cooperation between model developers and researchers, and helps foster adoption of simulation as a research method and as a decision support tool in the public and private sectors. Design Tool is an application proposed by Predrag Šiđani, which has its starting point in Lynch’s propositions about city and urban form. Lynch’s theory of urban form and its hierarchical structure of main urban elements were applied, together with his concept of cognitive mapping, to a conceptual model of the Design Tool.

This is the second post in the MetaMap series about mapping. You can follow the conversation on Twitter, Google+, Diaspora, or Facebook through the #metamap hashtag.

credits: Giorgia Lupi and Gabriele Rossi (
acknowledgements: texts above are part of the UrbanSensing project
Design Week Tweets: Accurat with Marco Vettorello (data gathering) and Paolo Patelli (data processing and visualization)
Thanksgiving: Accurat with Marco Vettorello (data gathering and processing)

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REaction workshop in Paris : Diseño paramétrico y Smart Cities

Category : ⚐ EN + ⚐ ES + city + ciudad + diseño + eventos + events + news + noticias + parametric + technologies + tecnologías

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ecosistema urbano at Master Class ‘The public space along the channel. The water and the city’ | Brussels 5-7 June

Category : ⚐ EN + ecosistema urbano + events + urbanism

Masterclass at Pyblik

This week I will take part as an international expert at the Master Class ‘The public space along the channel. The water and the city’.

The master Class is organized by ]pyblik[ (, an initiative of the Brussels Capital Region in collaboration with 2 schools of architecture in Brussels,  LUCA School of Arts- Department of Architecture and the Faculty of Architecture of the University of ULB. Its aim is to centralize the knowhow and expertise in public spaces.

As part of the course, masterclasses are organized for professionals, designers and project managers, who will reflect together on a specific case. During the 3day masterclasses the focus will be the public space around the canal district in Brussels. I will be joining local experts Dirk van Peijpe, Guy Vanbeeck and Thierry Kandjee for a discussion.

Within this framework, I will offer a lecture presenting the most recent woks of ecosistema urbano. The lecture will take place on Wednesday June the 5th at 8 pm at the Faculty of Architecture Luca-arts in Brussels.

For more info in NL/FR.

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International summer course (update) | Urban design and sustainable architecture

Category : ⚐ EN + architecture + sustainability + urbanism

Architecture in Alicante

The international summer course in Alicante we presented a couple of months ago is finally going to happen!

So far, 14 international – from quite diverse places like the US, Ucrania, Lebanon or South Corea – and 8 local students have already registered, and the University of Alicante just extended the registration period over June, so you still have a chance to join!

More Than Green international summer course

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.

Sustainability in an international environment: Experts in sustainability, teaching and design from all around the world meet in Alicante.
Learning by the sea: Meet friends from all around the world and enjoy the Mediterranean culture, a different way of understanding architecture, the city and life.
Challenging yourself: A fresh and playful approach to sustainable design.
Finding your way: We offer a wide variety of thematic contents as well as plenty of activities for your free time.


We will be taking part with PLAYstudio – the organizers –, Transsolar and Urban Think Tank. Looking forward to meet you there!

Place and date: University of Alicante, Alicante, Spain. 15-26th July 2013
Learn more: International summer course (by the sea)Versión en español
Official website:

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PET Lamp | Uniendo reciclaje, artesanía y diseño

Category : ⚐ ES + creatividad + diseño + sostenibilidad

PET Lamp - clic para ir a la página


PET Lamp es un diseño de lámpara, o más bien un arquetipo del que pueden derivar infinitas lámparas con sus propias variaciones, que combina el reciclaje de un material de desecho (las botellas de PET) con una técnica textil tradicional de Colombia y el diseño de producto de un diseñador español.

PET Lamp

Proceso de tejido sobre la horma

Su promotor y diseñador, Álvaro Catalán de Ocón, explica en la web:

Como parte del grupo de creativos implicados en [otro proyecto relacionado], podía ver que la contaminación generada por las botellas de plástico que usamos cada día es un problema que nos afecta a nivel global. Fue por esto que decidí desarrollar un proyecto que proporcionara respuestas, desde el punto de vista del diseño, a este problema global.

La manera en que enfocamos el problema fue combinarlo con un antiguo recurso artesano: la tradición textil. La idea era convertir un objeto con una vida corta y específica en un producto enriquecido con la cosmogonía de la cultura local.

Despiece de una PET Lamp

Un proyecto que recuerda bastante, por varios motivos, a las mecedoras tejidas de Mecedorama. Aunque el proceso de diseño y producción funciona de distinta manera en cada caso, ambos proyectos experimentan con la relación entre el diseño de autor, el conocimiento colectivo y abierto condensado en las técnicas tradicionales, y la producción artesanal.

También recuerda al trabajo de Raquel Moreno (Entupunto) con tejidos de materiales reciclados, concretamente sus luminarias.

Os recomiendo echar un vistazo a la página para leer más sobre la elaboración de las lámparas y el proyecto en general. La combinación de varias de ellas crea unas luminarias fantásticas, que evocan justamente lo que son: algo a medio camino entre una pieza de artesanía tradicional y un “objeto de diseño” contemporáneo. Las traslaciones de esto a la arquitectura, las dejo para otra ocasión.

Página oficial:

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Formación para políticos y Universidad de Verano para LSGs | Boletín URBACT abril 2013

Category : ⚐ ES + urbact + urbanismo

Formación para políticos y Universidad de Verano para LSGs | Boletín URBACT abril 2013

Hoy ponemos a la descarga el Boletín de Noticias URBACT del mes de abril de 2012: [Download not found]

Informe Especial: Lanzamiento del programa de Formación sobre Desarrollo Sostenible para Políticos

Cuando se trata de impulsar la sostenibilidad en el desarrollo urbano, la atención se centra por lo general en los técnicos especialistas. Pero ¿qué pasa con los representantes electos? ¿Cómo pueden los políticos de las ciudades asociadas a URBACT involucrarse más en este aspecto? Para responder a estas preguntas, URBACT ha desarrollado un plan piloto de formación para representantes electos. Hacemos una retrospectiva del seminario de inauguración, que tuvo lugar en Bruselas del 08 al 10 del pasado mes de abril de 2013.

Rehabilitación energética para salir de la recesión

El entorno construido de las ciudades europeas debe ponerse “energéticamente en forma” de manera urgente. Para lograr esta transformación, los propietarios y ocupantes de edificios tendrán que ser persuadidos para que hagan más eficientes sus activos en términos de consumo de energía. La línea de trabajo de URBACT “Eficiencia energética en las ciudades europeas” ha sido creada para examinar el papel de las autoridades públicas en cuanto a la creación de comunidades urbanas eficientes a través del reequipamiento o rehabilitación del sector de la edificación. El artículo “Retrofitting Our Way Out of recession” escrito por Paul Ciniglio, experto en Sostenibilidad Estratégica y Antonio Borghi, Experto Principal del proyecto URBACT LINKS, presenta los primeros resultados de su trabajo.

Universidad de Verano URBACT 2013 – ¡Hagan hueco en la agenda!

Tras el éxito del primer evento, URBACT lanza su segunda edición de la Universidad de Verano para Grupos de Apoyo Local. El evento se llevará a cabo en Dublín, Irlanda, del miércoles 28 agosto al sábado 31 de agosto 2013.

Formación para políticos + Universidad de Verano para LSGs

¿Qué es URBACT?

URBACT es un programa europeo de aprendizaje e intercambio que promueve el desarrollo urbano sostenible, capacitando a las ciudades para desarrollar en colaboración soluciones frente los mayores desafíos urbanos, y reafirmando el papel clave que juegan ante cambios sociales de complejidad creciente.
URBACT, integrado por 300 ciudades, 29 países y 5000 profesionales que participan activamente, ayuda a las ciudades a desarrollar y compartir soluciones prácticas novedosas y sostenibles que integran la dimensión económica, social y medioambiental.

Os recordamos que también podéis descargaros los boletines anteriores:

Marzo 2013: [Download not found]

Febrero 2013: [Download not found]

Enero 2013: [Download not found]

Diciembre 2012: [Download not found]

Noviembre 2012: [Download not found]

Más boletines – Ver archivo

Podéis estar al tanto de lo que sucede en URBACT a través de las cuentas de twitter de @urbact y @urbact_es.

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Design-Analyse-Build | A methodology put to practice

Category : ⚐ EN + architecture + creativity + sustainability

I would like to share with you my personal experience  in a ‘Design-Analyse-Build’ way of design.  Some of you might think, that it sounds not so innovative and most of the architects work in that way, that’s probably could be the truth, BUT there are some specific tips that make this experience unique.

In this post I will refer to the workshop that I shared in IED Torino Master SUS with the main coordinators  ARCò and MCArchitects studio, about designing an off-grid sustainable school for Palestine, Gaza_Rafah.

Firstly, I want to meet you with a work plan, that we were followed:

1. Climate analysis of an area
2. Analysis of the state conditions and local features of the area
3. Understanding the type of users and their needs
4. Environmental strategies selection
5. Concept creation
6. Design process
7. Shadow, daylight and glare analysis using Ecotect
8. Model 1:1 scale prototype

The first step was to analyse the climate of the area to understand the possible environmental strategies we can use and make a list of parameters that is better to avoid or conversely exploit during design process. The most tricky stuff was to find the weather data for Palestine, because nowadays all the information about it is classified, due to the war. Finally we had to use  weather data of  Beer Sheeva that located nearby in territory of Egypt.


The result of a Climate analysis using  

During most of the year temperature is above the comfort zone.. The winter is short, but is noticed with a humid winds. The summer period  lasts almost 7 months and accompanied with high temperature of the air and wind.The difference between the highest and lowest temperature during the day is about 10°.With this climate is important to orient building to protect it from the direct sun during summer and to capture it during winter. Also the building should be covered from strong winter wind,but use the summer ones.

The second step was to find out the location of  Rafah city and underline  the main function of that place.  One of the most important thing was to see the actual state of the construction site, that was almost impossible due to the hostilities.

Site location. Palestine. GazaStrip, Rafah

Rafah is situated in the southern part of the GazaStrip in Palestine, at the border with Egypt. According to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel at Camp in 1982, Rafah was divided into two parts. One part was assigned to Egypt, the other part to the Gaza Strip. Nowadays Rafah is the only point of importance in the country.

The third step was to ‘meet’ the users. In this case we had to try being in their shoes, imagining lifestyle of a kid who was born and had been living all of his life in a war situation, always surrounded with fences and swaying wire in a lack of green safety spaces and entertainments.

The site is located in the central empty area of Rafah. It is surrounded with residential houses and a big warehouse.In the real-time the site is full of  excavated earth, because of the erasion of the previous construction, after the bombing.

From 1948 the population of Palestine live in the war situation.. So the country has problems in many different fields, one of it belongs to children and it is lack of schools and areas for children activities

The fourth step was to choose the environmental strategies to follow to reach the off-grid building. This phase is strongly related to the climate analysis. In this case, is very helpful to see the vernacular architecture of a place to choose the right strategies.

Image is made by Ekaterina Kozhevnikova and Sara Cicinelli|

workshop ‘Una scuola sostenibile’ in IED Torino

The fifth step is a sort of summary of all the strategies we chose for the building – concept creation. Concept is the phase right before the design process, so it was important to choose the right orientation, shape, functional zones etc. We were also advice to make a simple symbol or logo that would describe our project in few seconds, that finally could become sort of a brend.

 ‘The Earth is our school, so let’s make the school with earth!’

Image is made by Ekaterina Kozhevnikova and Sara Cicinelli | workshop ‘Una scuola sostenibile’ in IED Torino

One of the most important steps was analysis of the building with Ecotect, Autodesk 2011. For this project we had to make several calculations, such as: solar, shadow, daylight and glare analysis.

Usually  shadow analysis is calculated for the longest and shortest day in the year, such as 21st of December and 21st of June. In this case we also did computings for 21st of march to get proper results and see if the overhangs are useful during al the year.

Solar analysis shows us the amount of sun hours that building surfaces receive during the day. It gives us the idea of facade protection from the direct sun. It also could be very useful to see the best position for the PV panels to let them produce the maximum energy.

Daylight factor analysis is the ratio of internal light level to external light level.A low asks for classrooms a 5% daylight factor. For  art, craft, technological laboratories thatratio is even higher. Daylight can be used to offset the need for artificial lighting and hence reduce dependency and consumption on electricity and the greenhouse gas emitted. Effective daylight distribution must be achieved in a manner that brings visual satisfaction to the occupants.

Glare analysis is a calculation about number of direct sun or reflection coming from a very bright source outside the field of view. The reflection may cause discomfort as well as the additional annoyance of veiling or masking out the information which is being sought within that view.The result of  analysis using

The final step was a model in 1:1 scale that we built-in one of the parks in Turin city. It was a great chance to ‘feel’ the construction and understand the weak and strong points of it. In my personal opinion, it was one the best parts of design, when you make the proof to your ideas and drawings, so you can be sure that the techniques you had chosen is stable and can answer to your expectations.

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Formación en planeamiento urbano sostenible… para políticos

Category : ⚐ ES + urbact + urbanismo

Training for Elected Representatives

Hoy os contamos una de las nuevas iniciativas piloto que se están poniendo a prueba desde URBACT de cara a la tercera edición de este programa europeo, y que nos ha parecido francamente interesante, oportuna y potencialmente muy beneficiosa para el futuro planeamiento y desarrollo de las ciudades a las que afecte.

Generalmente, cuando se trata de favorecer la implementación de medidas para la sostenibilidad en las ciudades, nos centramos en los técnicos, expertos y profesionales. Sin embargo, los agentes que mayor impacto producen en el desarrollo urbano están a otro nivel: el de la creación de políticas y la toma de decisiones, ya que estas afectan desde arriba a toda la estructura jurídica, económica y cultural implicada en la vida de una ciudad. Indudablemente, la  voluntad política es fundamental a ese nivel, y también la capacidad de los representantes electos para entender el impacto de sus decisiones a diferentes escalas. Cuanto más capacidad de decisión tiene una persona, más responsabilidad.

Y ahí es precisamente a donde se dirige esta iniciativa piloto del programa URBACT, que propone una formación específica en planeamiento urbano integrado y sostenible dirigida precisamente a los decision makers, a las personas que tienen más capacidad de decisión sobre las ciudades y por tanto también más impacto y responsabilidad. Como explica Charlina Vitcheva, directora de la Dirección General de Política Regional y Urbana:

Nuestro Comisario Johannes Hahn piensa que es muy importante la participación de los representantes electos en todo el proceso, porque en primer lugar, tienen el poder de ser elegidos por la gente, y en segundo lugar están próximos a la temática del desarrollo local. Esta formación es parte del proceso de capacity building (desarrollo de capacidades) local que tenemos la intención de reforzar en la próxima ronda de financiación.

El objetivo del programa es facilitar a estos representantes una mejor comprensión de las políticas urbanas europeas, un mínimo conocimiento sobre lo que implica el desarrollo integrado y sostenible, y una serie de herramientas prácticas necesarias para la gestión de proyectos en esa línea.


Primera sesión en Bruselas

Con vistas a la primera edición de este plan de formación (organizado en torno a tres seminarios) se convocó a alcaldes, tenientes de alcalde y concejales de diferentes ciudades en las que se están ejecutando actualmente proyectos URBACT. Se recibieron alrededor de 70 solicitudes para participar y se seleccionaron los mejores 30 candidatos, que se juntaron por primera vez en el primer seminario los pasados 8 a 10 de abril. Se puso especial atención en la creación de un grupo muy diverso, en el que cada participante pudiera aportar una experiencia y punto de vista específicos.

Métodos y herramientas para el desarrollo de políticas

Una vez que todos los representantes políticos seleccionados hicieron un hueco en sus agendas para asistir al curso, ¿cómo desarrollar este? El primer seminario, como los que le sigan con más o menos variaciones, incluyó presentaciones teóricas, ejercicios prácticos sobre herramientas que pueden ser empleadas para el planeamiento urbano integrador y colaborativo, y un proceso de revisión por pares realizado por los propios asistentes. Las horas de formación se complementaron con visitas guiadas a proyectos en marcha, con las que se pretende acercar a los asistentes a casos prácticos y experiencias concretas.

Se puede condensar el contenido y el enfoque de este programa en los siguientes aspectos: intercambiar conceptos, teorías y casos inspiradores; obtener nuevos conocimientos, herramientas y métodos de planeamiento urbano; conectar con otros a través del intercambio y la revisión por pares, y encontrar inspiración en el estudio de casos.

Aprendizaje activo

Esta primera sesión no fue precisamente un descanso para los asistentes, contando con un programa muy apretado de la mañana a la noche. Algunas actividades estaban enfocadas específicamente a animar el ambiente, a romper el hielo y ayudar a los participantes a conocerse y conectar. Por ejemplo, cada uno tuvo que dibujar un “escudo de armas” propio que representara su trabajo, su situación familiar, sus intereses o aficiones y su participación en URBACT.

Otras actividades estaban más orientadas a descubrir y probar herramientas, como el ejercicio práctico en el uso del “árbol de problemas”, que fue bastante ilustrativo sobre la manera de identificar, analizar y abordar los problemas. Es un juego de roles en el que los diferentes actores identifican las raíces de un problema específico (en este caso un alto nivel de desempleo en un barrio marginal) y dibujan de forma colaborativa un árbol. Una buena manera de fomentar la colaboración, que además facilita la aparición de debates y discusiones durante el ejercicio.

Además de la puesta en común de los problemas que plantea el planeamiento urbano, se presentaron y debatieron diferentes Planes de Acción Local y otras iniciativas locales llevadas por los propios asistentes. Gracias a la traducción simultánea en hasta 6 idiomas, todos los asistentes pudieron participar en un idioma en el que tuvieran suficiente soltura. Según Ségolène Pruvot, responsable de comunicación del programa:

“Resultó muy motivador comprobar que la gente está dispuesta a superar un cierto grado de dificultad inicial para trabajar juntos y aprender unos de otros, a pesar de las diferencias lingüísticas y culturales, o incluso de puntos de vista políticos divergentes.”

¿El resultado? Por lo que se puede leer en el informe de la primera sesión, bastante positivo. Gus Hoyt, concejal en el city cabinet de Bristol, lo resumía así:

“Se trata principalmente de averiguar qué ha funcionado y qué ha fallado en otras ciudades. La gente está siendo bastante honesta y no tratan de vender demasiado. Realmente ha resultado ser un buen espacio en el que compartir conocimiento.”

Próximos pasos

Los próximos seminarios serán en septiembre y diciembre de 2013. El primero tratará sobre el enfoque participativo y la implicación de las partes interesadas, y el segundo sobre la sostenibilidad y los procesos de cambio. Próximamente se irán publicando en el blog de URBACT o en su página oficial más comentarios y conclusiones extraídas de esta primera experiencia.

También podéis seguir @URBACT en Twitter y ver el hashtag #urbelect para seguir los debates alrededor de los seminarios.

Más información:

Página de presentación del piloto: Training for Elected Representatives
Post en el blog de URBACT: Elected Representatives Want to Learn Integrated and Sustainable Urban Planning Too!
Informe en la página de URBACT: Special Report – Launch of URBACT Training for Politicians on Sustainable Development
Otra iniciativa interesante: Erasmus for elected representatives