10X21 New Urban Paradigms for the XX Century

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10x21 new urban paradigms

IAAC Institut of Advanced Architecture in Catalonia Carrer de Pujades, 102, 08005 Barcelona Urban Sciences Lab Willy Müller Director Jordi Vivaldi, Research Professor Maite Bravo, Academic Coordinator Giovanna Carnevali, International Programs Colaborators: Sayali Ahvad Maryan Ewais Fernando Baptista María Galaktionova Lina Salamanca Barcelona, October 2017 Internal working copy English text to be revised

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10x21 Ten Urban Paradigms for the XXI century Cities Willy Müller / Jordi Vivaldi 3

Urban Sciences Research Lab

NEW URBAN PARADIGMS


10x21 new urban paradigms

Willy Müller / Jordi Vivaldi Contributors: Vicente Guallart Areti Markopoulou Tomás Díez Manuel Gausa Maite Bravo Giovanna Carnevali Xavier Prats 4


INDEX Introductions

..

Beyond Urban Resilience - Willy Muller New Urban Paradigms - Jordi Vivaldi A New Educational Model for Urban Sciences - Maite Bravo

Paradigm 1 The Programmed Collapse in the Age of Megacities

Paradigm 2 Infrastructure For the Climate Change

Paradigm 3 The Hyperconnected Citizen

Paradigm 4 Networks and Productive cities

Paradigm 5 City Metabolism

Paradigm 6 Hyper Regions and Slow Cities

Paradigm 7 World of Cities

Paradigm 8 From Urban Rations to Real Time Data

Paradigm 9 From Urban Forms to Multidimensional Plan

Paradigm 10 Smart city control and self-management

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10x21 new urban paradigms

BEYOND URBAN RESILIENCE From urbanism to urban sciences

By

Willy Müller Urban Sciences Lab Director

The city is a word that lately has rediscovered all its expressive and semantic meaning of what distinguishes it from what it is not. It is nowadays assuming once again urban, suburban and metropolitan scenarios, center and peripheries, in a new leap in scale from the polis to the megalopolis. The city is again at the center of a debate that has ceased to be an exclusive property of urbanism, being now understood as multidisciplinar encounter of sciences. We are witnessing a diverse and prolific debate in almost all the human sciences, that takes place precisely within the idea of the city once again becoming the primary focus of research in terms of economy, politics, ecology, technology, health and logistics. We are in a new scenography that territorializes different visions in one common condition: belonging to a city. We are in the age of urban sciences. Regardless of its economic, social or cultural development, its advantages and shortcomings, its magnitudes and miseries, or its structural inertia to the changes by the distribution of opportunities, the city witnesses these historical facts in a Braudelian way For the first time in its global history, in the first decade of this twenty-first century there are more people living in urban environments than outside them, which has quickly made us become a global village of citizens in

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a massive way. This evolutionary leap of humanity, is the great challenge we face as a society that coincides with one of the technological revolutions that is transforming our society rapidly and having a huge impact on it. In the late 90s appeared many of the current resilience strategies that are being applied today. These strategies provided useful tools to understand and to act in a complex and global world with signs of mismatch in the urban models that came from the past. Despite their progressive vocation, these resilience strategies have turned today into models that are deeply reactive to these huge challenges. Far from understanding and preparing for a substantial system change, the resilient thinking appears as a survival reaction that enables the permanence of the established model, fostering small strategic modifications in a system that is becoming increasingly more questionable. Since the first decade of this century, the structural nature of the urban condition based on a resilient view seemed unapproachable, because adapting an anachronistic model simply perpetuates its obsolescence, and despite generating temporary improvements in its reformist vision, it does not offer a real solution to the problems that we must face. In fact, we are facing a paradigm shift, and here at the Urban Sciences Laboratory of IaaC we believe that this is the moment to create spaces for research and education that could meet the demands of a society that is becoming increasingly active towards the urban phenomena. We hope that this book will begin to construct a necessary up-to-date and committed agenda for cities tailored to new generations seeking to participate in the construction of their future.

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10x21 new urban paradigms

NEW URBAN PARADIGMS Towards the shift of a model

By

jordi vivaldi piera Urban Sciences Lab Research Professor

If the XIX century was the century of empires and the XX century has been the century of states, the XXI is the century of cities. Agglomerations such as Hong Kong, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro or London endure a demographic, technological and cultural complexity that the twentieth century had hardly experienced. Far from being reduced to a mere increase of urban population, the rise of cities also proposes a transformation of social habitats that impacts nearly all dimensions of the metropolis. The disembarkation of information technologies, the intensification of environmental concerns, the arrival of artificial intelligence or the generalization of the Internet, have drawn an urban scenario that can hardly be managed with the industrial logic of the twentieth century. In this context, it is necessary to propose new models capable of meeting the demands of the present. We are facing what in other areas is called a paradigm shift. To approach any problem necessarily means to confront them through a model that not only provides solutions, but also raises questions. That model is precisely what we mean by the term paradigm. In this sense, and following Thomas Kuhn’s thesis, a paradigm defines practically all aspects that concern the approach of a problem: it stipulates what should be observed, it defines what questions must be formulated, it organizes the results of the research, and it lays out how they should be interpreted. It also suggests what experiments should 8


be conducted and even what kind of predictions can be valid. However, paradigms have an expiration date. The world of science has not always advanced based on what Kuhn calls “Normal Science”. At certain points “Scientific Revolutions” occur. In the first case we see accumulative developments, whose main feature is the linearity of its evolution. In the second one, on the contrary, we no longer face a merely quantitative change but a qualitative one. Indeed, a scientific revolution is a completely new approach towards the same subject. The shift from the Ptolemaic to the Copernican scheme is a good example of this, as well as the shift from Newtonian to Einsteinian physics. In both cases, what happens is not a step forward in the same direction, but rather a change of direction. Yet in what situation does a paradigm shift occur? This happens when the paradigm accumulates recursive anomalies that it is incapable to explain. This means that the model can’t provide a satisfactory response to a growing number of incidents, and therefore, it requires a major number of ad-hoc explanations in order to keep its primacy. This is precisely the situation in which urban design is today: The urban industrial models of the twentieth century are beginning to collapse in the face of an unprecedented demographic, cultural and technological context. In this sense, it is becoming more and more commonplace for main cities of the world to have to face recursive anomalies of all kinds: public transport has severe operational shortcomings, private mobility systems generate more urban traffic jams than ever before, infrastructures are becoming obsolete at a rapid pace, housing stock is insufficient, ecological disasters are becoming more usual and sea-level rise threatens to be irreversible. Urban design in the 21st century indeed needs a paradigm shift. Yet, far from raising an apocalyptic scenario against which we have a foolproof

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remedy, the new urban paradigms proposed in these pages do not guarantee an ultimate solution. Rather, they act as a change of perspective, as a renewed approach to an urban phenomenon that strays further away from the logics of the First Industrial Revolution. Thus, it is about a renewed toolbox that represents a qualitative change with respect to the previous model, and it does so because it is able to establish complicities with deeply contemporary elements: real-time data, hyper-connected public space, modes of local fabrication, the era of experience, new migratory models, floating population, ecological sensibilities ... The Urban Sciences Lab proposes ten new urban paradigms that operate in different dimensions of the city. These paradigms are completed by the groundbreaking contribution of professionals who have already been working in this direction. Thereby a series of texts of innovative vocation are presented as vectors that are oriented towards a century in which cities are called to be the main players once again. After the shift of the Greek “polis” of Pericles towards the State-Nation of the Westphalia treaty, the “polis” returns. It does so as the main political, economic, cultural and demographic institution of the 21st century. However, the “polis” of our age should no longer be a cast of monads, as it used to be in Ancient Greece. On the contrary, “polis” should be read as an intensive field of poles made of urban activity that respond to migratory, touristic, economic, energetic and business schemes that nowadays are, above all, urban. And it is precisely this urban vocation the one that leads the city to hold a central position in our “zeitgeist”, turning urban design into a task that is deeply relevant to the present and to the future of our societies.

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A NEW EDUCATIONAL MODEL FOR URBAN SCIENCES The Bachelor’s degree of Urban Sciences (ESCI-UPF & IAAC).

By

maite bravo Urban Sciences Degree Program Academic Coordinator

We are currently undergoing an unprecedented growth and expansion of urban settlements that is encompassing all aspects of the built environment. Some of the most urgent challenges facing the 21st. century are related to the vertiginous environmental changes, the rapid population growth, and the advancement in technology that are affecting urban habitats. To face these various challenges and problems, a new science is emerging, composed of various disciplines constructing a theoretical, practical and applied framework to answer present and future problems and paradigms related to the urban realm for the 21st. century. These emerging disciplines are forming a conglomerate of Urban Sciences, gravitating around the fields of Ecology, Economy, Society, Technology and Habitat. Urban Sciences proposes a broad territory for the convergence of several disciplines. In the computational field, it can allow the processing of realtime data interpretation, the embedment of technology in urban realms, and the reformulation of urban systems as a dynamic and changing phenomena. In the field of Ecology, it is able to integrate data to advance in the implementation of environmental and life cycle processes, to study the climate change phenomena, and to help implement informed decisions in urban realms.

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In the field of Habitats, is managing synergistically city data in its physical dimensions, uses and administration. In the field of Economics, it is possible to manage resources, identify needs, and prioritize investments in urban environments. In the Social realm, it aims to study citizen participation, new governance models, and novel administration tools and methods. For its implementation, a multidisciplinary, multi-scalar, and multidimensional approach is proposed, that considers the urban phenomena as a conglomerate of sciences in constant interaction, repositioning urbanism and the built environment not any longer as isolated domains, but as a transversal field. To address the scale and complexity of these urban issues, the increasing use of the latest information and communications tools and technology is been widely implemented in several places around the world, which the Council for European Urbanism has described as complex, interactive data environments in real time usually referred as smart grid or smart city. As a result, researchers and professionals of urban environments are generating enormous amounts of data from a wide variety of devices through numerous platforms from both the public and private sectors. The ability to manage, visualize and analyze this big data offers unforeseen opportunities, from improving the understanding of the emergence, progression, and resolution of problems, to providing a complete reconceptualization and reformulation of new urban strategies, facilitating the technology transfer, with the objective to improve the conditions and habitability of urban environments and to propose novel inhabitation models for the future. Within this new scenario, old models seem incapable to respond to the scope and the complexity of this phenomena, therefore a new breed of professionals is required. These new graduates must be equipped with broad

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10x21 new urban paradigms

knowledge, an innovative attitude towards the urban phenomena, and be highly proficient in unique skills, which requires a new type of learning model. Hence, the new urban science program constructed a radical educational framework based on a Manifesto for Urban Sciences, that is composed of five premises: 1. From city to urban systems. The profound changes in the urban realm are challenging traditional notions around the concept of city and expanding into urban systems, encompassing new paradigms and challenges for the 21st. century. 2. Technology should be transversal and in continuous update. Technology is invading all areas of knowledge and must be applied at multiple levels and realms. 3. Education should be immersive. Traditional classroom models are obsolete and must be replaced for models of cooperative learning, flipped classrooms, and skill based programs. 4. Skills must be customized. Training should be tailored to meet specific interests, abilities and knowledge. 5. Classrooms must be Labs. Education must be redesigned to be delivered as projects and studied in real case scenarios, where knowledge can be directly applied. To develop this innovative degree, ESCI-UPF School of International Studies has established a collaboration with IAAC, the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia - Urban Sciences Lab, to develop an agenda of academic interest in common within the competencies of these institutions. This new Bachelor’s degree program will be delivered in three academic years, with a total of 180 ECTS. The first year starts with a basic stage of general and interdisciplinary training objectives, followed by an advanced stage for the second year. For the third and final year, some formative itineraries are defined through electives, that allow the student to acquire a basic specialization in some areas of their interest within the fields of Technology, Habitat, or Ecology. These itineraries allow students to obtain a certain formative profile linked to professional opportunities, that will be very useful for their insertion in the labor market, and facilitate the future connection of the degree with the masters structure that is being 14


Urban Sciences Degree Program

articulated in the university environment. In general, the strategic vision follows the line of technical degrees, which provide graduates with solid basic training, along with appropriate skills to foster knowledge-based innovation, providing a personalized and high quality training that can be continued in a wide range of master programs. This new generation of urban science graduates will not only help to resolve the major paradigms affecting urban environments, but they will likely become key players in the challenging task to envision the future of the urban habitats.

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P1 - The programmed collapse in the age of Megacities

paradigm 01

Image 1: Many of the buildings on the seismic safety list are in downtown Los Angeles. RON REIRING Data source: http://www.scpr.org/news/2014/01/21/41727/city-receives-addresses-for-concrete-buildings-tha/

THE PROGRAMMED COLLAPSE IN THE AGE OF MEGACITIES

The concept of urban collapse has been very much in the limelight during the last decades. The exponential growth of the cities has fostered the presence of “extreme” scenarios, abnormal situations that have become recurring. These anomalies disrupt the proper functioning of different urban dimensions such as public mobility, infrastructure, waste management or housing stock, to mention a few examples. Yet the urban collapse that we are referring to is not only a disruption because of the exhaustion of expansive or predatory metropolitan dynamic associated with an economic system that uses the city as a means and not as an objective, but it also occurs as an unexpected event, as an undesirable circumstance that nearly always happens outside the predicted design and without any forecast that it would happen. In recent centuries, the frequency of urban collapses has increased. In periods such as the Ancient time or Middle Ages the production of urban infrastructures for mobility and services needed several decades or even centuries to become obsolete. Today it is usual to find infrastructures that are born almost obsolete, not only because of the time elapsed between when they are initially designed and they 17


10x21 new urban paradigms

are constructed, but also because of that the premises have changed fast enough to make the project useless or irrelevant. Therefore, it seems necessary to rethink the notion of collapse, and above all the rather negative approach we apply to it, we must treat it as a surprise of the model. One of the great challenges of contemporary urbanism is to interpret the urban collapse not as a spontaneous unexpected element that is external to the project, but as an element of it, which it represents an event that is susceptible to be introduced and valued within the planning process itself. By using the programmed mode of this collapse, the decision perhaps would drastically change our usual methodology to design cities with new questions. In this sense, this book aims to approach concepts such as obsolescence, typical of other disciplines, and despite the negative sense that this expression has in the most progressive circles, its application in an urban project context can be extremely beneficial. Scenarios of collapse Several management areas which are fundamental to the correct global functioning of the metropolis operate in coexistance: mobility, water, waste, infrastructure, green spaces, pollution... Each one of these issues represents a different functional dimension, but, in turn, is connected to the rest of needs. This means that they are not completely independent worlds, and that therefore the collapse of one of them reverberates through the others in a metabolic way. Although some of these dimensions are relatively recent, such as the use of sewers or the problem of pollution, the urban collapse is not a new phenomenon, but on the contrary it has accompanied the urban development of the vast majority of cities throughout their history. In this sense, traditionally the main catalyst for collapses has been the demographic growth, which together with technological development has caused many of the urban transformations of our cities. One of the clearest examples of this is the medieval walls: great perimeter walls of the ancient medieval cities built between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, as in the case of Barcelona, collapsed before demographic growth that was not able to be contained. The first response was to extend the radius of the walls by erecting another wall a few meters ahead. Although the demographic growth within the walls led the urban centers to the collapse and forced them to expand their walls,

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P1 - The programmed collapse in the age of Megacities

the technological development ended up delete making the walls obsolete as an element itself, fostering their permanent demolition during the nineteenth century. Nowadays this intimate relationship between urban collapse, technology and population growth acquires a very peculiar reading. Indeed, if something does characterize the contemporary urban dynamics it is its high dependence on unprecedented demographic growth and on unstoppable technological acceleration. There have never been as many citizens as today, and the cities have never grown at the speed with which they are growing now. In this sense, if urban growth has historically been one of the main causes of urban collapse, it is logical that in parallel with the accelerated demographic increase, urban collapses have increased their intensity and frequency by reaching the point of becoming a standard and not an exception; going from the phenomena treated as extraordinary to the ones treated as ordinary. One of the clearest examples of this phenomenon is the city of Sao Paulo and its recent management of the park of mobility infrastructures. At the beginning of the 21st century, around 30 billion euros were allocated for the expansion, modernization and interconnection of trains and metros. The first stage, scheduled for 2025, should complete a basic underground network of a total of 163 km of tracks. However, it is expected that in less than 15 years there will be a new generation of inhabitants that will be much more numerous than the present one, and that it will largely exceed the capacity planned for the new track system. Although it seems irrational to start working for a structure that clearly will be born obsolete, it is at the same time difficult to avoid, since the need to expand public transport is urgent when faced with the absence of space for new avenues or highways. The infrastructures as designed today are not capable to absorb the needs of a faster population growth than ever before. About 30 years ago Sao Paulo had almost one million vehicles that circulated for about 14,000 km of paved roads in the city. Today, this has increased to 16,000 km but the vehicle fleet has increased sevenfold. The result is the traffic congestion of more than 280 km, something that makes all the new extensions obsolete because it is a problem of a structural nature and not merely accidental one. Programmed obsolescence Despite the fact that in the field of architecture and urbanism the notion of collapse and obsolescence has traditionally been understood as a technical problem to avoid, it was the main purpose of planning that from other fields has

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10x21 new urban paradigms

been approached in a completely different way. Probably the clearest example of obsolescence and paradigm shift can be found in the field of technology, and in particular it can be found in the example of public lighting. In the early 20th century the prototype of incandescent bulb created by Thomas Edison had a huge success and several companies got the orders for its fabrication. Before Edison’s invention the technology that illuminated the city was gas, with thousands of kilometers of extended tubes which would cease being useful overnight. It is interesting to observe how, when a status quo is threatened with the loss of control, the resilience appears as a retardant of any change: the gas industry has never had more improvements and inventions than during its last years of life. There are many emblematic examples of these paradigmatic changes, such as the one of Nylon, the I-pod or the one of ink cartridges, although none of them is as representative as the one regarding the car industry. The Ford Ts at the beginning of the century was a success for the American car industry but it had a business disadvantage: those cars were designed to last. General Motors perceived that and changed its strategy: every year they were offering small aesthetic adjustments to its models, something that allowed the customers to change their cars much more often. This was the industrial evolution. What occurred was an episode of industrial revolution, the paradigm shift happened when, for the first time Sergio Pininfarina, the Italian car engineer and manufacturer, proposed his concept of programmed obsolescence, separating at different periods of fabrication, use and consumption three different parts of a car: the chassis, the engine and the body, that in that order had different calendars of design and expiration. He adjusted the model to a basically economic paradigm shift: the financing ends the object’s period of life by opened a new business chain, from the used cars to the repair and the spare parts supply. Traditionally the programmed obsolescence has been understood in a negative way. The reason for that is the obsession existing in the capitalist economy to increase the consumption in a continuous progression, something that contributes to the exponential growth of the residues, the energy cost of mobility or the significant increase in global warming, notwithstanding the help to keep levels of work stable and to hold high dimension of research to be able to update the products very frequently. The programmed obsolescence contains a radical contradiction with this system: in theory, the manufacturer should offer the best possible product and it is

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P1 - The programmed collapse in the age of Megacities

extremely counterintuitive to think that this happens due to it reducing its service life. Indeed, something that characterizes the programmed obsolescence is it’s the willingness to turn the collapse into a more vital condition, and not only into a “spontaneous ending of its functionalities” at the resilience department’s expense. In this sense, the collapse loses its common attributes of negativity and uncontrollability and becomes a planned, necessary and strategic subject introducing the paradigmatic thinking into the planning. The urban collapse In a context in which the high demographic and technological acceleration increases the frequency of occurrence of anomalies in urban environments, it is essential to start approaching the idea of the collapse as a part of a medium and long term metropolitan strategy, establishing a methodology that incorporates the concept of “the programmed urban collapse”. Although the desire is to include a products shelf life in the design through programmed obsolescence, they differ substantially in their goals: far from being an option to increase the consumption of products, its determination is to anticipate the collapse and to enable the transition from one system to another, without overlooking small improvements. Nowadays the strategy is the opposite, and it is based on the reuse of obsolete old infrastructures, through small interventions, from the new use of the High Line in New York, or the Miocao in Sao Paulo, or the 7th Avenue in Bogota, where every Sunday these are turned into a huge cycle path and pedestrian street. However, to what extent is this new urban planning and effective resistance? The strategy proposed in this book is to understand if we are facing a paradigm shift, with the consequences we observe and with the objective of providing us with new tools to face them. In the age of mega-cities where it seems increasingly difficult to avoid collapse with resilience actions, the urban strategies must incorporate in the equation an expiration date that allows to plan and manage the limit points. This must be assumed as a common element in the metropolitan contexts meaning it is crucial to have a great forecasting ability to understand where the urban dynamics of the present are headed. This is probably one of the great challenges of the contemporary urbanism: to program a collapse means, above all, to build a strategy, to develop a (pre) vision of those finite futures. An exercise that undoubtedly requires some great speculative and imaginative capacities, but at the same time a great effort to classify, is to organize and to

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compare the enormous amount of data and indicators available to us in the age characterized by the great speed with which social, cultural and technological changes occur. Our present has now become hyper-expanded where the past and the future collapse in a usual and not episodic way. In this sense, the traditional areas of urban collapse, such as mobility, are witnessing a genuine revolution. The arrival of driverless cars seems to raise a series of logistical issues that would lead to the limit point of stress of the present infrastructures. It would not be enough to adapt the existing ones but it would be necessary to understand that the proposed change is a structural one where such long-held in our urban imagination concepts as traffic light, zebra crossing or sidewalk should be rethought. Something similar could happen with dronebased mobility that Amazon is starting to implement, drawing an urban scenario in which the amount of space allocated to logistics would be drastically reduced. The arrival of Uber implies another revolution where traditional mechanical mobility turns into a hyper-connected mobility in which the car ceases to be a personal property and becomes a common public service that, leaving aside the direct consequences for the labor market, does have an important impact on our daily habits. In the same sense, the rise of productive cities and especially the concept of km 0 implies a reduction in the number of km of necessary journey and means logistical reduction of the great scale. Finally, the combination of all these technological changes with the rapid growth of the population of the 21st century is the constitution of a completely new urban scenario, a challenge to which we must start giving the right answers.

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P1 - The programmed collapse in the age of Megacities

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P2 - Infrastructure for The Climate Change

paradigm 02

Image 1: Climatic Change, Extremely polluted city in China

INFRASTRUCTURES FOR THE CLIMATE CHANGE

For some decades now, environmental concerns have been one of the main focuses of attention in our societies. In contrast to the modern myth whose idea of unlimited progress was developed from its particular optimism, the second half of the twentieth century contributed to restrain these expectations. Although this modern narration was already definitively jeopardized after World War II with the recognition of science as one of its causes, the acknowledgment of nature’s vulnerability in the 60s and 70s was constituted as an added limit to the modern progress. In the face of this situation and within a series of entities emerged during those years the presence of a statement that warned about the natural damages caused by the modern humanism. At the same time a series of measures with a palliative vocation that had their roots in the Malthusian thinking were proposed: the resources of the planet growth according to the arithmetic logic that is not enough to respond to a population growth of a geometric type. The disadvantages of this mismatch go beyond the problems of lack of resources to raise other types of concerns. In this sense, climate change arises as one of the main contemporary difficulties that needs to be 25


10x21 new urban paradigms

urgently approached from all disciplines. Traditionally, urbanism has again focused this problem through the notion of resilience. However, it’s becoming more and more difficult to take a position based on the concepts of adaptability and flexibility. In fact, nowadays the promotion of urbanism focused on relieving climate change through exalting nature’s resilience is insufficient, and one of the most powerful changes has been the global consciousness that the Earth will go on without us despite our actions, but we won’t. This change of approach caused a switch of social perception, of the ecological importance of our actions, which we can easily identify as a historical milestone in the creation of the ecological footprint concept born at the beginning of this century. Therefore, it seems urgent to assume that climate change is a reality that has already become a parameter of collapse, and that while action must be taken to channel it, this should not overshadow one of the greatest challenges that the urban sciences of the 21st century faces: how to design cities capable of assuming the consequences of climate change as an immediate factual circumstance. The ecological debate Climate change is already a reality. The distribution of the meteorological patterns of the last decades have experienced some important variations. Although these have historically depended on non-human factors such as solar variations, meteorites, atmospheric composition or ocean currents, it is estimated that from the 17th century onwards with the first Industrial Revolution, humankind has become a geologically determining factor, giving rise to what some analysts call Anthropocene. The role of humans as of a climate agent began almost 10,000 years ago with the Agricultural Revolution situated in the Fertile Crescent and nourished by the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Throughout this process the deforestation was systematic with the aim to transform the forests into agricultural and croplands, and that was the first way to massively modify the territory: the continuous conversion of forests into fields and irrigation. In this sense, the landscape of some areas was radically altered to convert them into humanized agricultural, farmer and forest landscapes. Therefore, there was a loss of biological diversity and simplification of trophic chains which paradoxically increased the genetic variability of the seeds, caused by a long artificial selection of species. In any case, the Industrial Revolution was the

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P2 - Infrastructure for The Climate Change

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China, 1.0249e+7

Panama, 10362.942 Ethiopia, 10634.3

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Image 1: Carbon dioxide emissions in countries around the world 2013 Data source: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.KT?view=map

starting point for the massive production of greenhouse gas emissions. The discovery and generalization of coal as an energy source, and later oil as a natural resource, significantly multiplied the anthropological influence on the climate through the CO2 and methane gas emissions of industrialization. The warming recorded by the planet in the last centuries is scientifically clear. It is also true that it will persist in the coming decades in an even more pronounced way, and human beings are directly responsibility for it. In this sense, climate change seems to be unstoppable, and it is expected that in the rest of the century the temperatures will increase between 1.8 and 4 degrees depending on the measures taken to combat it. The evidence of this phenomenon has been measured by thousands of scientists in recent decades: the temperature increases in the air and in the ocean, ice and snow are melting, the sea level rise is recorded among many other varied indicators. There are plenty of effects on the planet such as impoverishment of biodiversity, abundant rains and droughts, loss of ice in polar caps,

.883

4257

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891e+6

5.1862e+6


10x21 new urban paradigms

Jakarta

Tokyo

Chittagong

Newyork, Newark

Abidjan

Lagos

Ningbo

Khulna

0,000

Tianjin

Alexandria

Hai Phing

Miami

Rangoon

Bangkok

Shanghai

00,000

EXPOSED POPULATION AND ASSETS

20,000,000

Exposed population future Exposed population current

Jakarta

Tokyo

Chittagong

Newyork, Newark

Abidjan

Alexandria Lagos

Ningbo

Virginia beach

Qingdao Khulna

5,000,000

Tianjin

Nagoya

Ho Chi Minh city Alexandria

Hai Phing

Amesterdam

Rotterdam Miami

Rangoon

Osaka-kobe Bangkok

New Orleands Shanghai

Ningbo Ho Chi Minh City

Dhaka

Hong kong

Tokyo

Tianjin Mumbai

Kolkata 0

Urban agglomeration 0

Alexandria

Virginia beach

Qingdao

Nagoya

Ho Chi Minh city

Amesterdam

Osaka-kobe

New Orleands

Ningbo

Bangkok

Hong kong

Tokyo

Mumbai

Newyork-Newark

Kolkata

2000

Shanghai

Tianjin

1000

Rotterdam

Exposed assets future ($ Billion) Exposed assets current ($ Billion)

4000

Guangzhou

3000

Miami

Newyork-Newark Miami

0

Guangzhou

0

Shanghai

10,000,000

0

Guangzhou

15,000,000

0

Bangkok

Mumbai

Calcutta

Exposed assets future ($ Billion) Exposed assets current ($ Billion)

Image 1: Urban agglomeration with Exposed assets in year 2014 and in the future. Data source: OECD Environment Working Paper No. 1 (ENV/WKP(2007)1)

Urban agglomeration

desertification, increased intensity of tropical cyclones, cyclical flooding, and many others. Urban impact In this century, climate changes have a special incidence on the cities and at the same time cities have a big impact on the climate change: they occupy only 1% of the Earth’s surface but they consume 78% of its energy resources, producing 60% of all CO2 released into the atmosphere, especially by the combustion of coal, oil and gasoline. This represents another differentiating and paradigmatic issue.

28


P2 - Infrastructure for The Climate Change

If everything goes as foreseen, by the year 2100 the temperature of urban areas is expected to rise between 7 and 8 degrees Celsius. This means that by 2050 we will have a progressively more urban planet (70% of the world population will be living in cities) where the warming of the urban heat islands is going to spread, increasing its intensity and scale of affectation so it can be expected that it would represent a significant contribution to global warming. Cities will inevitably suffer the so-called phenomenon of heat island. If we compare the natural environment that covers the same urban areas, cities such as Chicago, London or Sao Paulo have a larger area and the facades of buildings also have to be taken into consideration, especially the ones of the highest buildings since these facades reflect the most part of the solar radiation they receive towards the ground, generating what is known as cannon effect: high buildings and the ones that are very close to each other generate vertical air corridors between which the solar radiation is trapped. Moreover, we must consider the heat sources made by human activities: buses, cars, industries, air conditioners, etc. In some locations the energy emitted to the atmosphere by human activities is almost 4 times the amount than the solar radiation produces. Thus, cities are highly vulnerable to climate change, especially because of the high population density and the need for services. In addition, there is another problem: the greater frequency and intensity of periods of heat multiplied by the phenomenon of heat island, will inevitably affect the air quality. This implies some important consequences for our health, especially for children, seniors and people suffering from respiratory or cardiac problems. Infrastructures and ecological shift. Given this scenario, infrastructures play a decisive role. In the vast majority of its variants - energy, hydraulics, telecommunications and transport - the following paradox appears: on the one hand, it seems necessary that these are increasing in order to respond to the growing needs of the urban population, but on the other hand and in the long term, increasing its dimensions implies increasing the magnitude of the impact in every sense, from the congestion or levels of pollution, which in turn contributes to the climate change acceleration. The most common conclusion for this kind of reflections is that we must find different solutions to plan infrastructures in such a way that their use and development are less and less determinant in the ecological impact. In this way, the strategies adopted today are based again on the idea of resilience, confidence in the capacity of ecosystems and communities to absorb

29


10x21 new urban paradigms

Image 1: Future Map of the world, by Gordon-Michael Scallion Data source: https://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/mapas_antiguos/mapasantiguos04.htm

disturbances without altering its structure in a decisive way, maintaining in this way the possibility of returning to its original state once the disturbance is over. The continuous attention given to reducing pollution to relieve climate change means not having understood the magnitude of the problem. Of course pollution must be reduced, and all the efforts in this direction are absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, it’s not realistic thinking that we should do it because we are still in time to slow down and reverse climate change. This is a reality and we must keep on working to relieve it as much as possible, we have to be prepared to assume its immediate consequences and include them in the equation. Among them the one that is the most evident and alarming is probably the sea level rise. During the centuries human beings have not only chosen the proximity to the sea coast as the best place to survive, but also built ground on the sea: the

30


P2 - Infrastructure for The Climate Change

Netherlands, Venice or Saint Petersburg are great examples of this.However, the global warming effect is increasing the sea level of almost half a centimeter per year over the last three decades, which means, more than 10 centimeters since 1990. This is basically happened due to three factors: the melting of glaciers and polar caps, the ice loss in Greenland and West Antarctica, and the phenomenon of thermal expansion: the oceans, when heated, take up more space. As in everything related to the climate change, any forecast we can make has a high degree of uncertainty, as this depends on what we decide to do with the planet in the coming years. However, most of the predictions give similar results: global warming will continue and will probably accelerate. Consequently, and although it is difficult to predict how fast it would be, the level of the oceans will continue to rise. Some recent studies estimate that a rise of 4 degrees Celsius in the global temperature would mean an increase of almost 9 meters in the sea level. Despite the rise not being uniform, it depends on a multitude of geographic patterns. In general, by the end of the 21st century, the seas are expected to increase from 0.4 to 1.2 meters depending on human activity. That means that between 147 million and 216 million people in the world could be at risk due to regular flooding by the year 2100. In Bangladesh for example, 15 million people would be at risk of being displaced if the sea levels rise by one meter. And more than 10% of the country would be drowned, and even some remote island countries could also disappear, such as Kiribati, the Maldives and the Marshall Islands. Cities like Miami, New York or Houston would be at risk. The conclusion is that in the near future we will have a larger population inhabiting a smaller area. Climate change also increases the intensity of typhoons, turning these into the other major dangers for urban settlements. As a result, it is speculated that by 2060 more than 1 billion people will be forced to leave their homes because of the rising sea levels or the strength of devastating storms. This phenomenon has given rise to a status of an environmental refugee, a name that refers to the population that is forced to migrate or to be evacuated from their usual region because of the long-term or the short-term climate change in their local habitat. Actually, the population of Lataw on the Torres Islands in Vanuatu became the first climate refugees in 2004 when its 70 inhabitants had to move their village several hundred meters from the coastline. Given this global scenario, it seems necessary to implement a two-speed strategy: On the one hand, it is necessary to reduce CO2 and methane gases emissions to relieve the climate change in the long term, but on the other hand,

31


10x21 new urban paradigms

we must think hastily about what type of infrastructures we would need in order to assume its most immediate consequences. The cases such as those already mentioned suggest the necessity to be especially protected from the rising water levels, the urban heat and the increasingly active presence of typhoons. Which kind of infrastructures do we need for this? Is it enough to adapt the infrastructures that we have today? Probably the answer is that it is necessary to work with a new type of infrastructure that is capable not only of responding to this new type of climatic needs, but also to take advantage of them. In this sense, probably the best solution to the rising sea level is to not simply build a wall around the cities at risk to avoid water entry, but to combine this solution with the others that allow a controlled entry. Rather than concentrating the answers on hard solutions, it seems logical to think for example that the new urban edges should be rather soft, acting as an urban sponge. This would be a territorial element, capable of absorbing water in order to filter, purify, retain or distribute it as needed. Such an infrastructure would incorporate an associated socio-cultural program and should be able to contain and feed particular fauna and flora that increase local biodiversity. These infrastructures would be soft, comprehensive and on a territorial scale, and should not reduce their activity to mere mechanical protection from water, but to make a reasonable use of it, taking advantage of its social, cultural and natural potential. The 21st century urban planning can no longer concentrate its efforts on “adapting” the usual infrastructures to the new uses and levels of pollution. On the contrary, it’s fundamental to assume the reality and imminent threat of climate change consequences, and urgently understand that the magnitude of the problem requires a completely different approach.

32


33


New Urban Paradigms

34

1

10x21 new urban paradigms


P3 - The hyperconnected citizen

paradigm 03

Image 1: When technology controls your life Data source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/when-technology-starts-to-control-your-life

THE HYPERCONNECTED CITIZEN

In the last decades a series of social and technological innovations have transformed our communicative habits. Advances such as the generalization of the internet, the intensive use of smartphones and the increase in mobile have raised a scenario unheard of until now: without leaving our home we can communicate instantly with anyone in the world that is connected. It is about the network society, a social structure in which real-time information and the experience we have of it are some of its main formative elements. In this informational context emerges a new urban profile: the Hyperconnected Citizen. An individual of the twenty-first century who questions the established role of the public space through his socio-technological peculiarities: if traditionally it represented the space of relationship par excellence, it is urgent to reconsider its role under the light of the networks that have taken the lead. What should the public space of the 21st century be like? In what sense can it be re-formulated through the new information technologies? And above all, what can the public space offer to a hyperconnected citizen who is able to relate to the world without going out to the street? Given this scenario, several lines of research are intended 35


10x21 new urban paradigms

The role of the public space and the twentieth century. The existence of the public space is as old as the first sedentary communities of the Neolithic Revolution. The ability of these societies to produce surplus was a fundamental issue because, because of the necessity to carry out constant exchanges of goods, the roads and the remaining spaces between the buildings were used intensively and were destined to the new functions of circulation, commerce, leisure and socialization. 18-29 All internet users 30-49 18-29 All internet users 50-64 30-49 50-64 65+ 65+ 100 %

80 %

60 %

40 %

20 %

0% 2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

36

2010

2011

2012

Image 1. The rise of social networking in the United States in percentages by age group Data source: https://www.statista.com/chart/913/the-rise-of-social-networking-in-the-united-states/

to shed some light on the subject. Some sectors advocate for a real-time and much more democratic management of the public space through the concept of democracy 2.0. Several groups use a more playful approach to the debate, and augmented reality technologies pose the public space as a great board of social, economic and participatory game. In other cases, there are some options regarding productive public space to consider, capable of generating energy and food as a social catalyst. Indeed, there are many various alternatives that our social and technological landscape offers to us, and although some of them are still somewhat uncertain and volatile at the same time, there is something that seems to be certain: the establishment of the information age has the potential to profoundly transform our use and conception of public space, the true structure and meaning of a city since its foundation.


P3 - The hyperconnected citizen

The Agora and the Ancient Greece theatres together with the forums and the great infrastructures of the Roman Empire were clear examples of the necessity of the classic societies to understand the public spaces like “scenarios of expression”. In this way, the understanding of the public space was generalized as a place to express shared ideals regarding how each individual develops his condition as a person and claims his bonds with a particular collective. The Middle Ages deepened this symbolic conception of a public space, but it did so from the extremely theological coordinates: great buildings of sacred character were constructed that delimited the public spaces of the fortified city. These offered to the citizens, beyond the development of the usual social and commercial activities, the possibility to gather ahead of the religious power to recognize and to honor it. Yet during the Middle Ages the public space had also another fundamental function: to act as a punitive scenario. Indeed, the punishment was a public celebration that besides being a demonstration of power was constituted as a ludic and repressive event. At the end of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution raised the public spaces from a new perspective, in opposition to the terrible working conditions that existed in the industries and the unhealthiness of the agglomerated working neighbourhoods. Deeply linked to the public space, the notion of a green space, large parks and gardens, was constituted as an ideal instrument for the promotion of health and urban well-being. Throughout the twentieth century and with the development of financial capitalism and the consumer boom of the postwar period, the public space has undergone transformations that have characterized it in a very different way to that of other times. The interests of the private capital in a global socio-economic context and the willingness to convert them into “consumption scenarios” have reduced its former public and political dimension. This phenomenon has been dramatically accentuated by the landing of mass tourism in the last third of the twentieth century, which in many cases has literally converted the public space into the authentic consumer product. The arrival of the informational society As well as urban alternatives proposed in time to relieve the negative effects of the Industrial Revolution, new interactive habits were proposed by the Information Revolution to suggest other readings and uses of the public space. In this sense, the arrival and generalization of the Internet at the turn of the century has been fundamental: a technology that is a result of the

37


multidisciplinary encounter born in the military field and without economic motivation at the beginning, that was open almost from its birth and developed by its own users. It is important to keep in mind that not just their original designers produce through constitutive historical processes, and technologies. Thus, the Internet has been developed in the during a social process orchestrated by a series of ideas, values and interests that have crystallized in a computer network that basically allows users to exchange information in real time. Understood as a communication of knowledge, the information has been crucial not only now but also throughout all the history. It is evident that both in the agrarian and in the industrial era, the development of the modes of production necessary to accumulate agricultural or industrial products has been carried out through constant exchanges of information. However, the informational particularity of the present days implies that nowadays the information is a tool that is used not only to accumulate product, but also to produce and accumulate more information. It is comprised as a good itself, and not as a simple instrument to achieve objectives of different nature. In this sense, the concept of informationalism represents a technological paradigm, which itself has nothing to do with any kind of social organization. However, it does offer a platform for developing a new social structure: the “network society”. In fact, the social networks perceived as social organizations have always existed among human collectives. Ultimately, these are social structures

38

Image 1. Blabber is social network application that is about more than simply collecting friends or followers. Blabber is about sharing events, occurrences and information, all based on your current location.

10x21 new urban paradigms


P3 - The hyperconnected citizen

constituted by the information networks. However, the social networks of the 21st century have the peculiarity of being propelled by the new information technologies, something that is fundamental for two reasons. In the first place, they emphasize their inherent flexibility in time and space: the generalization of smartphones and the increasingly usual presence of wearables promote the development of instant, global, and personalized information networks. Secondly, the new information technologies allow solving the coordinating needs of the network systems, a fact that traditionally was seen as its main drawback in relation to the hierarchical systems. This new type of social organization based on the concept of network as structure and the information as raw material has led to the reformulation of certain social dynamics. Issues such as digital activism that led to the change of the constitution in Iceland, the revolutions of the Arab Spring, concentrations of 15M and even Daesh terrorism are events that could not be explained without constant competition of the Information Technologies. The hyper-connected citizen and his new intersubjectivity In this context, the cities of the 21st century have witnessed the emergence of a new urban actor: the hyperconnected citizen. It differentiates itself from the traditional citizen by being able to establish and maintain a fluid, constant, global, personalized, instant and, most importantly, geo-localized connection with other people, objects and institutions. However, the scope of their capabilities is not limited to receiving, processing and transmitting the information of all kinds, but also to experiencing it through the multiple augmented reality resources that are available to them. The combination of this technological aggregate with the new social, cultural and ecological dynamics of globalization leads to the emergence of an urban profile that stands out by offering a new intersubjective scheme. In this sense, a post-human subject is created, that appears as a nomadic assembly situated in a shared space that neither belongs to it nor completely controls it: it simply occupies it, and always does it in community. However,, the community crystallizes in a series of collectives that are not only formed by “other” humans, but are also constituted by “other” factors, rather ecological, technological, computer, etc. This set of agents of diverse nature are developed in a material, integrated, relational and cosmopolitan reality that has little to do with the tabula rasa, that characterized the industrial subject of the twentieth century.

39


10x21 new urban paradigms

Image 1. Map of Barcelona, tourist activities are marked red. Data source: https://lotteharmsen.wordpress.com/tag/eric-fischer/

The hyperconnected citizen is therefore immersed in a network of viral connections with agents of various species. It is determined by and from a multiplicity, regarding which it does not hold a privileged position, yet operates from the same ontological level. That means that it can no longer be aligned with the Promethean narrative of the modern movement, but must assume a plural and shared reality where it must wield abilities closer to those of a multidisciplinary mediator than to those of a modern hero. In this context, the hyperconnected citizen appears as an agent that no longer has to go to the public space to be able to place himself in what we previously described as a “scenario of expression”, something that was traditionally fundamental to build and keep an identity of being a part of the polis, which, as Foucault explained, inscribed the wounds on the marks and physical footprints of that common space. On the contrary, the hyperconnected citizen can find his expression scenarios

40


P3 - The hyperconnected citizen

from his own domesticity, where through the latest technologies he can do much of everything that before could only be done in the public space: Manifest himself collectively, interact socially, exchange merchandise, share activities, etc. Given this situation, the public space is at the expectant position of changes. On the one hand, the obsolescence of the traditional citizen use fosters a part of its decadence, increases the rates of violence and crime and reduces its symbolic and representative value. On the other hand, the abandonment of the public and identity function of these type of spaces increases the tendency for its privatization and conversion into consumer product, especially appealing to the tourist market. The public space becomes a privilege of the wealthiest fractions of the consumer market, something that in the medium term implies segregation, isolation and inaccessibility for the most disadvantaged communities. The reformulation of the public space Hence it seems urgent to rethink the role of the public space considering the latest technological and social transformations. As applicable to the most of major changes, the same element that leaves an established practice obsolete becomes the actor of the next one, it simultaneously acts as a limit and as a condition of possibility. The case we see is not an exception. On the one hand, new information technologies and new social habits represent a limit to the understanding and the use of public space as it is nowadays established, but on the other hand they represent a great axis capable of articulating new proposals. Some of them opt for a process of optimization and democratization of the use of public space, taking advantage of the real-time data management and the possibilities of the latest smartphone “apps”. It is a set of proposals that rely on the administration of the public space as the main tool to adapt its use to the fluidity and flexibility of the social schemas of the 21st century. Another line of development is to take advantage of the latest augmented reality developments for mobile phones with the intention of turning public space into a great game board, as a great e_s_c_a_p_e_ _r_o_o_m_. Without being groundbreaking, traditionally the public space has been also the setting of games and sports of all kinds, however, through applications such as those of Pokémon Go any corner of the city is susceptible of becoming a ludic stage in which the idea of the route and the interaction is fundamental. Millions of people around

41


10x21 new urban paradigms

the world have traveled thousands of miles on foot, by bicycle, by car or by public transport to fulfill some of the requirements of the game. This type of practice provides certain benefits both physical and mental, while encouraging interaction with other users. However, whether the social relations created in this context are fruitful and persistent is questionable or if they dissolve into an ephemeral and banal superficiality. In any case, the augmented reality apps superimpose a virtual layer above the usual physical structure of the public space that does not have to necessarily respond to the interests of the established authority, as traditionally has been happening in the most representative and monumental spaces. In this sense, these types of exercises constitute a powerful subversive tool that in the future can respond to other urban needs beyond the merely playful ones. We therefore face a wide and diverse prospect of innovative proposals, however it must be kept in mind that none of them have had yet been firmly established or has had an impact of any depth and persistence, though they did establish the clear differences and autonomy of a parallel use of representativeness of the public space in the network, able to substitute it and exercise activities of the physical world. Probably the main challenge for this to happen is no longer a technological or a social type. Still it has become a specifically urban challenge: how to get beyond the established urban habit to adopt other dynamics that would be more aligned with the possibilities and needs of the 21st century. Actually, our understanding and use of the public space follows patterns that are deeply rooted in the habits of the twentieth century, generating an urban environment that appears to us as a second nature that is difficult to replace. At the same time, the speed of changes and its global characteristic allows us to reflect on how we should design the public space of our cities, former spaces of representation and exchange, in an era where these two functions already exist on the Internet?

42


P3 - The hyperconnected citizen

43


10x21 new urban paradigms

by Areti Markopoulou Academic Director, IaaC

Design for Fluxes Augmenting matter and programming performance in responsive cities

Throughout the last centuries we have been building in a search for rigidity. This has of course been related with the notion of security, protection, property and privacy. Stone, concrete or steel structures are first of all incredibly stable, their strongest value, standing beyond parameters of feasibility, accessibility or cost. Today we are experiencing a radical shift in the perception of notions such as privacy, solidity or stability. We are in a constant physical and digital evolution, we work far from where we live, or we live in more than one city or home, with multiple possibilities of accessible and quick communication means between places and people. Technologies are thriving in our fluid times, contributing to our familiarization with unprecedented non-solid environments. At the same time, what comes next for our cities, presented by data and numbers, is a future full of unseen challenges for our society. The urban population is predicted to reach 6.3 billion people living in cities by 2050. United Nations EU Directive and Habitat data estimates that there will be 37 megacities by 2025, 100 million homeless people, and up to 1.6 billion people lacking adequate housing in the world. Urbanization fosters growth (cities are accountable for 70% of GDP), improves productivity opportunities, and quality of life, but at the same time our cities are responsible for an increase in poverty and inequality, while our buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption and of 36% of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in Europe. Our human impact drives us to now experience a massive environmental crisis. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, extreme weather events, collapsing ecosystems, desertification, toxic pollution, sea level rise and blue sky 44


extinction, are part of an extensive list, both protagonists and causes for the historic gathering and climate pact of 195 countries in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change reached at COP21. Does this look like a bright future where to continue building, producing, consuming and interacting based on the same protocols we followed during the last century? From a significant group of architects and researchers perspective, the fluid environments of our cloud era become the appropriate context for exploring novel possibilities for adaptive building solutions that contribute to the energy hungry life and inhabitation style we lead. If the anthropocene (or capitalocene [1]) scenario of human impact requires constant change, if climate mutates, if information “runs” in extreme speeds of bits and bytes, then our human made architecture and built space should be able to change, “run” and mutate rather than just being merely inhabited. Architecture shall, and does move towards the performative [2], the performative instrument [3] or the Alive [4].

Augmented matter Back in the 1950s Alan Turing, a pioneer of computation, stood in front of the communities of science and technology with a fundamental question: Can Machines think? [5] Can we detect a human versus a machine brain? The cybernetic fact of Machines that Think, as well as the concept of the Machine for Living In [6] have strongly characterized the machine age. Today, in the age of knowledge and experience, the advances of cybernetics expand to fulfill our non-stop 24/7 newsfeed, and our need to consume at great speed 45


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and connect our devices to communicate with each other. The Machines that Think then mutates to the immaterial Cloud that defies any precise definition of form and representation [7]. When the cybernetic power of the Cloud couples with advances from the physical world of material science, manufacturing or synthetic biology, this brings us a series of completely new processes and tools for inhabiting our spaces, for designing with the users and for communicating with our peers. Wearables that allow us to experience unbuilt spaces in real scale, building skins that generate energy through our touch and the possibility to download files from the internet in order to print our own house are scenarios that just a few years back were reserved to the world of science fiction. The computed equation, though, of the Machines that Think expands to introduce variables of the physical built space, urban and rural environments. Can buildings and cities think and evolve? Can design predict, define and contribute to the flux?

Co-produced Mixed Realities Let’s have a closer look, for instance, at design examples using computer technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, up until now mainly used and developed in the digital realm of the video game industry. Slowly but surely they affect the physical, when being applied in the design of architectural and urban environments. Both the cost and the accessibility to such technologies have been limited until only a year back (February 2016) when companies like Google have released small and low cost devices such as the the google cardboard [8], transforming any smart phone into a virtual reality engine. Through the BDD Chawls development project in India [9], in an effort of visualizing a series of possible design solutions for the residents of a neighborhood under development in Mumbai, a group of architects use Virtual and Augmented reality technologies as a tool to overcome the impending “language” barrier. Through such immersive experiences, the designers seek to better explain to the residents the possible future designs and program distribution in their neighborhood, asking their feedback and preferences. They eventually create an experience around a mixed reality space, one that overlaps the visualized digital space into the unpredicted physical space. In this case, the architects perform as mediators using the tool of technology as the medium; with the final goal of enhancing peoples’ participation in the design process, avoiding top-down and finalized designs and aesthetics, and searching for

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more dynamic design outcomes that follow the fluxes of changing needs in the specific context. Similar possibilities can be found in the use of the video game Minecraft as a participatory design tool for young people, developed by UN-Habitat [10] in South America, Africa and Asia. The video game allows the player to design 3D architectural and landscape elements through the addition of small cubes, working like pixels in photographs. UN-Habitat intervened in low-income areas, organizing workshops with young citizens, asking them to interact with the digital reproduction of their neighborhood in Minecraft. The players, helped by a facilitator, during 2 to 4 days could design and visualize possible scenarios for their urban environment according to their needs and desires. The different outcomes were then proposed and discussed with local stakeholders. UNHabitat’s research with Minecraft has clearly demonstrated the strong potential of bringing video game digital technologies into the design process of physical space, engaging youth with urban planning and design. In the Superbarrio [11] project of IAACs City & Technology program, a new gaming interface was created as a multidirectional design tool among architects, stakeholders and citizens for the Superblock [12] plan of the city of Barcelona. The interface can be freely downloaded from the internet for any device, thus enabling the participation of all members of the community. “Gamers” are called to choose and position a series of elements in the public space such as greenery, shared mobility vehicles, furniture, markets or energy generators. To demonstrate the impact of these elements on the overall neighborhood, which is considered as a connected complex social system, 5 metrics were introduced showing the variation in accessibility, economy, productivity, ecology and social interaction. Each element placed generates a score and has an impact on the overall score of the neighborhood. This immediate feedback enables more informed decisions from the user, and the game’s goal is to allow designers to be informed on the desires and needs of the users, as well as educating the users on the impact of their decisions in the community. We, therefore, observe a series of novel non-linear design processes, highlighting a significant physical expression of the digital means, and defining fluxes of needs, people, mobility, ecology or economy. We observe the emergence of architects and urbanists who use and develop open games, user interfaces or mixed reality technologies instead of top-down finalized forms and closed plans.

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Such projects primarily report on the affordances of technological means in enabling a participation channel and a territory of unpredicted flows, rather than the specific design decisions. Mixed Reality and gaming technologies contribute to creating new channels of communication with the actual users of projects, and through digital interventions we can better understand their needs and communicate their design interests to the designers and stakeholders. In such novel design processes, high-end finalized aesthetics are becoming obsolete, spaces are conceived as “a kind of scaffold enclosing a socially interactive machine” [13], the model of unique design and unique decision is questioned, and the user is being placed as the protagonist operating the various performances of responsive “built structures integrated with computing power” [14].

Ubiquitous Responsive Matter(s) The design for fluxes challenge, though, is not only limited to the users’ changing needs and desires. It expands to an architecture that responds and adapts to continuous fluxes of the surrounding environment, becoming closer to living organisms, as well as performing as such. It is an architecture that is programmed to perform in the nanoscale of its material consistence, where small changes can have a bigger impact in the built space’s form or operation. Traditional top-down design and construction processes aiming to achieve performance in buildings mainly consist in a series of plugged-in artificial and mechanical systems (insulation, electric wires, water channelling, artificial cooling). In the design for fluxes challenge, those, are being critically questioned by contemporary multidisciplinary research and technological advancements. New materials, synthetic biology, computational design and novel fabrication techniques coupled with responsive technologies are becoming a new field of research for programmable and performative architectural systems. Buildings are, therefore, becoming computers, both performative - on Input/Output Communication protocols - and programmable - at materialmolecule nanoscale -, or even operational, thanks to self-learning genetic algorithms. By incorporating responsive technologies into the structural systems of buildings, architects have the ability to tie the shape of a building directly to its environment or to its users’ needs. This enables architects to reconsider the way they design and construct space beyond purely aesthetic creations. The application, for instance, of active and shape memory materials in architectural

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Fig. 2. Superbarrio gaming interface used in participatory design process in Barcelona Superblock.

Fab City White Paper

structures brings forward the notion of transition in form following real-time data, or the application of graphene introduces concepts of buildings as physical interfaces [15] able to generate, store and distribute energy actuated by the human touch. In the Remembrane [16] project, designers work with shape memory materials, specifically alloys (metals) that are able to “remember” their original shape, which can be acquired again after they deform through the exposure to heat. This active material serves as an actuator on an adaptive lightweight kinetic structure, replacing motors. Designing with active matter opens up possibilities towards designing behaviors in built space that are similar to the biological functions of the human body, outdating concepts of motorized or rigid and static environments. In the Breathing Skin [17] composites expanding hydromorphs have been coupled with controlled systems of water absorption and building physics design, creating passive evaporation, cooling the building skin. Hydromorph, absorbs and retains water, which is evaporates at high temperatures. The final skin consists in cells of which the geometry transforms (from open to close) based on the water absorption and volume expansion property of the material system, allowing to create microclimate in public spaces that due to extreme high temperatures lack any social activity or program. Designing with active matter introduces the idea of form that does not always follow the function, as it is not always predictable, but rather follows the phases that our new built environments can go through in their relationship with nature, humans and existing buildings. We, therefore, observe Buildings that Think, able to change their properties, 49


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to move, expand, shrink and even follow biological performance, such as “breathing”, “sweating” or “filtering” or “digesting”. Buildings that are programmed in their material scale to communicate with the environment and have embedded systems of performance that do not rely on existing urban infrastructure. At a moment of novel intersection and crossing between bits (digital) and atoms (physical), static and fluid, matter becomes ubiquitous: able to self-adapt or to be “built” by anybody that is connected to the internet or an interface.

Design Challenge User interfaces, virtual and augmented reality, smart phones, sensors and actuators, smart materials and biomaterials, advanced digital manufacturing techniques, are not just purely technological products, they are becoming a completely new way of defining what buildings, cities and citizens are (and could be). In an era of constant digital and physical flux, the adaptive built (or non-built) space will become the new ecosystem to inhabit, and it is already questioning principles of longevity, durability, solidity, and even property, or privacy; while at the same time raising new levels of sustainability awareness. In this era of rapid innovation, design once again emerges as the constructive synthesis of thought and action. Without forgetting what the question was, Technology together with Design set the means to redefine architectural and urban design, introducing completely new processes of performance, rather than forming, in architecture and urban design. Physical space seamlessly intertwines with digital and material content, becoming an active agent in the dynamic relationship between the environment and humans. From wearables and design interfaces, to polymorphs and kinetic structures - in an era where everything is on the move - it is certain that the “Machine for Living” and “Form Follows Function” are outdated, giving way to a new bi-directional and symbiotic relationship among nature, humans and built space. Challenging the traditional design thinking, in the age of experience and performance, the question designers shall deal with is, how we can design behaviours and fluxes, and which is, then, the scale of architectural operations.

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Fig 3. Adaptive lightweight kinetic structure using shape memory materials [1] Malm A., 2009, Haraway D., Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin, Environmental Humanities, vol. 6, pp. 159-165, 2015. [2] Kolarevic, B., Malkawi. A. Performative Architecture: Beyond Instrumentality, Routledge, 2004. [3] Beesley, P, and Khan, O. Responsive Architecture/ Performing Instruments, New York: The Architectural League of New York, 2009. [4] Kretzer M., Hovestadt L., Alive, Advancements in Adaptive Architecture, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2014. [5] Turing, A.M. Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind, 59, 433-460, 1950. [6]. Manifesto Vers Une Architecture (Towards An Architecture) by Le Corbusier, 1927 [7], Kallipolliti L., Cloud Crystallizing, A-R-P-A Journal, Issue 02, The Search Engine, 2014 [8] Google Cardboard is a virtual reality (VR) platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for a smartphone. Named for its fold-out cardboard viewer, the platform is intended as a lowcost system to encourage interest and development in VR applications. [9] Markopoulou A., Chronis A., Ingrassia M., Richard A., City Gaming and Participation, Enhancing user participation in design, Paper in: Humanizing Digital Reality, Design Modelling Symposium Paris, pp.225-237, Springer, 2017. IAAC City & Technology, Urban Design Group Fosters & Partners, BBD Chawls, Advanced Architecture Group, 2016 [10] Westerberg P. and Von Heland F.:Using Minecraft for Youth Participation in Urban Design and Governance, UN-Habitat, 2015. [11] IAAC City & Technology, Superbarrio, Advanced Architecture Group, 2017 [12] The SuperBlock consists of an urban regeneration tool that is part of a plan for Barcelona, developed

by the Agencia de Ecología Urbana de Barcelona, within the Urban Mobility Plan of Barcelona 20132018. The plan aims at shutting down two thirds of Barcelona’s roads to traffic, an urgency brought on by the high levels of traffic pollution in the city. Specifically, the SuperBlock consists of a three by three “superblock” grid of Cerda’s urban blocks in which the internal traffic will be reduced to residents and local business related traffic, at a lower speed, leaving the great majority of the city’s traffic to circulate around the perimeter of these SuperBlocks. This intervention allows the development of new pedestrian areas and consequently new spaces for citizens. The first Superblock developed in Barcelona is known as “superillapilot” and it is located in the 22@ Innovation District, the former manufacturing area of the city and today the object of an extensive application of urban regeneration projects. [13] Hobart, S.N. and Colleges, W.S. The Fun Palace: Cedric Price’s experiment in architecture and technology Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research Volume 3 Number 2, 2005. [14] Negroponte, N. Soft Architecture Machines, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1975. [15] Graphene Architecture, IAAC Digital Matter, Italian Institute of Technology, 2016, http://www. iaacblog.com/programs/pro_skin-graphenearchitecture/, last accessed October 2017 [16] Markopoulou A., Dubor A., Chronis A., Won J.J., Silverio M., Alcover J., Remembrane : A Shape Changing Adaptive Structure, Paper in: Future Trajectories of Computation Design, CAAD Futures, 2017 [17] Castro I., Manosong M. , Chieh C., Alkani Z., IAAC Digital Matter, 2017

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New Urban Paradigms

Fabcity Amsterdam Markerspace for urban innovators Fabcity entrance (photo credits: Max Bruinsma)

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P4 - Productive cities

paradigm 04

Image 1. Two men engaged in production at fablan in Barcelona

NETWORKS AND PRODUCTIVE CITIES

Throughout the twentieth century cities have undergone a fundamental transformation: in front of the displacement of the industrial fabric of the suburbs to the generic supply of the industrial polygons of the periphery, the urban centres have stopped being productive poles to become consumption nuclei. Indeed, the great majority of industrial clusters that were stimulating capital cities like London, Paris or Barcelona, have disappeared from their urban centres, leaving them orphaned by the productive capacity that once characterised them. On the contrary, these cities have exponentially grown till, in the beginning of the 21st century, turning into large urban assemblies in need of energy, goods and services. Cities which are incapable of producing nothing but waste after their own consumption, dragging all problems derived from the territorial zoning, such as social segregation, logistical difficulties and environmental shortcomings, which are just some of the problems derived from the productive paradigm inherited from the 20th century. We stand however on the threshold of giving a new

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role to the cities as centres of productive processes, especially in the light of the technological and social advances of the 21st century. If in recent decades industrial production has been a hidden, remote and unknown activity to which consumption was opposed as its public, bright and happy counterweight, today the re-industrialisation of cities seems to make production one of the main urban players again. However, in what sense can we speak of an urban paradigm shift? How can the technological and social advances of the 21st century affect the processes of urban re-industrialisation? How does our present understanding of the industry have to change to allow this to happen? And, above all, what kind of cities emerge from the processes of urban re-industrialisation of the 21st century? Technologies, productive systems and urban planning. About 200 years ago, the first industrial revolution sowed the seeds of what would later be the main characteristics of the productive systems of the twentieth century: mechanisation, generalisation and mass production. In fact, such inventions as the steam engine in 1774, the automatic loom in 1801 and the railroad in 1768, already pointed these characteristics. Accompanied throughout the nineteenth century by the great Spencerian anthropocentrism and especially by the deep Comtian positivism, these technological contributions had already crystallised at the beginning of the twentieth century in a new production system that revolutionised the industry: Taylorism. It based its development on the “scientific management of work”, a protocol that reduced costs based on a strict division of labor, and the one that was later perfected by the Fordism, which was able to equip its workers with the necessary consumption capacity to be able to increase the market. The concept of the production chain was thus popularised, a fundamental element to understand the productive system exemplary to the twentieth century and that would have important implications for the western urbanism. Indeed, following the Industrial Revolution and throughout the nineteenth century the city underwent a major transformation that intensified the processes of urbanisation. In 1800, only 7% of the world’s cities had more than 5,000 inhabitants, while in 1900 that number increased to 25% in the face of progress motivation that the new industrial cities offered. In gen54


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eral, the expansions of the cities took place in a chaotic way, often uniting several urban centres and welcoming urban masses that voluntarily had renounced their rural identity to become consumers of strongly urban ideas, values and goods. This extremely fast urban growth led to the sewerage problems, energy, food and communications, the anomalies the urban consequences of which were the widenings and big avenues that spilled most of the major cities of Europe towards the end of the nineteenth century. These operations offered a clear industrial reading of the cities, in which the mechanisation of their roads, the overcrowding of public spaces and the mass repetition of their blocks led to exemplary ordinations such as the Ensanche de Barcelona by Ildefons Cerdá in 1859, or the Transformations of Paris during the Second Empire, such as the Haussmann Plan of 1852. These types of operations aimed to get away from the labyrinthine grain configurations often characteristic of the medieval city and its handcrafted production based on the idea of a guild, something that tried to be re-formulated without success in the city-garden projects, in order to offer large, open and orderly spaces capable of hosting extremely industrial citizens with their demography, lifestyle and mode of production, also linked to a Population

Image 1. Comparison between resource extraction and resource intensity Data source: http://slideplayer.com/slide/6084927/

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new means of transport: the railway. However, throughout the 20th century, most European cities experienced a series of gentrification processes that changed their role in production processes. The gentrification of the enlargements, combined with the development of a service economy and the emergence of financial capitalism, pushed the industrial fabric towards the peripheries of the European cities, and in a final stage of this dislocation even towards other, much more distant territories as China or India, the regions where production was substantially cheaper for the reasons that everyone knows. This transformation of the late twentieth century has led to the emergence of the extremely populated cities, consuming large quantities of resources and producing large quantities of waste, a combination that is part of the PITO scheme: Product In, Trash Out. It is a phenomenon that in the first years of the 21st century has only increased, and it is not at all exclusive for the European continent, on the contrary, it is being increased to extreme levels in other cities such as Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Beijing, Manila or Mexico City. Urban consumption This situation has led to a series of anomalies linked to the urban industrial model that is increasingly difficult to manage with the productive paradigm of the twentieth century. The recent generalisation of the term “Anthropocene” refers precisely to the increased importance that man has over nature, to the point of being considered as a relevant geological factor. This role has to do with the productive paradigm of the twentieth century, based on a linear and de-localised economy, the attributes of which can be seen in the consumerist vocation of most of the cities today. Indeed, on the one hand, cities are framed in a linear economy by being structured according to the scheme that receives resources and returns waste. On the other hand, cities operate according to the de-localised economy, depending on productive centres away from the main urban consumption poles. This huge abyss that separates production centres and consumption poles causes several logistical paradoxes, as the processes of extraction, manufacturing assembly and consumption occur very often in uneven and not always proximate geographies, thus exponentially increasing the footprint. Irrational routes, unreasonable consumption and territorial zoning are just some of the anomalies that compromise the efficiency of a more and more 56


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Image 2. Fab Labs around the world Data source: https://www.fablabs.io/labs/map

swollen and unsustainable logistic. In addition, it is a protocol that fosters a profile of citizens who ignore the origin of the products they consume, reducing therefore their critical capacity. The commodified city of the twentieth century has become the image and resemblance of the productive paradigm that will find its most immediate limit in the shortage of “natural capital”, not only because of the exhaustion of easily accessible fossil resources, but also because of exceeding the ecological resilience of the planet. However, such technical developments as new manufacturing technologies or cultural values like the recently generalised concepts of circular economy, will also imply a strong limit that will emphasise the contradictions of the established model even more strongly. At the end of the 20th century, this model has made a last-ditch effort to keep up. The Post-Fordism and Toyotism have added some interesting concepts to the system such as Just-in-time production, the Japanese method of five zeros or the multifunctional worker, but in no way have these new developments meant a qualitative change in relation to the relevant models. On the contrary, the production has remained mechanical, massive, serial, linear and de-localised.

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Productive networks At the end of the twentieth century the first signs of a shift in thinking appeared. The Promethean narrative that had advocated indefinite progress since the Scientific Revolution began to be questioned since the Second World War and was openly rejected in May 1968. Some sectors began to realise that the productive model adopted since the first industrial revolution had a limit whose sorpasso could take the planet to the edge of the collapse. In that sense, the founding of the “Club of Rome” in 1968, a non-governmental scientific organisation that denounced a whole series of ecological, sociological and political limits that were reflected in the well-known report “The Limits of Growth “. From there a series of political and environmentalist movements emerged - such as slow food and after that slow city - that placed value on principles of the ecology as circularity, autonomy, network or interaction. Parallel to this process of ecological awareness and conceptual abstraction, the awakening of the 21st century has witnessed a series of technical advances of high relevance for the field of production: The generalisation of the internet, especially the “internet of things”, and the emergence of digital manufacturing technologies have meant a productive revolution framed in the increasingly established Information Society. The spearhead of this revolution consists of a fundamental change of mentality: from a production scheme based on the concept of re-production we move towards a production scheme based on the concept of co-production. In the first case, the idea of “re-production” played a key role in the traditional industry, especially through the repetition of an optimised unit chain. It was also fundamental in traditional craftsmanship, where repetitive manual ability was a sign of expertise. On the contrary, in the second case the concept of “re-production” becomes irrelevant: manufacturing singularity is no longer an added effort thanks to the parameterisation of the digital models and the flexibility of robotic manufacturing. However, what is fundamental is the idea of productive cooperation, though not the one understood in the way of a proletariat distributed along the chain of production, nor in the way of a pyramid system articulated through the guild trinomial “master-officer-apprentice”, but the one that must be interpreted from the complexity of a cluster of entrepreneurs in the network that produce and constantly exchange information. It is a system of flat hierarchy, 58


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Image 2. Minimum and Maximux distance of fish & food producers location that supply Newark’s airport

in which the roles of the process of learning, design and manufacturing are interchangeable and stand out for the autonomy that each subject possesses over his work, despite being nourished and owing its existence condition to the presence of the group. The scope of this new productive paradigm is still undefined. For now, the most relevant case of this system consists of the global network of Fab Labs, digital fabrication centres that are connected through the network and are capable of manufacturing almost anything. The initiative was born in the early twentieth century at MIT in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, and in less than 15 years its presence has multiplied all over the world. It proposes a neighbourhood production model in which five fundamental characteristics that distinguish it from the previous model stand out. First, it is a multi-scale process, in which a local area of manufacture with a planetary scope of design and communication is combined. Second, the concept of uniqueness ceases to be an exception because it can be mass produced: the design objective is no longer just a figure but also a formula. Third, the interchangeability of roles is constant, as the designer, the manufacturer and the customer alternate their roles frequently, something unheard of in the industrial model of the twentieth century. Fourth, it is an extroverted process, with a high degree of global

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interaction, open and very far removed from the guild secrecy proper to other times. Finally, the maker has a holistic view of the production process that allows him to have a high degree of autonomy, both for the ease with which he can access the know-how and for the versatility that he has. However, this scheme emerges from a wider phenomenon. Several authors have proposed the concept of the Third Industrial Revolution to explain the productive change that we are facing. The First Industrial Revolution relied on coal and printing as a source of energy and communication respectively, while the Second Industrial Revolution relied on oil and telephone for such needs. However, the Third Industrial Revolution would base its development on the binomial Renewable Energies and Internet, something that would lead to other phenomena such as smart grid, electric cars and self-sufficient buildings. In addition, in recent years, the implementation of artificial intelligence, nanotechnology or bio-genetics are assuming a step forward in the same direction through the robotization “on site” of a large part of the productive processes. This is an issue with some risks: if the first industrial revolution created the working class, the latest developments in artificial intelligence threaten to create the non-working class, that is, the emergence of a voluminous totally unemployed demographic sector that will need new political responses. Productive cities This productive scenario supposes the possibility of carrying out two fundamental economic transformations: The transition from a linear economy to a circular economy, and the transition from a delocalised production to a localised production. Beyond the citizen generalisation of concepts such as recycling, self-management or km0, it is fundamental to study what are the urban derivatives that this new productive equation suggests: if the productive paradigm of twentieth-century cities has been based on the consumption of resources, stock, and waste generation, it seems that the 21st century can be at the forefront of the productive city return. But it would no longer be a question of the productive city of the medieval city’s trade union production, or of the proletarian production of the industrial city, but of a global, open and networked city operating under the umbrella of a new urban paradigm: From a PITO (Products In Trash Out) scheme based on importing products and exporting waste, we move to a DIDO (Data In Data Out) scheme, based on importing data and exporting 60


Image 2. Minimum and Maximux distance of food producers location that supply Newark’s airport. Image 3. The Paradox

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data. That means that the main element that enters and leaves the city is information, because much of the rest of the products are designed, manufactured, produced, distributed, consumed and recycled through a fundamentally urban cycle. In this sense, it is necessary to understand urban production in the broadest sense of the term “production”, because it is not only the manufacture of objects, but also the production of other resources such as energy, food or knowledge. The urban strategy that underlies this model is that of decentralisation. Such initiatives as Fab Labs are considered as systems of units that are essentially distributive, and precisely because of this they can act simultaneously in the locality and in the global network, reducing practically to a zero the logistic paths and zoning processes of the traditional industry. The urban energy production that is characteristic of the 21st century is also formulated in the similar terms, since on the one hand its potential lies in the buildings converted into the sustainable energy plants, and on the other hand in the intelligent energy distribution networks. In the same vein, the food production strategies have traditionally crystallised in urban garden systems that replicate on a smaller scale, methods that are typical of the rural world: several of the latest technological advances such as aquaponics and hydroponics allow an urban crop to be cultivated with the much more intensive production and above all it is open to all types of environments, both outdoor and indoor. The implementation of all these urban production tools involves the possibility of launching a fundamental change for the city. We are faced with the challenge of designing and managing urban processes that go beyond the simplicity of the linear and zoned mechanisms that have characterised the productive paradigm of the twentieth-century cities. In this sense, the great difficulty will be to know how to synchronise the development of the activities of productive agents in two directions: first, in relation to themselves, and second, in relation to the urban processes of another nature linked to social, cultural and political use of public space. It is an open scenario, in full evolution and with a great journey ahead that will require unprecedented urban approaches to be able to manage in time and space a real ecosystem of performative agents with a very peculiar task: to re-program some urban structures of the 20th century with the productive logics of the 21st century.

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by tomas diez Fab City Research Lab Director, IaaC

Fab City Locally productive, globally connected self-sufficient cities

Image 2. Industrail revolution after 200 years

We need to reinvent our cities and their relationship to people and nature by re-localising production so that cities are generative rather than extractive, restorative rather than destructive, and empowering rather than alienating, where prosperity flourishes, and people have purposeful, meaningful work that they enjoy, that enables them to use their passion and talent. We need to recover the knowledge and capacity on how things are made in our cities, by connecting citizens with the advanced technologies that are transforming our everyday life.

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Image 3. “Three projections to 2100 for waste generation spell very different futures. In the first Shared Socioeconomic Pathway scenario (SSP1), the 7-billion population is 90% urbanised, development goals are achieved, fossil fuel consumption is reduced and populations are more environmentally conscious. SSP2 is the ‘business-as-usual’ forecast, with an estimated population of 9.5 million and 80% urbanization. In SSP3, 70% of the world’s 13.5 billion live in cities and there are pockets of extreme poverty and moderate wealth, and many countries with rapidly growing populations.“Graphic source: Fab City. Data source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development / Interpretation by Daniel Hoornweg, Perinaz Bhada-Tata & Chris Kennedy for “Environment: Waste production must peak this century“published in Nature, October 30/2013 at http://www.nature.com/news/environment-waste-production-must-peak-thiscentury-1.14032 .

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Background For more than 10 years Fab labs have provided widespread access to modern means for invention and production. They began as an outreach project from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines. Fab labs share core capabilities among the almost 1000 labs in operation as at April 2016, so that people and projects can be shared across them. These labs work with components and materials optimized for use in the field, and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management. This inventory is continuously evolving, towards the goal of a fab lab being able to make a fab lab. Since 2001, the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) have collaborated in the development of a new approach to architecture and urbanism by understanding how the use of digital technologies will impact our cities. Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC was the first fabrication laboratory founded in the European Union in 2007, and the home of the global coordination of the Fab Academy program, the fablabs.io platform and the Smart Citizen project, turning it into a world leading lab for the Fab Lab Network in collaboration with the Fab Foundation. In 2011 IAAC, the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, the Fab Foundation and the Barcelona City Council launched the Fab City project at the FAB7 conference in Lima. In 2014 at FAB10 the mayor of Barcelona invited his colleagues around the world to join the Barcelona pledge: a countdown for cities to become at least 50% self-sufficient by 2054. In 2015 in FAB11 at Boston, 7 new cities joined the Fab City project, including Boston, Cambridge, Ekurhuleni and Shenzhen. This year (2016) Amsterdam city is joining the program, and we expect new cities to commit to the Barcelona pledge at the FAB12 conference in Shenzhen, potentially: London, Copenhagen, Paris, Santiago de Chile, and more. The Fab City initiative is open for other cities, towns or communities to join in order to collectively build a more humane and habitable new world.

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Image 4. A multiscalar and complementary fabrication ecosystem. Source: Fab City

Details FAB City takes the ideals of the Fab Lab - the connectivity, culture and creativity - and scales it to the City. It is a new urban model of transforming and shaping cities that shifts how they source and use materials from ‘Products In Trash Out’ (PITO) to ‘Data In Data Out’ (DIDO). This means that more production occurs inside the city, along with recycling materials and meeting local needs through local inventiveness. A city’s imports and exports would mostly be found in the form of data (information, knowledge, design, code).

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The Fab City project will help civic leaders to develop locally productive cities in collaboration with local communities, companies and institutions, revitalising manufacturing infrastructure and incentivising a new economy. Fab Lab and makerspace based innovations could be a source for solutions to connect to real problems in cities, opening opportunities for businesses, research and education through projects. With its inherent zero waste and carbon reduction goals, linked to education, innovation, skills development and the creation of employment opportunities and livelihoods through the relocalisation of manufacturing, the FAB City approach can contribute to achieving a range of city objectives. In this way, the citizens and the city are empowered to be the masters of their own destiny, their resilience is increased and a more ecological system is developed with movements of materials and associated energy consumption and carbon emissions typical of the current economy drastically reduced. In order for this to be possible, the city must be locally productive and globally connected to knowledge, economic and social networks, making cooperation between cities, citizens and knowledge centers the basis of the scientific knowledge. To become a FAB City requires having a more precise knowledge of the way that cities work. The evolution of the project will make it possible to create better systems of capturing and analysing data, developing knowledge about a city, and it will also require the implementation of an evaluation system and detailed monitoring. The Fab City strategy is unique in that it addresses a range of environmental, social and economic objectives (carbon reduction, waste minimisation, relocalisation of manufacturing and work) in a systems approach by harnessing new technology and production approaches. All of this is brought to a practical level, by connecting with the existing Fab Lab Network, a vast source for urban innovations being shared already globally by makers in more than 70 countries and 600 labs. The first city to become self-suffcient - simultaneously increasing employment by creating opportunities through open innovation, and radically reducing carbon emissions by re-localising production - will lead the future of urban development globally.

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Strategies 1. Advanced Manufacturing Ecosystem: Being part of a global network of cities that share knowledge and best practices on urban solutions emerging from citizens, companies, educational institutions, and governments. Local networks of Fab Labs and mid-scale production centers connected to the larger global network of supply chains, sharing knowledge, best practices and projects. 2. Distributed Energy Production: With the advent of domestic batteries and efficiency improvements in solar and other means of clean power generation, energy distribution itself will face enormous changes. Distributed grids will change the role of households and businesses in power, water and resources distribution. 3. Cryptocurrencies for a New Value Chain: Cities creating their own trade markets connected to a global economy, using a multi-currency and value system based on the blockchain and similar technologies. 4. Food Production and Urban Permaculture: Urban farming will scale up from experimental practice to large scale infrastructure. Local production of foods at domestic, neighbourhood and city scales will create a closed loop system for food production and harvesting. 5. Educating for the Future: Incorporating a stronger emphasis on learning-bydoing in education systems and curricula, and engaging all levels of education in finding solutions for local needs through digital fabrication technologies, and sharing them with global networks. 6. Building the Spiral Economy: Reduce the amount of imported goods, food and resources like water or energy. Increase the use of recycled raw materials for the production of objects in cities. Create added value in every iteration of a new product. 7. Collaboration between Governments and the Civil Society: Local government and civic organizations, start-ups, universities, and other organizations must work together in order to make a cultural shift that promotes the empowerment of cities and theircitizens.

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Benefits This initiative offers a valuable economic opportunity for participating cities. It will create new types of jobs and professions related to the knowledge economy and the development and implementation of new approaches and technological solutions. The Fab City initiative will develop a set of associated services: 1. Mapping the existing innovation and production ecosystems in cities. Understanding the existing manufacturing infrastructures, networks of knowledge, initiatives, communities and other organisations that are looking into systems change in participating cities. 2. Establishing metrics to evaluate impact in each participating city. Developing common standards and sharing best practices in terms of local production. A Fab City data dashboard. 3. Developing products that can be produced locally and shared globally. From objects to food, to waste management or energy harvesting solutions. A global Fab City repository. 4. Deploying interventions . Running a Fab City Blockchain amongst the participating cities as a decentralised autonomous organisation. 5. Articulating with other groups of interest and networks. Fab City is not the only initiative looking into the future of cities, we aim to build bridges with existing research and initiatives that for years have been contributing to developing a better understanding of the urban living. 6. Organising a yearly event at Fab Conferences and complementary events in differentcities of the world.

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Image 5. Global connected production. Materials stay within accepted distances in cities and regions, information travels on how things are made. We share the recipes of how to construct our world. Source: Fab City

Conclusions A concerted and coordinated response must be made to reimagine how, where and what we make if we are to live harmoniously within the bounds of the planet’s resources. We are proposing a model for cities to be resilient, productive and self-sufficient in order to respond to the challenges of our times and to recover the knowledge and the capacity to make things, to produce energy, to harvest food, to understand the now of matter, to empower its citizens for them to be the leading agents of their own destiny. We have a unique opportunity to build cities from the ground up by synchronising philosophies, visions and objectives together with existing distributed innovation ecosystems, to consolidate and nurture a knowledge based economy that has been developed during the last decade around open source innovations, digital fabrication technologies and distributed digital networks in Fab Labs, Makerspaces and open communities. We want to create a global database of recipes on how things are made, from what and why. The Fab City is about radical transformation, it is about rethinking and changing our relationship with the material world, in order to continue to flourish on this planet.powerment of cities and theircitizens.

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CITY METABOLISM

Image 1. Renaturalisation exercise

The apparent dichotomy between nature and city has been one of the biggest urban debates of the twentieth century. Traditionally presented as opposite, the study of the interrelationship of these two notions has embodied many of the most representative urban projects since the Industrial Revolution, although none of them have proposed a radical integration between both concepts. However, there is a germinal link between them: the city owes its origins precisely to nature, and in particular to its domestication, since it was nothing else but the predominance of agriculture that allowed the nomadic societies to settle down and give birth to the first proto-cities. Throughout the 20th century, the urban reading of the natural event oscillated between aesthetic interpretations and hygienic interpretations. In both cases, it did so given the understanding of nature as a true mother nature, harmonious, total, balanced and perfect, only disturbed by the human being and his presumed irresponsibility. A nature that in the end claimed to be a secularised version of the Garden of Eden and often referred to as green ecology. 73


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However, at the beginning of the 21st century and parallel to a series of innovations in the field of biotechnology, this conception has been transformed. We are becoming more familiar with a more operative and manipulative nature, an agent that is openly imperfect in relation to our needs, and that we can alter at our convenience thanks to the capabilities that the latest advances in biotechnology provide us with. It is an understanding of nature very close to that of a continuous culture/nature which finds its place in such recent expressions as Dark Ecology or Grey Ecology. In this context, each time it seems to be more evident that the role of nature in the urban contexts cannot be reduced to a mere contemplative activity. On the contrary, it has the potential to appear as a performative agent capable of altering urban parameters such as temperature, humidity, co2, oxygen, water quality, etc. In addition, the increasingly intimate integration between nature and urban settlements allows cities to be understood as a true metabolic organism: they are not reduced to inert structures but behave as processors and condensers of energy, food, raw materials and information. This is a completely new scenario in urban design, that although has not yet consolidated firm alternatives to the protocols of the twentieth century, appears to be a fertile and promising field. Nature of city history The idea of a “performative” nature integrated into the urban fabric has a long historical and geographical trajectory. The Roman law was probably the first legal body to establish and demand such a relationship: only those families who possessed a certain number of acres of land could be considered as the ones belonging to the Roman community. Otherwise it was considered that any such family could not be autonomous, and that incapacity reduced their rights as citizens. In fact, the etymology of the word “hortus” as Roman law interprets it up is very similar to that of “private fencing”, and far from having a rural character it is fully associated with an urban context. The Middle Ages also witnessed similar practices. In several European cities and in small walled towns, the presence of cultivable green space in their interior was considered essential. The reason for that was to ensure on the one hand the daily production of food in times of crisis, and on the 74


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other hand, to resist the frequent sieges that the settlements of the Middle Ages often experienced. The strategic importance of these agro-urban spaces was noted and promoted by such governors as Charlemagne who promulgated the “Capitulare de Villis” in 770: that was a scope of guidelines and prescriptions for articulating urban gardens and suburban farms in the main settlements of the old kingdom of the Franks. Thus, the separation between “urbs” and “rus” was a conceptual rather than a real limit, an ideological tool to separate two realities with the intention of not creating contamination between two different worlds, each one ruled by very particular laws. This balance was radically altered with the arrival of the Industrial Revolution. The deterioration of living conditions in rural communities combined with the beginning of the fast urbanisation changed Europe’s urban and demographic landscape in just a few decades. In England, after the implementation of the “New Poor Laws” (1834), the construction of more than 615,000 hectares of community gardens was financed, especially in the suburbs of the industrial cities such as London, Birmingham and Liverpool. In fact, at the end of the nineteenth century, the Industrial Revolution raised public spaces from a new perspective. These were conceived in opposition to the terrible conditions of work existing in the industries and to the ill health of the agglomerated working districts. Closely linked to the public space, the notion of green space was constituted as an ideal instrument for the promotion of health and urban well-being. Later in the twentieth century, the need to have public green spaces within the urban fabric for hygienic, social and aesthetic reasons was established. However, the arrival of the two world wars and the urgent necessity to provide the troops with the food supply at the front placed urban green spaces in the productive sphere once again. The agrarian industry proved to be insufficient against such a company and several British cities had to reconvert their quiet green spaces into the food production machines. Such campaigns as “Dig for Victory” or “Garden Front” promoted the use of public parks, soccer fields, industrial yards and royal gardens as real urban food factories. However, the arrival of the Welfare State and the generalisation of the lifestyle in the second half of the twentieth century reduced the role 75


Image 1: NDVI analysis for Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Newark Data source: Peter Magnusen and Jonathan Irawan

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of the nature in the cities to a basically contemplative role once again. Indeed, beyond the aesthetic and psychological benefits of nature, in the last decades its presence in urban environments has lost the operative and productive vocation that it had enjoyed in other occasions. On the other hand, the segregation and zoning of the modern urbanism of the twentieth century has prevented a much more holistic reading of the city, approaching it as if it were a closed element rather than a metabolic organism. Operative nature In the West, nature has traditionally been understood as a “mother nature”, a harmonious, balanced, kind, beautiful, total and perfect nature, only disturbed by human beings and their technical artefacts. An approach that in Zizek’s words would be nothing more than a secularisation of the Garden of Eden, in which nature would have maintained a divine air that from the end of the century would have been ideologically embodied in the concepts of Ecology and Sustainability, above all in its most radical and fundamentalist aspects regarding the human activity. In this sense, both are presented as an unquestionable authority, they include within them the notions of punishment and sin, define moral values, obstruct alternatives and, above all, they often appear as a remarkably reactionary force at the disposal of any justification against progress. In any case, we are no longer faced with the “mother-nature” we described previously, but with a “techno-nature” that besides being operative, is also easily manipulated, imperfect, catastrophic and holistic. We move from a green ecology towards what in certain circles is known as a dark ecology, an expression in which the meaning of the word “ecology” has been expanded to include also technological and human agents. Indeed, the activity of these agents also has huge natural consequences: beyond the global warming and the sea level rise, humans can produce important natural disasters much faster and inadvertently. A good example of this is the barrier that the Chinese government built in Yunnan: as was demonstrated years later, it was responsible for the great earthquake that struck its population in 2014. Since the end of the twentieth century, a relationship of continuity between human beings, technology and nature has begun to settle. They have 77


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Image 1: NDVI analysis for Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Newark Data source: Peter Magnusen and Jonathan Irawan

ceased being independent agents and have come to share the same space in which they establish a network of horizontal interrelationships. In this sense, in the last years this trend has been accentuated until crystallising in a continuum of nature-culture where it seems to be more and more difficult to establish differentiations. One of the main causes of this phenomenon has to do with the progress of biotechnology: the cloning of the Dolly sheep in 1996, the complete development of the human genome in 2006 and the creation of artificial DNA in 2016 implied important advances that take place every ten years regarding the understanding and especially the manipulation of the phenomena that were considered exclusive to the nature. There are many socio-cultural derivatives that have taken place

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with respect to these three advances: Stelarc works of art, especially ExtraEar in 2007, the case of Neil Harbison and his Eyeborg in 2005, the rise of the auto-fabricated or elitist prosthesis, as in the case of Pistorious, the first bacterium synthetically produced in 2010 by the biologist Craig Venter, the multidisciplinary exhibition “Alive: New Design Frontiers” (2013), and finally all the advances produced by the combination of the nanotechnology emergence and the development of neurology, with some fascinating examples such as the first robotic arm moved with the mind in 2016 or the first head transplant planned for the end of 2017. Urban opportunities One of the great challenges of the 21st century urban planning is to propose an urban interpretation that would be capable to be aligned with a conception of nature that has nothing to do with the vision that prevailed in the 20th century. In this sense, the idea of re-naturalisation of the contemporary city can follow several lines. The most important idea in understanding the city as a metabolism consists in approaching it as an open body in which the natural environment, the infrastructures, the public space, the information and the inhabitants are interdependent and appear as a whole. Between each of these agents there exists an exchange of matter, energy and information, the study of which allows to establish forecasts of the raw materials demands and the impact that their use has on the biospheres. Far from the functional separation of the Modern Movement, the proposed scheme bases its potential on the operational aliasing of each of the systems exposed, extending the traditional scope of the concept of ecology to assume also technological and human agents. Thus, cities would no longer be seen as inert structures. On the contrary, they would be interpreted as great processors of resources in close relation with the nature that would no longer act as a “context”, “container” or “environment” to respect, but as an agent to cooperate with and in the same shared space.

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by vicente guallart Valldaura Labs Director, IaaC

The self-sufficient city Whereas urban design in the nineteenth century added value to agricultural land though its development into urban land, the regeneration of the city that began in the twenty-first century aims at the amelioration of urban land by making it self-sufficient. Being self-sufficient makes sense because cities can be more resilient in the face of potential global conflicts, and local communities are empowered to decide their own future. Selfsufficiency for people and, as a direct result, for their communities, is based on their ability to produce food, energy, and goods on a local level. In the case of goods, digital manufacturing is the paradigm by which distributed production, in the context of cities, will be possible. Recycling materials should also form part of the new self-sufficient economy. When it comes to energy, any place in the world can produce the energy necessary to continue functioning, using the appropriate technology and drawing on natural resources found in the immediate environment, including air, water, and land. When considering food, in the majority of cases cities have the water and nutrients necessary to cultivate the foodstuffs they need; they do, however, need physical space, in which to do so, which can normally be found nearby. Therefore a new metabolic layer needs to be added to the physical structures of cities as a way to internalize the management cycles of a city’s resources. Telecommunications networks now allow us to access nearly any piece of information produced by other human beings, which, if the process is properly managed, can produce knowledge.The internet has changed our lives, but it hasn’t yet changed our cities. How will cities and habitats be able to extract knowledge from the network and produce resources locally in the new society that is emerging within the information age? Cities and the human habitat are the reflection of the culture of each era.They use knowledge and technological advances to

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create the most effective living conditions from an economic, social, and environmental point of view, using the resources within their reach in a rational way. But now we live in a world of cities that in many cases are already built. How can we add value to our cities? Rather than adding informational layers on top of an obsolete city, new ways of organizing urban space should be promoted, featuring functional hybridization and ways of dealing with mobility that make cities more efficient from a structural perspective.The internet should not replicate the life of cities as we know them now; it should allow for their reengineering. First, however, we should define the anatomy of cities as a shared, common foundation on which to operate Cities should not simply consume what industries offer them but should be able, as a collective, to produce the essential elements for global urban progress. Similarly, they should define new models for good governance that break away from the traditional siloed approach that has been used to govern cities until now.This new model will allow for the integration of the resources necessary for urban regeneration into a unified vision and into different projects. Cities are not merely a physical manifestation of the societies that inhabit them; in the face of deep changes in the economic structure of society, cities should be physically transformed, taking on new economic roles and new social relationships on which they are based. Citizens cannot simply be spectators of their own lives but must be leaders of their future.To make great changes in cities, specific projects must be developed that initiate the transformation toward a new future and define plans that play themselves out in the coming years and allow for the global transformation of a city. Small-scale projects can give meaning to strategic plans.This is how we work in Barcelona, a place where we have defined a new mantra for the transformation of our city that speaks to the work that is being done to become a city made up of productive neighborhoods working at a human speed within a 81


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Air

Environment

Soil Water

Biomass

Mineral

Mineral Petroleum

Structure

Biomass

Mineral

Gas

Infrastructures Goods

Communications Network

Water Cycle

Energy

Food

Matter Cycle

Mobility

Nature

Built Domain

City

Object

Functions

House

Living

Working

Building

Block

Shopping

Neighborhood

Leissure

District

Health

City

Education

Metropolis

Performing Arts

Country

Continent

Sports

Earth

Security

Economy

Interactions

Culture Data In/Out

Information

Platform

City OS

Citizens

Society

City Ontology

Open Data Performance

Applications & Tools

Visitors

Person Family Organization Business

Government

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City Anatomy : Vicente Guallart, Francesc Giralt, daniela Frogheri, Fernando Meneses, daniel Ibañez, Rodrigo Rubio

hyper-connected metropolis. A useful model incorporates the best aspects of life in small cities and the best aspects of urban density and the dynamism of big cities into an information society.This is also why we develop projects on all urban levels that allow for the transformation of the city on different scales and at different speeds. The information society’s economy is oriented toward the management of services more than the sale of goods. For this reason, projects such as the Sagrera high-speed train station have changed the traditional model of “issuing” zoning permits in certain areas, when public administrations need resources to fund themselves, to defining a project in which the activities are connected to the mobility of millions of passengers; the associated services can create a large part of the resources necessary for financing the project. The Plaza de las Glorias, the central square designed by Ildefonso Cerda but never built, will become a new type of urban space where all of its parts, both


mineral and vegetable, will be fused, which will guarantee the flow of urban mobility and the connectivity of the network of green spaces that can be found throughout the city, promoting the re-greening of the whole city, starting at its heart. In Glorias, the urbanization process of the last large-scale square in the city will help to define a new model for urban spaces. And from this point on, the transformation of the circulatory system of the city—including a new orthogonal bus system and a “super city block” system that will set aside more public space for pedestrians in a structural and systematic way—will begin. The city of the future will be a metropolis of neighborhoods rather than wealthy enclaves with immense peripheral areas that are built up independently. Or at least that is how it should be. And to achieve this, a system of public buildings, services, and spaces such as schools, libraries, and open markets must be defined and, in most cases, integrated into hybrid buildings that are constructed to provide a service as well as help give an identity to the local communities that make up the city. Nevertheless, it will be the city blocks, the buildings, and the architectural scale that will include the use of new materials and techniques in their designs and thereby contribute to the definition of the new scale of the city through the transformation of old buildings into productive structures that create exchange networks for energy, water, and the resources between them and the other buildings in the area. Moreover, when a building cannot be built in an area, this space should be open to public access in collaboration with the city’s town council and social organizations, much like what occurs in the “Pla BUITS” (plan to designate urban brown spaces for territorial or public use) in Barcelona. In Barcelona, urban self-sufficiency is fueled by projects such as Fab Labs that bring about innovation and local production in the neighborhoods of the city that, along with large industries, will allow for the development of Fab Cities. Or by urban agriculture on the outskirts of the city, urban gardens, or rooftop gardens across the city that promote growing food for one’s own consumption. Or even self-sufficient buildings and the centralized cooling and heating networks that will allow the majority of the energy that the city consumes to be produced locally in the decades to come. All of these projects and scales come together on multiple transversal planes that can most clearly be seen in the interaction between information networks

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consumes to be produced locally in the decades to come. All of these projects and scales come together on multiple transversal planes that can most clearly be seen in the interaction between information networks and the main urban service providers that are integrated along the concept of the “internet of everything” for public spaces in cities. We live in a world of cities. Nowadays, beyond the necessity of having a physical plan that is based on a social project for cities, we must also create govern- mental structures that allow this to be possible. In Barcelona, we have created the Habitat Urbà (Urban Habitat) department as a way to integrate, under a unified project and management structure, the urban planning, housing, environmental, infrastructure, and information technology sectors. Scientific and technical knowledge must also be brought together to make this all possible. For this reason, new open global networks of knoledge, should define new standards based on a consensus among experts, so that the collective progress for cities around the world can be sped up. Overall, cities need to have a long-term plan to know how to act in the short term.Transformative ideas need political leadership to become possible. The administrative machinery of the cities and states have been created, selected, and trained to manage but not to innovate.Today, however, within the last crisis period, changes in cities are imperative for them to survive. The twenty-firstcentury cities should be about transforming their current productive model, which only transforms goods into waste along a linear metabolism. And finally, and most important, all those transformations need to be done through plans and projects where design plays a principal role, for them to become part of our culture and transcend historically.

Based in Article first published at “New Geographies 06 Grounding Metabolism” . Editors: Daniel Ibañez & Nikos Katsikis Harvard University. Graduate School of Urbanism

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Image 1: Mexico City Arial view

HYPER REGIONS AND SLOW CITIES

The exponential growth typical of the cities of the twentieth century has positioned the biggest cities of the globe as one of the main players of our demographic development. In this sense, the humanity has seen in cities its lifeline, although there has always existed a contradiction: the virtues of the great metropolis were hardly compatible with the characteristic benefits of rural life. Indeed, on the one hand, cities densify the territory, encourage interaction, enable rapid and efficient movements of people and goods and concentrate economic, political and cultural flows. As a consequence, the size of the urban centres increases until reaching a scale of a regional type: the Hyper-regions. On the other hand, its distressing pace and speed, its high pollution levels, the collapses of internal mobility and the lack of proximity of basic services are inconvenient compared to the rural environments where these things do not occur. All that led to the proliferation of so-called slow movements, and the notion of slow cities in particular, converting this duality of interests or demands in both senses into the true contemporary urban paradigm. Therefore, the main urban challenge we face is to be 87


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able to superimpose both these necessities in one and the same urban reality. This reality is not proposed as a unique or bicephalous element, but as a mixed entity capable of articulating the abysmal difference of times, speeds, scales and dimensions that mediates between the hyper-regions and the slow-cities. Can we go to the airport by bicycle? Can we densify the large productive poles in terms of housing? Can we radically combine different speeds in one and the same urban phenomenon? Ultimately, can we design the cities that would simultaneously respond to the both scales? Regional city scale Many of the biggest cities on the planet such as Beijing, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Paris or Mexico City have throughout the 20th century reached a regional scale reached throughout the 20th century a regional scale, the result of the demographic and economic development that in turn has fuelled the territorial growth without precedents. Traditionally, the territorial scope of the cities was limited by their location close to the routes that could have commercial links to other regions. Since the main means of mobility were on foot or on

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horseback, the distances between the settlements had to be small, the fact that was constraining the territories with large settlements. However, the emergence of the Industrial Revolution represented a radical change: the increase and the improvement of the means of transport through interventions such as the steam engine contributed to the fact that many territories ceased to be remote and inaccessible, and that few and small settlements based on them were able to connect with the other cities and to expand thanks to their incorporation into the markets. This was especially applicable to the cities producing coal and other minerals, as well as those trading cotton, stone, wood or ceramics. They began to grow rapidly because the steam engine served as a commercial link and propitiated the development of the old cities and the emergence of the new ones. One of the consequences of the accelerated and mostly chaotic growth of the cities was the differentiation between an established center and a series of surrounding neighbourhoods. In these neighbourhoods the new coming bourgeoisie were settling, that unlike the courtier class did no longer base its power on a supposed blood nobleness, but on the economic opportunities provided by the possession of the production means. These means of production were in turn located even further on the outskirts of the cities and consisted of factories and heavy machinery industries the surroundings of which were quickly occupied by working-class neighbourhoods. Throughout the twentieth century, this model of growth persisted with some variations, especially in Europe and the United States. The emergence of the large financial centres densified certain urban areas in an important way, the expansion areas and large avenues unified urban centres that originally were independent, and the green spaces were revealed as fundamental to soften the roughness and ill health of the working districts. The historic center ceased to be the “geometric” center of the city, and during its inexorable expansion absorbed the surrounding populations and settlements. In any case, the urban spot of the western city continued to grow until reaching the regional scales, and in this sense the proposed geological limits ceased to be an obstacle to the virtually unlimited extension of the cities all around the world. In this respect, most of the inhabitants of Europe and the United States have been living in large urban agglomerations for decades now, whereas during the 20th century much of the rest of the world continued to inhabit rural environments.

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However, in the last third of the past century that situation begun to change, and several countries situated within other contexts are experiencing the accelerated urban growth. China, India, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and some African countries are good examples of that, and while in Europe the population growth has remained fairly stable in recent years, in the above-mentioned countries the acceleration has been dizzying. There are cases such as Nigeria, the population of which is going to multiply in the future and much of it will live in the cities. Lagos, for example, had the population of only 300,000 in 1950. This figure reached 13 million in 2015, and it is expected to surpass 24 million by 2030. One of the consequences of these demographic accelerations and their inevitable regional expansion is the necessity to respond to a series of demands of the territorial scope, such as managing speeds, times, distances or scales, which is typical for hyper regions and for a global territory made up by multiple interconnected mega-cities.

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Image 1: Historical London. Street intersections of the city cores of London as defined by the condensation threshold from 1786 to 2010. Data source: rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/12/111/20150763

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P6 - City Metabolism

Slow City In contrast to an increasingly fast-paced, frenetic and hyper-active urban world, the slow movement became a cultural turning point in the end of the twentieth century. Its agenda is broad and diverse, but its common denominator is to question the principle according to which “faster is always better”. On the contrary, the slow movement claims the importance of doing things in the best possible way instead of the fastest possible way, and most importantly, it puts the quality above the quantity. Although it first appeared in Rome in 1986 in protest of the opening of a McDonald’s restaurant, this movement is not limited to the concept of “slow food”, but covers other areas as different as “slow fashion “, “slow gardening”, “slow goods” or “slow media”. The field of urbanism is no exception: its discipline has also received “slow” approaches, mainly through the trend “Cittaslow”. Founded in Italy in October 1999, it aims to improve the quality of urban life through 50 criteria structured in three main areas: resist the cultural homogenisation of the globalisation, respect the environment and promote a healthy lifestyle. Thus, in the context of the modern world made up of the cities that vibrate under the premise that time is gold, the slow movement celebrates the value of contemplation, such as the value of enjoying our daily routines in a quiet and peaceful way. Going to work by bicycle, walking, or talking with one’s neighbours are the activities that should be recovered and kept because of their ability to increase the wellbeing of those who practice them, and in no case these activities should be marginalised as if it were a mere waste of time. It is therefore a compliment to the slowness that can be very attractive to a citizen of London, Moscow or Beijing. In the face of traffic jams, noise, asphalt and haste, the “slow city” proposes a pacification program in search of more habitable spaces. In order to officially be a Cittaslow, there are several requirements to respect, among them the necessity of not exceeding 50,000 inhabitants and comply with a manifesto of 55 criteria. In this sense, the case of Ferrara is paradigmatic: despite meeting all the criteria established by the movement and having practically as many bicycles as inhabitants, the fact that they exceed 50,000 individuals makes it impossible for them to receive its official recognition, portraying the scale limitations of this movement and its difficulty to explain or assume the contemporary urban conditions.

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Many slow cities into one hyper region The real challenge for the urbanism in the 21st century is not to dream utopianly of converting the huge metropolis of the planet into the slowcities, as some more radical groups from a redemptive and fundamentalist ecologism seem to wager, applying to the arguments from the neo-populist perspective very active nowadays in the European cities, but to superimpose these two urban realities in different speeds and scales, organising demands of the opposite sign of the society while offering the solutions that use the buffers of each model in the search of compatibility. If cities have become the predominant habitat of our century, we must work to reconcile the speed, interaction, and density of the hyper-regions with the sustainability, human scale and health of the slow city. The challenge is not easy: while slow cities base their value on the notion of “proximity”, hyperregions stand out for their value of inter-connectivity as a node, because of their ability to link to the other nodes, even the ones located far away. The proximity involves walking or cycling, reduced distances, low speeds and little or no pollution. It also implies producing in the same place as consuming, and establishing affective bonds with one’s immediate environment enabling the rewarding, persistent, unique and rich in stable identities contact. On the contrary, the hyper-regions manage a completely opposite but complementary scale: if we speak of the mobility, large airports, maritime terminals or train stations connect us with any part of the world in just a few hours. The hyper-regions handle high speeds, they have ecological impact, and the displacement does not generate great interference in the territory that they cross, in general these are anonymous spaces, flat and neutral, places where the optimisation of flows prevail the ones possessing an eminently technical and expeditious vocation. On the other hand, the intra-urban movements are timeconsuming, massive and often motorised, indispensable and tiresome. Combining both realities consists above all in solving a problem of the synchronisation and of the circular economy: one of the keys to connect one reality with the other is to be able to understand the different tempos, paces and speeds in order to foster their coexistence, and especially to identify entry points establishing a value chain around the model, the same way as in the economy. An exercise with these characteristics would imply rethinking several of our habits in the context of this new challenge: How can we participate in the virtues of the hyper-regions based on the slow city positions? Or vice versa. The aim is to identify hypotheses that arise from understanding the anomalies

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P6 - City Metabolism

Image 1: For the first time in history there is more people inhabiting urban spaces than rural spaces

of the model, and in the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia we have studied different scenarios, such as the most archetypal cases of the cities like Newark in the Metropolitan Area of New York with the urban structures of the slow cities scale while concentrating at the same time huge leading infrastructures of a hyper-region, such as the international airport. Would it make sense to make a check-in directly at an urban train or bus station, with a direct access to the runway and the plane? And why would we need an airport, when we just need a runway? Or why should we keep increasing the commercial areas of the air terminals in parallel with the reduced to a minimum waiting times while boarding if it would not be necessary to concentrate them all just to distribute them after that? Finally, why should we keep multiplying the transfers to the airport with private cars or taxis in the huge concentrations with pendular and obligatory routes, generating traffic jams, pollution and waste of time and money? In general, it is about understanding of how a strategic dialogue can be established between the key elements of the hyper-region with some characteristics of the slow city lifestyle in order to achieve a plural, complex and connected urban reality. It is precisely this ability to articulate different approaches is the one that the urban sciences of the twenty-first century are interested to study, with a particular focus towards its immediate application to the major cities of the globe and taking advantage of economies of scale to benefit the society.

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by xavier prats MONNÉ Directorate-General Health and Food Safety European Commission

Health and the City The world’s cities are getting bigger every day. So are its citizens: obesity has increased tenfold in the last 40 years. In fact, most of the challenges of today’s health care systems - from the unhealthy lifestyles of the young to the chronic diseases that come with ageing - are intimately linked with the relentless urbanisation of human societies. Europe’s cities are not the megalopolis of emerging economies; they offer some of the highest levels of health in the world - yet, strikingly, this privilege often depends upon what side of the tracks you live. Consider this: a few years ago, the London Health Observatory produced a model showing that if travelling east on the London subway from Westminster, every two Tube stops represented more than a year of life expectancy lost; life expectancy in Oxford Circus is 20 years longer than in Bow Church. Or take the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands: people living in the upmarket area of Noordoost can expect to live for 72 year is good health, whereas in the more down at heel Overwecht neighbourhood people enjoy only 60 healthy life years. Paradoxically, just as these inequalities persist, the overall health outcomes of Europe’s cities are improving year on year. “Health at a Glance Europe”, a report we presented in November last year jointly with the OECD, found that the life expectancy of European Union (EU) citizens increased on average by a striking six years between 1990 and 2014, from 74.2 years to 80.9. Yet, as London and Utrecht illustrate, between and especially within countries large inequalities in health and life expectancy persist, particularly between people with higher levels of education and income and the more disadvantaged. Simply put: in large cities, poor health outcomes and short lives are mainly linked to the relatively large number of low-income people with a low education, who tend to live in social housing in the least attractive neighbourhoods and have substantially shorter lives than the highly educated. The evidence that social disadvantages have several negative impacts on health is strong and clear. Firstly, low incomes lead people to live in unhealthier homes - damp housing,

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noisy locations with high levels of air pollution. Social disadvantage may also lead to social stress, in turn leading to mental disorders and unhealthy lifestyles. Obesity rates – probably the greatest health challenges of the XXI century - are far higher among poorer people that among the more affluent. Similarly, there are significant differences in levels of self-reported health, years spent in good health and, indeed, life expectancy. Box 21% of European adults with low education are obese, as compared with 11% of those with higher education. Just over 60% of people in the lowest income quintile report on average across EU countries being in good health, while it is nearly 80% of people in the highest income quintile. In spite of their poorer health, poor Europeans have lower access to healthcare: they are 10 times more likely to report unmet medical needs for financial reasons. For cities as well as for the public purse, these persisting social and health inequalities translate not only into human suffering, but also into productivity losses and high health and social welfare costs. Last year, 550.000 Europeans of working age died prematurely due to the preventable chronic diseases that occur most frequently in urban areas; that means 3,4 million work years were lost, which represents 0,8% of the EU’s GDP. And the effects of inequality are not confined to the poor: they also affect the wider population. For example, in Sweden, a relatively equal society, death rates in its lowest occupational classes are lower than they are in the highest job tier in England and Wales, where social inequalities are greater. This means that, even though the effect of inequalities is felt hardest by the poor, in countries with the greatest social inequalities - even when the GDP is similar, the health of the whole population is negatively affected. It seems likely that this observation holds true also for cities – and I hope urban scientists will seek new evidence on this. So London and Utrecht are neither outliers nor oddities: they are a stark illustration of the health inequalities stemming from disparities in income, education and living standards, and from unhealthy lifestyles. But twenty years of life are a high price to pay for inequality: what us to be done? It doesn’t have to be like this: with seven out of ten Europeans living in cities, urban sciences should become the key to better lives. We need to take concerted action on health and its social determinants, to give all city-dwellers the same chance to live a long and healthy life. Health promotion should be a priority in

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urban governance and planning, at national level. And the EU should live up to its commitment under the UN Sustainability Goals to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”, seize upon the opportunities offered by the European digital single market to ensure that Europe’s cities can benefit from innovative digital health solutions. The question is how to achieve this new paradigm for health and the city. As a starting point, we should avoid looking at health in cities solely in terms of the organisation and delivery of healthcare: that’s like placing an ambulance at the bottom of a clifftop rather than building a good fence above. While health services certainly play a key role in citizens’ health, and while we need to ensure the effectiveness, accessibility and resilience of health systems in cities as in the whole country, we will be more effective if we turn cities into hubs of health promotion. To this end, in addition tackling common risk factors such as smoking, harmful alcohol consumption and poor nutrition, we should explore how to shape the built, social and natural environment in cities to foster better health. These, and other factors such as public safety, noise and air pollution, have a critical impact on the health of a city’s population. And tackling these factors is not the exclusive task of architects, doctors or city planners: it can only be the result of a collective effort of is intelligent, inter-disciplinary urban science. In today’s complex cities we don’t have the leisure of simple policies. But we have a fairly good idea about the way to address these worrying health gaps in our cities, and big data and eHealth carry the promise of more efficient care provision and better management of complexity. For ex., the World Health Organisation’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, led by Michael Marmot, has recently underlined the need for urgent and sustained action, at global, national and city levels in order to close the health gap between population groups and achieve greater equity in health. Work within this initiative has identified four evidence-based actions that have shown to reduce the impact of social rank on health:

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Is there an economic incentive for cities to focus on health? Definitely yes. It’s true that not all countries have devolved the responsibility for health promotion to local levels – but even without strong formal powers, cities have a social and also economic interest to invest in health, if only because the economic returns from improvements in health can be so large. For ex. the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions concluded last year that removing housing inadequacies across the EU, or at least improving them to an acceptable level, would cost around ¤ 295 billion at 2011 prices. This is a small price to pay: even if all necessary improvements were done at once, the cost would be repaid in 18 months due to projected savings in healthcare costs and better social outcomes. So improving health and health equity in cities entails integrating health considerations into urban governance and planning. This has two straightforward policy implications for cities: first, the need to consider the impact of urban policy decisions on the health of the population, and focus on decisions with the biggest impact on social, occupational and lifestyle related behavioural determinants of health. Second, the need to implement universal health promotion with a particular focus on those with the highest needs and vulnerabilities. Policy makers then need to take a step back and consider whether measures will reduce or worsen health inequalities. Cities are progressing at vastly different rates, so actions need to be tailored to specific conditions and needs. But there is no shortage of policy guidance; the WHO, for ex., has outlined the key areas for investment to improve health in cities: Better urban planning for healthy behaviours and safety, e.g. infrastructure that fosters physical activity, and accessible and affordable healthy food; Improved living conditions in cities, e.g. better homes and housing conditions, less noise and air pollution; Participatory urban governance, e.g. mechanisms that enable communities and local governments to work in partnership to build healthier and safer cities; Inclusive cities that are accessible and age-friendly; Health promotion, starting with children, e.g. collaborating with the education sector to improve health literacy and knowledge about healthier lifestyles such as good nutrition and physical activity; Effective, affordable and resilient health and social services, e.g. universal access to healthcare and improving efficiency through digital health solutions. 97


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Can the EU help its citizens and cities with the right incentives? Yes, within the boundaries of its limited legal powers over local authorities; at the European Commission, we support cities across the EU in many ways, for example: The EU urban agenda provides a framework for cities to collaborate and take action on specific themes. The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC) brings together cities, industry and citizens to improve urban life through more sustainable integrated solutions, such as applied innovation and better planning. Cities can receive co-funding from the European Structural and Investment Funds (2014-2020), one of whose objectives is to support measures to reduce health inequalities. Within its new “State of Health in the EU” cycle, in November this year the Commission will provide country-specific health profiles for the benefit of national policy makers with an evidence-based analysis of national health situations and challenges, produced with the expertise of the OECD and the European Health Observatory. A Joint Action on Health Inequalities under the EU Health Programme involving most EU countries and including a work package on “Healthy Living Environments” starting in 2018, assessing situations, identifying good practices and building capacity for policy initiatives to improve health equity in Member States. Importantly, we are about to present a policy initiative on Digital Health and Care with the aim of supporting the modernisation of national health systems, pooling evidence and triggering research and investment in digital health, and helping people manage their own health. In Europe as elsewhere, social and economic inequalities are growing; they are a source of discontent, arising from disparities in income levels but also from inequalities in social participation: exclusion from working life, segregation of groups in separate neighbourhoods and groups experiencing stigma. All these trends are most visible and sharpest in cities: they are also a major challenge for the future of cities themselves. This is why the reduction of inequalities – including health inequalities - should be, in my view, the leitmotiv of urban sciences in the XXI century.

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P7 - World of Cities

paradigm 07

Image 1: World of cities, NASA image

WORLD OF CITIES

One of the main debates related to the governance is how to find out what is the most appropriate territorial resolution. In other words, what should be its geographical scope? At what scale should we put the minimal unit of governance? The answers to this question have varied a lot throughout the history, going from the fine-grained proposals such as those of the primitive tribes or the Greek Cities-State, towards the solutions of lower resolution like the great empires or the global utopias. Half way between the two scales of governance, the modern time proposed the duality of State-Nation, and in the last century this model was the primary one. However, the strong urbanisation process experienced during the 20th century and the global scale that many of the issues involve, reveal the great paradox we face: we deal with the practical problems typical of the 21st century with the political instruments proposed in the middle of the seventieth century. Thus, if the nineteenth century was the century of empires and the twentieth century was the century of States, the political horizon of the twenty-first century begins to outline the city as the main player of the world’s political events. Therefore, it is a return to the Greek “polis”, but neither in the same 101


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way nor in the same form. And most importantly, this is a great opportunity for the design, management and governance of the urban event, in a society that increasingly demands participation, but that does not have neither the tools nor the information and the knowledge of the complex rules that regulate our cities. Planetary issues The Nation-State as a political instrument was born in the treaties of Westphalia Peace signed in 1648 and that ended the Spanish War of 30 years and the German War of 80 years. Those provisions transferred the feudal sovereignty legitimised in the concept of inheritance to the national sovereignty legitimised in the concept of nation, and the territorial extension based on the wish of its ruler to the territorial extension limited to the extension of its nation. Thus, the foundations of the State-Nation duality were fixed, although that political instrument in fact did not begin to be minimally respected in Europe until the end of the World War II. Although the State-Nation formula has been considered by many historians as a substantial progress at the ethical and political level compared to its feudal antecedent, today its relevance in the global political landscape has been diminished, opening a series of questions with this respect: Why has the NationState lost its relevance as a political instrument? Why is it viewed by its citizens as an entity without sufficient authority in front of other political and economic entities? And most importantly, why can’t it face the main contemporary challenges? There are, broadly speaking, two lines of argument that justify this thesis, and they are articulated around the same axis: the scale. Firstly, the Nation-State is usually small in size and its interests too local to face the issues that have taken on a planetary scale since the end of the 20th century. Global terrorism, refugee crisis, international economy, climate change, mass tourism, etc., the problems that go beyond the borders of the States and that cannot be solved by the specific action of a State or by the sum of decoordinated actions of several States. A very illustrative example of this phenomenon is the recent and long-awaited agreement between the United States and China to reduce their CO2 emissions, which correspond to almost 45% of total emissions. Although this agreement is necessary, the result has been discouraging because of its more than evident insufficiency. On the one hand, the reduced figures are still very high (16.4Tm 102


P7 - World of Cities

of Co2 per US citizen compared to 7.4Tm of Co2 per European citizen), and on the other hand, their credibility is quite limited given the lack of firm commitments and considering other experiences of doubtful success such as the systematic breach of the Kyoto protocols. The states are highly concentrated in their local, territorial and internal interests, therefore the alliances that can eventually be woven regarding the global issues are rather weak and ephemeral because they do not produce immediate domestic benefits to the states. Something similar happens with the confusion with which the latest cases of global terrorism have been approached internationally, and especially regarding the European management of the refugees problem, an issue where an absolute lack of coordination between the European States has been revealed with respect to the extent of its borders’ rigidity and impenetrability. Secondly, the scale of the Nation-State is too big for democratic participation that would seem significant and stimulating to its inhabitants. Indeed, between Energy GDP

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the administrative structure of the State and the day-to-day of an average citizen sufficient distance exists there exists a sufficient distance so that its political action is not perceived as a relevant one. More often there appears an impression that the structures of the State have been detached from the social base that empowers it, and in this sense, it seems difficult to understand, what type of local and immediate feedback can the political, social and economic demands of the citizens have, beyond the possibility of going to vote every 4 years. It seems clear that one of the greatest difficulties of the duality State-Nation is its scale: on the one hand, it is too small to face the planetary challenges of the 21st century, and on the other hand, it is too big to represent a political structure that is close to the citizen. In this context, many voices from different areas suggest that a framework consisted of a series of interconnected cities could be formed as the most appropriate political instrument for the twenty-first century. But why should cities be chosen to assume this role? Why cities? There are several reasons for proposing the city as the most relevant governance scale to the global and local needs of the 21st century. First, the cities concentrate the majority of the world’s economic flows, approximately 80% of them. Second, they are home to more than half of the global population and are expected to reach 2/3 by 2050. Third, they are the main source of cultural, social and political assets that shape our society, which explains why 75% of the information produced comes from the urban area. Fourth, its ecological relevance is as high as unfortunate: up to 70 percent of all the global pollution has occurred in the cities. And finally, they have a socio-cultural element that singles them out: they are not frayed and constrained by the national and state disputes regarding the sovereignty and nationalism, something that allows the interaction between them to be much more effective. But most important, the city allows the citizens to perceive and apply the values of participation, collaboration and community with much closer results than in the Nation-State. Thus, and after the transition from the Greek “polis” of Pericles towards the Nation-State of the Westphalia Treaty, there is a political return to the “polis” as the main democratic institution. However, the “polis” of the 21st century should no longer be a cast of monads as in Ancient Greece, 104


Image 1: World Terrorism 1970-2015 Data source: http://www.datagraver.com/case/worldwide-terrorism-1970-2015

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P7 - World of Cities

but a network of cosmo-polis. A fabric of urban activity poles that constantly interact in order to respond to the migratory, tourist, economic, energy and business systems that in addition to being multiscale are nowadays rhizomatic and transversal. To this effect, we already have institutions such as UCLG (United Cities and Local Government), the C40 that assembles the 40 most important cities in the world, or the Global Climate Pact of Cities (2010) that are responsible for providing an infrastructure institutional framework through which to settle agreements, treaties and inter-urban projects. The city has a central position in the contemporary political, economic, cultural and demographic landscape, and therefore any alteration in its functioning has the potential to propose deep transformations. This is also a great opportunity to redefine our political horizon, going beyond a technocracy that in many cases seems to stab in the dark without knowing very well where to direct its instruments. The case of the Smart Cities companies is very significant. After raising and exalting a series of apocalyptic forecasts for the planet without future, a cutting-edge technology as a redemptive agent is proposed from its departments, under an elegant umbrella of the Smart Cities that has already become a trend. It implies a biblical rhetoric that however has Attacks Wounded

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Image 1: Global risks interconnections map Data source: https://www.zurich.com/en/knowledge/articles/2017/01/global-risks-interconnections-map

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P7 - World of Cities

a serious disadvantage: when we review its urban competence, we don’t find in its vocabulary such fundamental terms as space or public transportation, health or education, accessibility and infrastructures, the common assets that are privatised and developed by the multinational agents with evident - though legitimate - economic interests. The question is what kind of intelligence does my city need? And not the one of what intelligence do they offer to me. That is the question that Barcelona asked thus creating the first international group of municipalities for the intelligence and information management in the urban environments of a public nature, the City Protocol Society. It is no coincidence that the cities with the fastest growth in the world, do so in the surprisingly similar way given absolutely different conditions, within the regimes of low democratic value, in the environments with structural and historical inequalities, or with the economic or technological wealth: from Beijing to Tokyo, through Rio de Janeiro or Manila, humanity has identified the city as a place of the potential salvation, a space of multiplication of opportunities, even in the worst scenarios. In this context, it seems appropriate to pursue again the “polis” of Pericles, but not only as a successful urban densification and a relevant scale of governance, but also as a democratic paradigm. A Parliament of mayors A change of scale of governance as described above not only implies the necessity to recognise the figure of a mayor, a mayor of the metropolitan scale rather than of a municipal one, as a political agent that has both the maximum authority and the maximum proximity in the same time, but also to modify all the organisational chart that supports it. In this sense, several theorists such as Benjamin Barber, Don Tapscott or Richard Florida have proposed the need to constitute a Global Parliament of Mayors, an institution that above all serves to connect and coordinate the urban policies. Now, it is a voluntary network of the political representatives that is not yet empowered to act in a legally binding way, but rather to discuss and identify the best practices in the urban management, to enact model ordinances and to advocate for more effective urban policies. In addition, it seems crucial to count with a municipal team of administrators 107


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who in contrast to the state’s agents are forced to be practical, empirical, much more approachable and less dogmatic in terms of ideology in order to face the present challenges. There are many recent examples of the problems to which the municipality has responded better than its national counterparts, and what is more important, where they have shown a much more open and receptive attitude towards the experimentation. It is true that the implementation of such an organisation would entail a new layer of bureaucracy, offices, departments, etc., which are precisely the slow and hierarchical tools to be avoided. However, it must be considered that the challenge now is to create an inter-urban cooperation platform. Ultimately, it is about the global parliament of cities, an initiative that through the mayors and the other urban political agents must interconnect urban problems in order to articulate the coordinated responses. In fact, the physical encounters take place once per year, while during the rest of the year, the council meets through the virtual platform developed by the GPM (Global Parliament of Mayors) itself. This platform allows the decision-making and the exchange of information among the members of the cities, through the debate and the discussion regarding the series of proposals coming from the mayors themselves and from the urban networks of participation formed by the civic and private sector agents. It is evident that the new information technologies enable and foster this model, not only within its own organisation, but also, and fundamentally, in the capacity of connectivity with the society itself in an immediate and massive way, for the decision making in the urban environments of the increasingly participatory democracies. In any case, the goal of this type of initiatives is very clear: it is about being able to make decisions of a global scope that will be implemented in the local context. In contrast to the limitations of the States that are each time conditioned further by the national issues and slowed by the rigid and bulky bureaucracy, cities appear as a fresh, relevant, agile and efficient political tool able to face the global challenges of the 21st century.

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by Giovanna Carnevali

International Programs Urban Sciences Lab, IaaC

How to make cities more attractive? The last presidential elections in the United States and France mark a very clear socio-political phenomenon in which the rural votes of each country face the votes of the cities. These results reflect on the political and sociological idiosyncrasies that cities have acquired in the globalized world. Cities currently contribute about 80% of global wealth, and population growth is exponential. Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, London, New York, New Delhi, Moscow, Paris, Milan, Hong Kong are examples of cities claiming for themselves the role of hegemonic urban agglomerations over the countries in which they belong. Nowadays, there are opposing trends: while in Asia, Latin America and Africa “fast development cities” such as Lagos, Maputo, Delhi, Lahore, Brasilia, Jakarta, Wuhan etc ... are multiplying in Asia, Latin America and Africa ... (Europe Mayors Statistics, 2017), in Europe we are living a phenomenon of “compacting cities” where the tourism boom and massive migration of Middle Eastern countries is influencing the economies of cities, competitiveness and social inclusion. However, despite these enormous differences on the future of cities on different continents, the effect of globalization leads to common problems: common minimum denominators linking cities together in networks to find common solutions that can improve citizens’ and environmental life. Climate change, the global phenomenon of urbanization, rapid transformations of the transport and logistics system, the unstoppable technological development of computer systems applied to cities and their citizens are the most obvious thematic axes of globalization that cities have to face. It is inevitable that in a “world created by a global city system” it is important 110


to address these issues in a systematic way and to exchange good practices that have been beneficial to the urban environment. At the same time, when addressing global issues, cities are simultaneously experiencing the phenomenon of flattening, that is, of homogenizing their services, infrastructure and perhaps in general terms, also to guarantee similar qualities of life for people. As urban populations grow, pressure on leaders increases to maintain the distinction of their city, attract qualified businesses and jobs, and remain flexible and adaptable to change. The phenomenon of “Smart cities” develops a logic based on “bottom up approach”, where the citizens have the possibility of creating self-organizing collective dynamics of services in the cities. Uber and Airbnb are examples. At the same time, the technologies applied to the cities and managed by the public administration generate a huge collection of real-time data comparable with other cities. Information exchange programs between cities such as the “City Protocol” include under their umbrella projects such as “Internet Society”, which seeks to define a governance of city models that allows the unification and standardization of ICT as a transversal element that generates synergies and cooperative knowledge between different areas that have so far worked to serve the cities independently, in order to obtain greater efficiency of public services and to improve environmental sustainability, while offering more opportunities for individuals and companies. The arrival of “Digital Age” transfers the society and the economy of material goods to intangible goods. A new global economy is settled with services that generate added value and employment. Generations like the Millenials but as well previous generations foment a change of working system where the traditional physical site of work is disappearing thanks to the fact that we can “telecomunicate” in real time from anywhere in the world. If on the one hand the phenomenon of globalization leads to being hyperconnected and controlling our systems of lives through technologies at all scales, on the other this phenomenon favors the “customization” of free time and, perhaps also, this allows to increase the interpersonal quality of life. So if the tendency is to work “deferred” from headquarters and to offer more and more services in the networks, are there any differentiating elements that make global cities more attractive to “global citizens”? 111


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The city understood as local cultural heritage and differential lifestyle element is very important for citizens. Being able to decide where you live is a key element in defining quality of life. Increasingly, social media applications such as Instagram, SnapChat or even the veteran Facebook include “geolocation” as the main element. Being able to share with the world the location of our photos and the important moments of life is synonymous that it is important in which city we are and that we have chosen to be in one place more than in another. Photos are usually taken at strategic points that reflect the local culture (important squares, monuments, significant buildings and places, and / or parts of significant public spaces.) Through “Google Maps”, Google gives the opportunity to create the own “CV MAP” based on the location itself. This application allows marking the places where it has been, where the map is lived, indicating the position and the tasks that we carry out. Donate a cosmopolitan view of a person’s profile to the companies. Part of the appeal of cities is based on climate; food and geographical location are some of these discriminating factors for “decision making” choice. But, fortunately, they are not the only influential elements. Foundations, organizations, human resources consulting and major media (for example the World Economic Forum, Forbes, the Economist, Mercer, European Commission, World Cities Forum etc ...) classify every year the cities with the highest quality of life classify them by thematic axes. The most recurrent are leisure, tourism and culture. Cities define and define it, with the aim of highlighting and increasing their attractiveness to improve their economies. Since 1985, the European Commission has launched the European City of Culture project (later transformed into the “European Capital of Culture” in 1999), conceived as a method to bring European cities and citizens closer to each other thanks to the growing cultural and socio-cultural impact - economical thanks to the large number of visitors it attracts. Since then, this project has been applied to many countries, such as China, the United States, which annually announce the cultural capital that is best ranked for its efforts in urban and cultural transformations.

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The Local Urban Culture is one of the factors that generates more attachment and magnetism and links both tourism, leisure with culture. History teaches how local culture is at the heart of urban development evidenced by “cultural landmark”, heritage and traditions. Without culture, cities as vibrant living spaces do not exist: they are merely a mass of concrete and steel construction, prone to social degradation and fracture. It is culture that makes the difference. So, is it possible to integrate culture into existing urban strategies? Unesco, for example, has intensified its efforts to promote the role of culture in the process of urban development related to poverty reduction, gender equality, social justice, disaster risk reduction and quality of life through conferences and debates on tangible and intangible heritage, including addressing global issues such as the massive impact of tourism and migratory waves. Improving the habitability of cities depends on linking culture with transformations in the physical and social infrastructure of the city. In cities, buildings and also social and cultural practices come together and produce meanings of Local Urban Culture. Spaces between buildings, streets and public spaces are other examples of the power of cultural relations to create forms and forms; and also maintain the potential to disrupt and fail in communities where they neglect to achieve the holistic notion of culture and the built environment. Within this local cultural urban vision there are other very important challenges to be covered: the challenges of social innovation in cultural production and the new roles of both public and private institutions that produce culture in the city. Will they be able to stay current within urban changes and create those differentiating elements to make cities more attractive?

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P8 - Real Time Data

paradigm 08

Image 1: BIG TIME BCN is an interactive map of Barcelona that highlights the age of urban plots contrasted with the city’s architectural heritage Data source: http://www.300000kms.net/big-time-bcn/

FROM URBAN RATIOS TO REAL TIME DATA

When Ildelfons Cerdá invented the term “urbanization”, he named an urban resource whose value does not merely consist in its capacity to respond to the social, technological and economic context of the industrial society in the 19th century. On the contrary, it also consisted in its ability to anticipate the characteristic needs of the twentieth century. This virtue enabled the scheme of the Catalan engineer to overcome the majority of requests set by the 21st century with certain confidence, even though the social and economic context was completely different. However, the development in recent years of the informational society initiates some considerable and unforeseen questions regarding our urban future. It pushes the limits of resilience applied during this last century in the scheme of Cerdá, mainly in those cities where the growth has been exponential. In any case and without any doubts, the perspective of our urban future poses many contradictions and paradigmatic anomalies: until the present day, the future of our cities seems to be reduced to a discussion between two models that crisscross their paths each time with more frequency. On the one hand, we inhabit a traditional city: complex, historical, prescriptive and subject to multiple 115


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political ups and downs. On the other hand, it is an automatic city that lies before us: smart, hyper-technified, sponsored by large technology-related multinational companies and legitimised by the comfort, security and self-sufficiency that it supposedly gives us. In the territory that intercedes between both models a great debate emerges. Ultimately, the challenge is systemic: How can advanced cities overcome the post-industrial model of a city that cyclically enters into crisis and that is based on consumption and an obsolete post-war welfare system? Throughout the 20th century, the post-industrial city has based its development in intensifying and optimising modern processes: zoning, specialisation, commercialisation, etc. In this sense, its operative is mostly based on informational ratios. It is therefore an accumulative system, within an industrial logic of the stock: the city stores large amounts of data that is organised through a hierarchical vertical system. The valuable result of this are ratios, on which all the chain of knowledge and experience accumulation is based on, and regarding which all the simulation models for the critical decision making are executed. However, with the possibility to collect and process in real-time huge quantities of information, new technologies are organising an alternative model. This model is not based on the accumulation of knowledge, but on the horizontal circulation of data that is being instantly updated. We move from the stage of data accumulation towards the stage of data replacing. The question now is not how do we move from one model to another, from the city of the nineteenth century based on the statistics towards the post-industrial city model with computerised and digital mechanisms, but what is the systematic urban change that enables these social, technological and economic transformations. What would the design be of a street from which we receive small amounts of binary data every three seconds? How can we understand a city that no longer reacts through a discrete system of standardised responses but instead responds with a flow of hyper-specific updates? Will we be able to design an urban habitat that no longer trusts in the prevalence of the physical world as an informing and informed tool, but that relies on something that flows, producing new information that overlaps the previous one? It is indeed an urban problem, but above all is a problem of design, whose answer should lead us towards new urban dynamics instead of producing a simple

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computerised covering of the old urban scheme. Probably one of the most significant urban objects to illustrate this is the traffic light. Its emergence in the middle of the nineteenth century in the history of the railroad and its subsequent development and standardisation with the generalisation of the Ford T represented a deep change in the way of organising the city: in the first place, it enabled an organised circulation of vehicles, and in the second place it obliged the pedestrians to regulate again their urban behaviour. However, after more than a century brimming with transformations and discoveries, the traffic light paradoxically remains as a fundamental element of the city regulation, symbolising the most characteristic attributes of the modern time: standardisation, mass character and repetition. It represents the model of data accumulation already referred: the common traffic light does not consider the specific and random circumstances of a particular situation, but acts according to the major urban mobility patterns “accumulated” Yellow Taxi Yellow Taxi Uber

UberLyft

Taxi Trips in a Day-Real Time Data

in a Day-Real Time Data

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Image 1: Taxi Trips in a Day Real Time data Data source: http://www.businessofapps.com/data/uber-statistics/

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during the last years. These patterns are the result of huge stocks of collected information based on which we can identify statistical and operative patterns. Today this method seems to be threatened: for some years now, we have the capacity to produce in a massive and cheap way the necessary technology to organise urban mobility within a system of self-organisation. This is not an entelechy: today we can dissolve the traffic light within the city through technologies like GPS, Bluetooth, “NeverLost” o similar applications, applying the same logic as when we dissolve a sugar cube in a cup of coffee. Indeed, rephrasing Neil Gershenfeld from the MIT Media Lab, the sugar cube would no longer be next to the cup of coffee, representing the model of intelligence concentration in an external element, but dissolved in the coffee itself in tiny quantities, representing a distributed and internalised intelligence model. Information becomes synthetic and interconnected data. In any case it is crucial for the urban design area to highlight the spatial consequences that these transformations could have in cities. We should ask ourselves: does it make sense to keep the traditional urban episode represented by the crossroads and the pedestrian walkway if there are no traffic lights? For Cerdá it was crucial to understand how a tram moves in the city of 1850 in order to outline the urban morphology of the Eixample in Barcelona and propose the Xamfrà. Following his example, what would be the morphology of a city that operates without traffic lights and that process real time data? Currently, there seems to be a consensus that we are moving towards a much more flexible city model. However, we have a technology that, despite being efficiently applied to some post-industrial disciplines, still hasn’t been massively applied to an urban environment. Paradoxically, it is no longer a matter of technological development - as it has been for many advanced proposals such as those of Archigram or those of the Japanese Metabolists. On the contrary, is a matter related to the field of urban design. We need to understand how the urban implementation of the market technology can be applied in order to produce a systemic change in the metropolitan functionality. So far, when this problem has been approached in a specific way, generally the choice has been towards the “generic” as a key concept: The urban space design would imply outlining a neutral space, flat and minimal, that would overlap all types of activities in one and the same place without disturbing each other’s needs. It would be about 118


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Image 1: Airbnb Locations in year 2015 Data source: http://www.inatlas.com/inatlas-presents-big-data-based-on-location/

planning generality to achieve flexibility. However, the paradigmatic thinking would lead us towards the exact opposite thing: the constant flow of up-to-date information provided by the new informational technologies permits us to release ourselves from all what is “generic”, uniform and imprecise, to get inside all what is extremely specific, nominal and temporalized. This is a much more sophisticated register, that allows two main actions. On the one hand, it permits us to optimise urban processes. On the other hand, it permits us to no longer comprehend the urban individual of the 21st century as a standardised citizen who lived in the post-industrial city in the end of the twentieth century, and to begin to treat him as the private and hyper-connected citizen who lives - at least on some level - in the intelligent city. Smart Cities; this is an expression that is in a process of critical metamorphosis, and where of course much of the discussion consists in understanding which part is the “Smart” and which part is the “City”, that is, which part of this system is developed following the dispersed “bottom-up” logic and which part

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follows the centralised “top-down” logic. Within the first logic, the citizens have the possibility to create self-organised collective dynamics, as in the case of Uber, Airbnb or similar. Within the second logic, there are public institutions that take control of the processes through entities as the City Protocol Society. On the other hand, the most disciplinary debate is focused on the understanding of how do we move from the notion of urbanism to the notion of urbiotics or urbanetics. It seems logical that according to our ability to advance in the implementation of urbanetics in this new type of urban design this inevitably leads to other needs: smart materials, automatic building systems, prescriptive regulations, open software, etc. These are the inputs that will undoubtedly be transformed into driving forces for a new era in the advanced production industry. In fact, carefully observing the evolution of the application of production lines in the industry, we can see how they are using sensors with more frequency. Sensors have a crucial role in this process: they produce measure of distances, colours and textures in order to be able to perform with precision. In some case, they can even take decisions on their own. Is very common to find this type of technology in production lines of any industry. Moreover, it has been progressively exported to other spaces. One example of it is the case of the logistics transport in the port of Rotterdam, where advanced technology is used to control the position, displacement and stack of large containers. For many years this technology can be found in the domestic sphere. In this sense, advanced packaging technology of small industries has been scaled to the size of large port containers, in the same way as the software used in the pit-stop of the Formula 1 has been scaled to the emergency strategies of the hospitals. The smart transportation of the freight containers is based on sensors and color readers that enable platforms to read bar codes This implies that these mechanisms have the capacity to read, measure and take decisions based on data. In restricted or controlled environments such as those of an industrial warehouse, a port, or an industry, the application of intelligent systems that operate in real time with a certain level of initiative is already a tangible reality. Everything is based on simple robotic mechanisms equipped with sensors. The challenge seems to be clear: how do we apply this knowledge to the urban scale in order 120


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to face complex and dynamic environments with human interaction? Although it seems that one of the main limitations that we can find today is the speed of response of some of these mechanisms, we already begin to see some applications such as the Google driverless car that reacts in real time. Ultimately, it is about implementing a series of technological capacities in our urban objects. This is the world we face from the perspective of urban design in the context of real-time data: the internality, the specificity, the localisation. Other disciplines, at other scales, have for a long time used all types of data transmission systems in real time and have completely transformed their way of work. A very illustrative case, beside the productive system described above, is that of the sociology: it has included in its methodology of work the use and the analysis of all kinds of social networks for years, revolutionising the research systematics that has now been established as a discipline. Without a doubt, urban design stops cannot be executed in the same traditional manner when we incorporate real time data as a fundamental parameter for our project. In this sense, one of the main points consists in understanding the city as an operating system. In the first place, it operates with a series of inputs that it receives through several mechanisms: on the one hand, through sensors scattered throughout the urban territory and providing the system with data on traffic, temperature, CO2, noise, waste and much more. On the other hand, through mobile applications that provide relevant data on citizens’ wishes, desires, concerns and expectations (Uber, MeetUp, Endomondo, etc.). In the second place, the operating system must classify, translate and interpret this whole amount of data in order to finally offer a series of outputs in real time. At this point, a new scenario of citizens’ urban behaviour seems to be necessary. Transformations such as those pointed out require not only a certain technology and a determination of the urban design to be implemented, but also a process of training, adjustment and legitimation from part of the citizens. In this sense, one of the aspects that turns the city into an entity that differs from the other mostly technical fields such as the above-mentioned production or distribution areas, has to do with the social and cultural inertia it generates. It is about the inertia that is not only crystallised in the form of a very specific 121


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and deeply settled urban behaviours and habits, but also in the form of an imagination that acts as a horizon of the urban comprehension for the citizen. Thus, any approach that seeks to reduce the transformations that we work on to a problem of a technological type or of a simple urban design will fail in its implementation because it ignores the fundamental dimension of the citizen: the notion of the urban habit and the emotional, social and cultural link that it generates with its space. In this sense, it seems obvious that the urban changes that would imply the generalisation of the driverless car or the dissolution of such an element as a traffic light, cannot be carried out without a parallel process that handles the questions of the sociological nature: the changes will only occur if they are widely absorbed by the new urban culture. In any case, this reflection underlines an issue that has to do with the economic model in which we are now. Nowadays a fundamental change is taking place in this aspect: Each time it is less a question of paying to have, but it is about paying to use. In this sense, the informational generalisation in real time is basic, because it offers rather ephemeral services, hosted in the cloud and meant for a certain period, with the intermittent presence and the constant use instead of selling the products with the constant presence and the intermittent use.

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Thus, it would be interesting to think that the type of business model that has accompanied the traditional urban development and that has played a key role in the rise of the real estate bubbles can also be altered with the emergence of the information city. The progress of the urbanetics as a discipline that combines urbanism and robotics could develop a new type of business model linked to the city, and that would not only research new products for a new market, but would also generate the urban welfare on the basis of providing the services and the expertise. Clearly, the economic cycle of the market economy within the capitalist system will need obvious adjustments: the job market that has maintained the welfare state is under the compulsory study - How do we imagine that this apparently innocuous and positive world of real-time data will affect the life of the millions of people in the terms of work, taxes, or retirement system? The transition of a city model that intermittently accumulates knowledge towards a city model that continuously updates data has therefore two characteristics that make it especially interesting. On the one hand, it has the capacity to represent a qualitative or a structural change and not merely a quantitative or a rate-related one, and on the other hand, it is about a cross-sectional or a multidisciplinary change and not purely a longitudinal or an isolated one. Therefore, a great opportunity in terms of urban design is now opened: we can design the city not only thorough physical dimensions but in the context of an open operating system.

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P9 - Urban Forms and Multidimensional Plan

paradigm 09

Image 1: Multidimensional Plan

FROM URBAN FORMS TO MULTIDIMENSIONAL PLAN

Representing the city is not a merely descriptive exercise. On the contrary, its mode of execution has always been symptomatic of a certain approach towards the urban phenomenon, that is, of a particular discourse on the city. In this sense, the first Babylonian representations, the urban plans of the Imperial Rome, the Baroque perspectives or the axonometric representations of Modern times, appear not only as guiding tools, but above all as firm representatives of specific urban readings. The urban positioning that each of these documents contains, to a great extent depends on the socio-cultural and technological situation of each era. The emergence of the informational technologies of the 21st century has allowed to analyse and manipulate the urban flows with much more precision, allowing the transition of an urban system based on the idea of accumulation towards an urban system based on the idea of circulation. Therefore, time has become a fundamental parameter and the current urban representations can hardly exist without it. In fact, previous models of urban representation were generally static models. Today on the contrary, the representation of the city implies first of all the 125


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representation of urban flows in its movement. We moved from urban documents towards urban records. And urban records not only require dynamic documents in order to be analysed. They also require the hyper-specificity that real-time-data can provide with the sensor technologies of the 21st century. We would therefore be facing the necessity to find new ways of representation. We need new models that would require some other types of qualities, such as enabling certain interaction with citizens, developing the third dimension of the traditional plan, or moving from the notion of representation towards the notion of simulation. It is therefore a problem that is closely related to the new urban readings of our century, not only in relation to its content, but also in relation to the format of communicating them. In this context, a new question arises: How should we represent the urban phenomena of the 21st century? Urban representation The pair “form / content” has traditionally been understood as a dichotomy, as a pair of opposites. However, and despite belonging in fact to different natures, their separation into watertight compartments does not correspond to the reality. On the contrary, both maintain certain relations of complementarity with each other, since there can be several “forms” for the same content and vice versa. This phenomenon is very evident when we analyse different ways in which societies have represented cities throughout history. In this sense, the different applications of conical and axonometric perspectives are especially emblematic. One of the most obvious examples of the first case has to do with the use of the perspective in the representations of the gardens of Versailles during the reign of Louis IV. Although the perspective had already been used in some of the Egyptian paintings and even in the Middle Ages, the process of technical perfection that occurs during the Renaissance permits its correct application in the Baroque context. If the French monarchy of the seventeenth century stood out for absolutism exercised by a single individual, in this case the “Sun King”, it seems logical that the representations of its domains use the perspective, especially the central one, as the principal mechanism of representation. Indeed, perspective is a resource that allows one or more objects to be represented on the flat surface. But above all it does so with the relation of 126


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Image 1: Carlo Ratti visualisation

the position of a certain subject. This “personalistic” nature of the perspective makes it especially suitable for functioning within the culture framed by the absolutist power of one single individual. The monumentality and the symmetry of these types of documents are the most significant representatives of the era where the idea of “composition” was the leading one. However, the case of the axonometric perspective reveals some completely different attributes. It is difficult to understand its boom without the continental positivism of the nineteenth-century, and above all, without the scientific spirit of the French “Belle Époque”. Already in his “Receuil” at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Jean Nicolas Louis Durand surprises his students with the approach of the scientific nature towards the architecture, and gives little or nothing to the metaphor and the subjectivism. The French architect works within a rigorous representation through the ground plan of several buildings drawn with the same scale. Although this does not yet include any axonometric perspective itself, he stands out because of the important abstraction, precision

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and universality of his drawings. Yet the first who will systematically use the axonometric perspective as a representation mechanism will be Choisy in his fundamental work “History of Architecture”. Due to its great abstraction and apparent neutrality, attributes that are perfectly coherent with the prevailing positivism, the axonometric perspective was incorporated as one of the principal mechanisms of representation of the modern architecture, and by extension, of the modern urbanism. One of the most emblematic examples of this type of representation is the project of the Ville Radieuse of Le Corbusier, that went up on the tabula rasa formed by the ruins that the war had left in several European cities. The project’s successive representations in the axonometric or almost axonometric perspectives emphasise the concepts of mass repetition, universality, neutrality and scientific objectivity of the twentieth century. This leaves aside the leading role of the idea of “composition”, typical of the Renaissance and the Baroque, in order to emphasise the notion of “position” and the importance of such modern typologies as “campus”. The importance of the notion of “time” in the 21st century The emergence of information technologies and especially the rise of the ability to manage data in real time has opened a new field of work in urban design. The determination to analyse, manipulate and propose urban flows is closer and closer to be crystallised in a series of designs whose fundamental value lies in the ability to manage values of hyper-specificity. Indeed, the possibility of constant informational updates permits it to circulate in flows rather than to be accumulated in ratios. This means that each update overlaps the previous one, and in this sense time becomes a variable of a great importance. The great novelty of the urban phenomenon of the 21st century is that we no longer design urban objects, but instead we design urban flows of the most varied type. They take advantage of the potential of a large network of sensors that is distributed in the city and that is constantly sending updated data regarding its state, not only as a value, but at the same time as a register or a map of that data: they have no value itself, but they do have it in its temporal phase and in comparison, with the others. In this context, the citizen doesn’t behave as a mere receiving agent. On the contrary, it established a bidirectional communication with the system. This communication exchanges information with the user through all kinds of highportability technologies such as mobiles or wearables. These devices can send

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information not only highly specific but also usually unknown by the user, as in the case of pulsations. Obviously, this type of telematic systems can be transferred to other urban elements like traffic lights, cars, public transport, lighting, pavements or facades. The capacity to measure and to alter in real time the behaviour of all these elements enables an immediate and operative interaction with them. At the same time, the ability to superimpose a layer of the virtual reality to the physical reality of the city adds another dimension to the conventional urban complexity. The application of processes of Augmented Reality to the urban fabric leads to the emergence of a multidimensional urban reality, a scenario in which the physical area and the virtual area cease to be parallel realities and constitute one single level of information. In this context, the informational era gives way to what is known within some social and cultural circles as the age of experience. This implies not merely the possibility of constantly reading updated information, but the possibility of interaction with it. This means that the communicative experience is much more immersive. It appears as a true multisensory experience that at the same time registers opinions, desires, preferences and ideologies. Urban “gaming” experiences that take advantage of technology’s ability to “cross” the physical and the virtual reality are becoming more common, even though they have not yet crystallised into firmly established social habits. From representation to simulation: the multidimensional plan In a context where urban reality is ephemeral, fluctuating, hybrid and complex, it seems difficult to get an adequate representation of it through the traditional tools of representation in two or three dimensions. What most of the urban representations that have appeared until today have in common is its static nature. Indeed, they understand the city as a fixed scenario in which urban design must concentrate its efforts on urban objects. On the contrary, the urban design of the 21st century works mainly through the analysis, manipulation and design of the urban flows. These flows, unlike objects, require the use of representational tools that are much more dynamic than those that have been applied until today, whose rigidity has turned out to be obsolete. To represent the city today means to capture its hyper-specific, ephemeral, variable, instant and interactive nature. Instead of accumulating information during big lapses of time in order to compress it into a synthesised document, it is necessary to take advantage of the potential of informational technologies,

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and above all, profit to its ability to process data in real time. We would therefore require new documents of a multidimensional nature, that is, documents that would not only consider the physical variables of the space, but that would also include time as a fundamental parameter. We should be able to represent the fact of becoming, enabling the visualisation of all the continuous updating processes that conform our urban flows. We would therefore be closer to the representation in motion typical of an audio-visual content rather than to the immobility of a photograph. However, this document would not be a mere contemplative representation, but instead it would require active participation from citizens. Their interaction would be fundamental not only in terms of data sendings, but also in terms of information filtering: in the context of having a huge volume of information that could be crystallised in very specific layers, it is up to the user to choose which type of layers he wants to activate. In this sense, the boundaries between “representation” and “simulation” are starting to be more and more blurred, as the ability to process the large amounts of information enables the possibility of some forecasting. Such representations would no longer be minimised to documents intended to visualise the past, but would also make certain simulations about the present and would imagine the nearest future. The urban visualisations that are closest to this type of documents are probably the urban mobile applications. They enable the up-to-date, specific and ephemeral view on a particular issue of the city, be it traffic, accommodation, public transport, etc. In addition, its visualisation is not merely reduced to the simple informational reading, but it also sends information about the status of its user, if as it would be about a loop that updates the system with its participation. In this context it seems clear that most of the urban habits established by the informational society implies a dynamism that constitutes a real challenge for the contemporary urbanism representation. It suggests an urban reality based on flows and nodes, a multiform and variable reality that is not constructed since a centralised position, but on the basis of a simultaneous and real-time participation of a vast variety of agents. Therefore, the representational tools of the 21st century cannot keep on being developed within static means, but instead should be able to interlock with the new urban dynamics of the 21st century.

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by manuel gausa

Genoa Intelligent Context Lab Director

New urban forms and multidimensional representation I.- Territorializing (and synthesizing) information Our cities, as correlations of our own societies, constitute the most complex dynamic and informational systems that exist: they are spacetime systems that constantly interchange information in between the elements that integrate them. The capacity of mobility, transference and processing have been increased but the capacity to have many levels and interchanging processes simultaneously has also been increased, together with the complexity, diversity, heterogeneity, plurality and irregularity of its most explicit representations. In this new dynamic and interactive comprehension of our collective environments (a condition that always existed but which has been expanded during recent years) lies the real revolution of our epoch. It is the base of a logic and changing shift that is more open to the capacity of interaction. Therefore, this reflection is applied to the conception of the space and to the definition of our environment of life and relation. Indeed, in the conceptual and instrumental conceptions of the emergent urban structures, the old geographic borders ceded suddenly, facing the different scales of a new field of “urbanoterritorial manoeuvres”, much more complex, produced in the frame of open and surprising interchanges and combinatory processes generated beyond the physical or purely geographic: together with particular territories, together with particular 132


sites, together with particular memories, together with particular contexts... Elements which are next and distant, virtual and real. The city lost its clear link with a single static space of locality or proximity in order to host modifications, fluctuations and changes. It also had to accept the need to expand and contact in a generous variety of polynuclear scenarios of relation, showing the emergence of a new kind of elastic territoriality. In this new urban space, the traditional infrastructural networks would have to coexist with other networks of information which are “inter-structural” (telematic, informatic, economic, cultural, etc). These new networks would be understood as immaterial links from which other possible territorial definitions would start being established. The scenario of this new dynamic and informational urban condition is not built according to certain formal criteria any longer, but is dynamically refined and redefined in a relational mode together with other informational networks. The territory of the city is not a mere form, but a complex system of relations and situations that are in process (and in progress), where many simultaneous processes of actions and reactions would be developed. II.- Transfers: Composition – Position – Disposition From an approach which is univocal, analytic, segmented and used to divide and classify the world in closed categories, we moved towards a poly-synchronic approach which aims to combine stimuli, messages and information through a process of synthesis and orientation. This fact implies important transformations in relation to old social, creative and scientific disciplines, especially those ones that are related to interpretation and construction of spaces. From an architecture and an urbanism which are understood as disciplines dedicated to lineal design and stable forms, we are now moving towards and architecture and an urbanism understood as cultural, spatial, and technical disciplines that aim to formulate and express complex processes. This transfer implies the

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replacement of a certain idea of the urban space understood as an abstract object for a renewed conception of an interactive environment. Therefore, a new logic emerges that aims to replace the old composite and classical order but also the imposing and modern order for a new dispositional order. This order is much more flexible and fluctuating producing a system that reacts with the medium and in between mediums in an open and synthetic manner. From the absolute total and lineal composition during the XX century we moved to a relativistic, deterministic and neo-lineal modern position, which now is being transformed, at the beginning of the XXI century, into an interactive, fluctuating and non-lineal disposition. These paradigm shifts imply a radical transformation of the conception of our social environments, but also all those definitions related to morphologies and typologies. The notions of exploration, research and tracking have occupied most of the works of the end of the last century and the start of the current one. III.- Oriented maps, intentional maps The approach to this new kind of multiple spatiality therefore requires the elaboration of “n-dimensional” registers of analysis and projection; “n-differential” scenarios as data readings and action criteria to produce “gaming rules”. Informational scenarios which are also strategic scenarios of the city and the territory: combinatory registers and strategical vectors which can process relevant data from a multiple reality. New kinds of formulations that need to be read as informational registers of the city and the territory, but also as relational vectors of the city and the territory: selective scenarios – orientated and fluctuating at the same time-, understood as virtual “battle maps”, as synthetic frames that allow us to select inductive elements of the reality and convert them in decisions and instructions. IV.- Dynamic parametrisations The digital world and the new technologies of information (GIS, TICS,

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Internet of Thinks, Smart-cities & Smart-citizens, etc) have expanded the traditional interchanging potential of cities. This progressive parametrisation and sensitisation of our material environments confirm the shift from the idea of design understood as a formal production towards the idea of design understood as an intentional process. These challenges proclaim a new dynamic, evolutive and reactive condition, which is associated to the design of our environments. It is also associated to the capacity to process and manage data, that is messages, connections, solicitations and variables. These dynamics are related to a new intelligent dimension of the city and to its interactive and informational management: a dimension which is linked to the rise of new technologies and its networked and progressive development. At the same time, this informational condition needs to be combined with the capacity to create “sharing horizons”, prospective visions and strategies which can qualitatively express new open developments, combining advanced technological models with new cultural, social, innovative and sustainable expressions. V.- Diagramatisations (Capacities and Diagrammaticities) The need to favor strategic projections for the new urban evolution has been powered thanks to new technological cartographies which are multidimensional, dynamic, evolutive and three-dimensional. At the same time, processes related to “diagrammaticities” could be associated to an intentional comprehension of those conditions which are able to structure the approached urban contexts. In these diagrammatic processes, data mappings that aim to be analytical and interpretational are acquiring a certain progressive “intentionality” which allows producing a synthetical quality of representation. These type of maps, which could be understood as specific cartographies and planimetries are formulated as well as schemes, diagrams, ideograms and logograms, not necessarily conceived in this progressive order. The notion itself of map combines Cartographies and Geographies in a substantially representative action but also interpretative and communicative (graphic). Data maps tend to refer to descriptive 135


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parameters and system maps are related to interpretative factors, while force maps reproduce selective criteria, strategic maps refer to dispositive criteria and message maps refer to communicative aspects. The re-evaluation of these processes of “conceptive-strategic” mappings and its transformation into more complex formulations would allow to generate expressive documents with particular attributes. In this sense, new equations would be formulated in between Data (processes) + Potentials (targets) + Scenarios (strategies) + Operations (tactic interventions). But it could also be in between Recognition + Diagnostic + Strategy + Approach. VI.- Diagrams, Battle maps (and negotiation) In this kind of transversal and multi-scalar methodology we can recognize certain aspects which are related to the synthetic representation of complex and dynamic systems that rule our environments. In this sense, one of the most peculiar aspects of our interaction lies in the high degree of correlation appreciated in our contemporary scenarios. It is interesting to understand this capacity of evolution -but also of diagrammatic formulation, inherent to our urban systems-, as a graphic representation which can synthesize multiple streams of ongoing processes. These streams are registered at the same time through processes of compression, abstraction and simulation. The authentic and operative value lies in this synthetical property. It is constituted through a production which is able to translate and interpret various simultaneous and overlapped dynamics. Register and instruction. Analysis and synthesis. Diagnostic and answer. Trajectory and map of trajectories. A comprehensive expression of (possible) expansive manoeuvres. The understanding of a diagram as a battle map would convene a “logic of decision”, a “logic of instruction”, a “logic of action”, and a “logic of representations” that are combined: a strategic and tactic resolution of the system, which at the same time is narrative. This instructive intentionality is related to certain formulations of vectors that are understood as synthetic expressions of organisations in 136


which causes and effects would merge and combine around transversal trajectories of synthesis. The diagram aims in this sense to a “formulative projection” generated beyond exclusive formal parameters. In this new epistemology of nonlineal systems, structures are relevant only when they are understood as dynamic systems rather than static figurations. In this sense, the diagram would be converted as an important operative tool that aims to selectively and intentionally read the informational evolution of the city.

Image 1: Carlo Ratti visualisation

This new research starts from an interest to understand the contemporary processes of territorial development. What is relevant is not the mere fascination for the notion of diffuse cities, but the activist wish that lies behind. It aims to conceive new parameters of interpretation, organization and restructuring that can combine visions and information through new polyphonic models. These schemes aim to go beyond the traditional conception of what traditionally has been interpreted as urban form. Previsions and interpretations, actions and visions, strategic scenarios and diagrammatic schemes associated with them, define maps which are not holistic or finalistic, but combinatory and evolutive, referring to physical and virtual cities that live together in a new “multi-city”.

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New Urban Paradigms

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P10 - Surveilled Self- Sufficiency

paradigm 10

Image 1: Control Center, Rio de Janeiro

SMART CITY CONTROL AND SELF MANAGEMENT

Historically, one of the most significant issues that has conditioned urban design is the degree of control exercised over citizens. This issue has a strong political implication and requires a clear position towards issues that are fundamental in order to define what it means to live in a city. Concepts such as privacy, public space, surveillance, control, freedom, autonomy or diversity are just examples of extremely political notions that produce relevant urban consequences. In the sphere of urban design, traditionally decisions have been made in order to promote a certain type of control, exercising it in one or another way and depending on the social, technological and political context. However, the present socio-technological situation has led the emergence of a new paradigm that is based on the contrast between traditional “top-down” control and the renewed capacity for self-management of a “bottom-up” type. While the first one is exercised from large control centres as the case of the control room that Rio de Janeiro built for its Olympic games, the second one does so from multiple dispersed platforms, as Uber for example. This 139


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empowers citizens by giving them the tools that, to a certain extent, enable their emancipation from much more centralised urban dynamics. Paradoxically, some of the companies that provide technology for the first group also do so for the second one, since in both cases the fundamental element is the same: real time data. Applied in one direction or in the other one, it can crystallise in centralised and repressive dynamics, or in dispersed and enabling dynamics. This tension defines one of the biggest challenges for the urban management in the 21st century, raising a new question on the table: How can we control information and at the same time empower the citizen? Urban control Urban design has traditionally been one of the most effective ways of controlling the masses. The structured distribution, size and position of squares, the width and the pattern of the streets or the height of the buildings offer “readings of power” that expose the political, liberal or repressive positions in the urban planning, from the control towards the autonomy. One of the cases where this phenomenon is more evident has to do with the colonisation of America by Portugal and the Crown of Castile. Indigenous people like the Panará formed their settlements through the shape of a circle as a main foundational geometry. Their circular villages located residence sites

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on the periphery of the circle, leaving in the centre a large concentric space destined for the political and ritual activities. The circle thus stood not only as an “operative planning,” but also as a structuring symbol of their comprehension of the world. One of the first actions that European settlers did was to transform this circle into a grid, following the cross-wise pattern based on the cardus and decumanus of the imperial Rome. This action was a first step for the destruction of the indigenous imagination, that deprived of its material structure, lost one of its main references. This is a very clear example of a controlling urbanism where the geometric layout of the urban elements is constituted as a power tool. On another scale and in a much more urban context, Baron Haussmann’s operations in the Paris of the nineteenth-century are one of the most emblematic examples of an urban control strategy. This kind of operations were quite common throughout the nineteenth century in Europe upon the arrival of major urban reforms. Indeed, they were intended to respond to new needs based on the population growth caused by the Industrial Revolution, the demand for more favourable conditions for the treatment of epidemics such as plague or cholera and the adaptation of the city centres to the new means of transport, etc. Paris pioneered this type of operations of renovation, which were proposed mainly for controlling purposes. Revolts of 1830 and particularly those of 1848 had caused numerous difficulties to French authorities, especially because of the barricades of the workers who took advantage of the narrowness of the medieval streets. Napoleon III wanted very wide streets in order to facilitate the work of the order forces enabling their rapid displacement throughout the city and impeding the construction of obstacles. Haussmann created big avenues making wide geometric cuts in the medieval urban fabric and also constructed railway stations that united those streets enabling the provincial troops to be quickly deployed in Paris. Haussmann’s example inspired other European cities such as Brussels, Vienna or London, but his case had also similarities with some of the characteristics of the Soviet urbanism that the Russian government applied several decades later in its satellite states. In this sense, Stalin’s urban operation of reconstruction in Warsaw has several characteristics in common with that of Haussmann: the streets were designed in such a way that they could absorb the transit of several tanks in parallel or even enable the landing of a combat aircraft.

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The notion of Urban Big Brother. The emergence and the generalisation of new information technologies has had many consequences in the sphere of urban control. The use of geometry to optimise the control over the citizens has lost its significance with the urban proliferation of sensors and cameras: they established a telematic control that doesn’t depend on the physical conditions that can be found in the city. If in the 1970s Foucault distinguished between the public punishment, that is celebratory and expository, like the one to which the prisoners of the Middle Ages were subjected, and the private punishment, secret and closed, the one like that of the Panopticon of Bentham, today we would face what we might call an Omnipresent Panopticon . The difference between the two precedents is very clear: in the punitive system of the Middle Ages the prisoner was placed in the centre of the space and was surrounded by citizens, whereas in the punitive system of the Modern time it is the prison guard who is positioned in the centre of the panoptic surrounded by potential culprits. In the age of experience, the computerised and informational systems are no longer used in a discrete way. Instead, they are used in a continuous way both in time and in space: the control is exercised from each of these devices, in other words, the control is exercised in a dispersed way and it is totally absorbed by our own experience. Thus, the form of cities no longer has a decisive role in its control, instead they are basically controlled through a network of sensors that constantly send information regarding their state. Therefore, the “telematic control centres”, meaning, the equipment through which the urban processes are surveilled, appear more frequently in several cities. In this way, the city becomes an entity that is “piloted” from an operational centre that allows to analyse and manipulate with high levels of specificity the state of each of its flows. This is a completely hierarchical system articulated through the technology based on real-time data that in this case is aimed to centralise the urban control all over. However, information technology can offer exactly the opposite. Far from being constituted only as repressive tools, real-time data services can also capacitate and empower citizens, like applications such as Uber, Wallapop, or Airbnb, which represent the emancipatory power that technology can have on day-today basis. In a much more dispersed, optimised and equal way, these services decentralise power structures and increase the accessibility to services that 142


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would otherwise be more expensive, less efficient, and with less freedom of use. The case of the taxi business is very representative: today it is an anachronistic, centralised and inefficient system. Uber or Cabify clearly performs better thanks to their much more accurate, safe and cheap services. However, these types of systems also require a new type of regulation, especially when its application occurs massively and in the urban scale. In this sense, the most illustrative example is that of Airbnb: its generalised and massive application generates situations of gentrification, which is the product of artificial overbooking in the urban housing stock. However, we face a 2.0 gentrification 2.0, which is more sophisticated than the previous one because of one crucial aspect: it is not about replacing one population with the wealthier one, but what happens is that the stable population is being replaced by the drifting one. Neighbours are replaced by Tourists, and residential rental homes by tourist apartments, something that turns urban centres into mere commercial areas rather than common zones of daily living. Some cities like Barcelona or Madrid are beginning to observe this phenomenon with a lot of concern. In several cases, and within political premises, it has already been necessary to propose some measures not only to relieve their effects, but also and above all to regulate those activities. Set in the “laissezfaire” and deprived of any type of control, this kind of the emergency processes can turn its emancipatory role into the secondary aspect, while contributing to the increase of social inequality typical for the neo-liberal globalisation. Bottom up & Top down It is difficult to deny that the power of emergency processes is immense: decentralised webs, collaborative networks or smart phones possess such precision, operability and efficiency that together with great democratic potential are revealed as essential tools in order to face the urban dynamics of the 21st century. In the context of these dynamic and hyper-specific protocols, the traditional centralised processes prove more and more questionable: their application requires large doses of bureaucracy, they are less sensitive towards singularities and they can hardly act with the flexibility that cultural and technological context of nowadays seems to require. However, and especially in the case of urban dynamics, it would be a mistake to renounce to centralised intelligence. First of all, from a strictly conceptual point 143


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of view, emerging unguided processes need more time to produce satisfactory results. In this sense it is necessary to mention Darwinian processes: they are developed through a binary system that determines whether there is a survival or not: intelligence is reduced to one single bit and therefore it needs long periods of time to constitute and stabilise generalised changes. A similar case but with one important detail is that of Wikipedia: although it is built with the help of impartial contribution of the millions of users, its development is far from being the culmination of the rigorously emerging process. On the contrary, behind that there is a huge work of centralised management that deliberately filters the content to speed up the process of the information optimisation. In the second place, letting the emerging processes to be developed by the free will, can lead to the situations that are not always desirable. In this sense, some certain urban dynamics, such as those already mentioned regarding Airbnb, are very illustrative: without any type of control, the high profit of a particular group of agents can lead to the decrease of the welfare. One of the important challenges for the urban planning in the 21st century will imply the achievement of the significant collaboration between the both procedures. The ability to manage data in real time is a capability that has benefited both the centralised and the dispersed systems. The contrast set between the surveillance of the control centres on the one hand, and the emancipatory opportunities offered by the urban dispersed platforms on the other hand, has generated a hybrid situation where the information technologies are constituted as the common denominator. The main technological companies produce in both directions: with the right hand they apply the technology in the form of fines, insurance and taxes of all kinds, and with the left hand they ensure the energy self-sufficiency, the mobility or the self-management. It will be the task of urban design to make both experiences compatible in the future. Obviously, the political connotations that such decisions have and the responsibility of the civil society to profile their wishes and demands, cannot be ignored. Therefore, the possibility of bringing together both systems through the regulation of the dispersed urban processes seems to be one of the most promising lines of research in contemporary urban design.

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10x21 Ten Urban Paradigms for the XXI century Cities Willy Müller / Jordi Vivaldi

Willy Müller / Jordi Vivaldi Contributors: Vicente Guallart Areti Markopoulou Tomás Díez Manuel Gausa Maite Bravo Giovanna Carnevali Xavier Prats 147