Impact Hub event

I happened to see the add for this event the other day and I said why not(?) and today it turned out to be a very interesting day. Given the occasion of the 5th anniversary of the Impact hub initiative a three day event is dedicated to discussing how technology can change everyday life; how collaboration can be achieved at an urban scale and what is circular economy and how can cities profit from it. The day started with a panel discussion between Charles Landry, Sebastian Schlueter representing Actors of Urban Change and Tom Fleming from tfcreativeconsultancy.

All three speakers shared their experience from projects they are currently involved in that enhance open participation and seek to bring people together in joint activities or causes. Landry spoke of the need of a systemic change that draws attention to how the individuals can perform better.This is an idea he has already experimented with in his Creative Bureaucracy concept (and book) and through the related festival that bares the same name*. Schueter spoke of the need to be critical of public initiatives for they sometimes tend to obscure some other important perspectives. In particular, he spoke of the Berlin Tempelhof Airport and how peoples’ persistence to keep it as a park blocked any discussion on how this vast area could be used for the common good. Finally, Tom Fleming, spoke of cultural activities as a means of bringing people together. He specifically mentioned how we need art festivals more than museums as a way of being with others and interacting in real time with them instead of simply observing them from a distance. The panel discussion ended with a few inspiring comments from Miograd Kuc who claimed that art cannot necessarily provide all the answers in terms of raising public interest; instead, art is supposed to question society’s power dynamics in the first place and therefore it needs to maintain its independent character.

In the second half of the day, we split in four different workshops. I joined Sebastian’s workshop on collaborative practices in cities. It was a great round table discussion between people representing various agencies whether civic; public; or private. The two questions that were raised were a. what are the difficulties we come up with in collaborations that involve multiple parties from different fields/interests and b. what can sustain such a collaboration in time.

This three-day event will culminate tomorrow at Kypseli Market with a series of live events. As Landry eloquently put it, a city is a drama in time.

*The second Creative Bureaucracy festival will be held in Berlin from 20 to 22 September 2019

Storm King Art Center

Image retrieved here

I just heard of this today on a tv documentary, I wish I could visit. The centre covers a vast rural area one hour north of Manhattan. It was established in 1960 by Ralph E. Ogden and its collection has been growing ever since. The image above, belongs to one of the most prominent works -in my opinion- of Menashe Kadishman and his 1977 collection “Suspended”:

With no visible evidence of the engineering holding the sculpture up, Suspended prompts contemplation of the relationship between its two conjoined, towering masses, coupled with questions about what lies below ground. Rich and rusted, the patina of the weathered steel wraps the stark geometric shapes in a skin-like sheath.

Excerpt from The Storm King Art Center webpage

The center also accommodates many of the works of Mark di Suvero, among which “Mother Peace” (image below), a work completed just before Di Suvero left the US to protest against the war in Vietnam.

Image retrieved here

BBC Series on Italy’s invisible cities

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This was captivating! Professor Michael Scott in collaboration with
ScanLAB Projects uncover the subterranean infrastructure of Roman cities such as: Naples, Venice, Rome and Florence. I’ve just watched the Naples episode: Scott visits a series of the city’s underground tunnels and follows how the volcanoes’ eruptions have altered the city’s morphology.

High-precision laser-beam is used to read solid surfaces and, rather than building up an entire 3D model, it processes this image of an area as a series of points that make an overall cloud of how an area appears (…) 3D images are made possible using FARO 3D scanning equipment. The resulting point-clouds are also used for 3D virtual reality experience that can be viewed on the BBC website in browser or through a VR headset


Beau Jackson article

The images and the VR is breathtaking. Especially the ones retrieved from underwater. Image 2 belongs to the visual reconstruction of an ancient Roman villa that has been submerged. These were made possible through 3d scanning during an underwater dive to its remains. A must watch.

Image retrieved from here

Park Slope Food Coop

Image retrieved here

I was amazed to see this documentary yesterday as I had no idea that such coop existed, especially in the US. This coop was originally founded in 1973 and it still is a very successful model of co-managing food resources in a way that the costs are decreased and the quality of the products gets better. Doc says that also Le Louve market in Paris was founded on the same principles more recently (2010). While here in Greece access to grocery is still very direct through local, open markets or smaller grocery stores, in the US and especially New York, this is not the case. People in the documentary explained how scarce and expensive quality food is and how the coop changed all that for the better. I was impressed by the coop’s organization; its principles and the way it brought people together not only as consumers, but also as members of a community. I got the following description from the doc’s webpage: 


FOOD COOP explores how ordinary people working together can upend the received wisdom of corporate America. Instead of treating shoppers as cash cows to be milked dry through infantalizing and manipulative marketing schemes, the Park Slope Food Coop believes in making its shoppers real stakeholders —literally the store’s sole shareholders— expected to shoulder the banal responsibilities that keep the massive machine going: receiving deliveries, cleaning floors and grease traps, putting stickers on produce, shelving cans, cutting cheese, putting spices in bags, scanning and weighing groceries—and standing at the exit to check the receipts of shoppers, who are almost physically forced the store by the constant crowds. It’s brutal, simple cooperative commerce—and no grocery store in New York City can touch its success.

It’s worth the shot to watch this. Very inspiring.

Circular cities

Image retrieved here

Article discusses the efforts of Prof. Williams in UCL in promoting the ideas and practices of the Circular City by establishing UCL’s Circular Cities Hub in 2016.
A book is to be expected in 2020 entitled “Circular Cities: A Revolution in Urban Sustainability” by Williams that will be published by Routledge.

Part of this has involved viewing cities holistically. This means not just looking at resources, but seeing urban areas as organisms that constantly adapt to changes, such as migration and increasing diversity, as well as considering different trajectories of development, from shrinking, post-industrial cities such as Detroit, to places like London, where corporate and foreign investment is squeezing out lower-value, circular activities.

Islais Project by One Architecture

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(One Architecture in collaboration with BIG Group and Sherwood)

Islais Creek is an historic watershed in Southeast San Francisco. This is an historically industrial area once home to a verdant, marshy watershed since channelized and home to heavy industry and logistics which support the entire city of San Francisco.

https://e.issuu.com/anonymous-embed.html?u=one_architecture&d=180926_bluebook_one_raster_pages-lo

By densifying existing industrial and logistical activities, softening shorelines and daylighting a section of the creek currently decked over, the BIG + ONE + Sherwood team sought to reorient the city’s relationship to its historic waterfronts as a vital element in its recreational and industrial economy.

The six pilots arrived at by the design team respond to these concerns and more, proposing the creation of accessible open space with integrated green-blue infrastructure, a food district, vastly improved transportation systems, waterfront access, waste processing, stacked and decked residential and commercial space, and other phaseable short-term solutions to climate and urban risks.

 

The Hackable City

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Excerpts from the Hackable City Blog

The Hackable City (normative definition): 
In a hackable city, new media technologies are employed to open up urban institutions and infrastructures to systemic change in the public interest. It combines top-down smart-city technologies with bottom-up ‘smart citizen’ initiatives. 
In a hackable city, the urban (data) infrastructure functions as a platform that can be appropriated and incrementally improved upon by various stakeholders.

The Hackable City (research project):
 The goal of this research project is to explore the opportunities as well as challenges of the rise of new media technologies for an open, democratic process of collaborative citymaking. How can citizens, design professionals, local government institutions and others employ digital media platforms in collaborative processes of urban planning, management and social organization, to contribute to a liveable and resilient city, with a strong social fabric?

Hackable citymaking revolves around the organization of individuals into collectives or publics, often through or with the aid of a digital media platform.