Ostenda Illuminata: A Socio-Ecological 1:1 Prototype for Networked Public Spaces
1University of Virginia School of Architecture, United States of America; 2University of Virginia School of Data Science, United States of America
Deployments of sensor networks and control systems in public space are central to what has been called "Smart Cities." These deployments, often manifesting as technologies embedded within existing infrastructures, are championed as key drivers of more optimized and sustainable cities. However, hidden and unaccountable infrastructures can alienate citizens and undercut even the positive social goals “Smart City” projects claim to support, creating serious challenges for data protection and privacy. Grounded in a conceptual framework prioritizing meaning generation, imageability, open and responsive infrastructures, Ostenda illuminata (trans. revealed illumination) problematizes the implementation of “Internet of Things'' in urban public spaces. Sustainable, community-centered urban sensing technologies are not just a problem of technological choice and reliability but collective governance, process, and form of open sensor infrastructures and data. In this context, Ostenda illuminata is a prototype for placemaking in urban public spaces. Utilizing urban sensing to gather information about its environment, it responds in real-time patterns of illumination in situ as well as through online networks. Ostenda illuminata uses open and accessible technologies for sensing and technology-embedded architectural response elements that can be distributed variability within single or multiple public spaces. To underscore the problematic “monoculture” approach to embedded technologies currently dominant in Smart City design, Ostenda illuminata is conceptualized as a model for a legible social ecology of techno-material architectures, installations, and systems. By integrating forms, technologies, and processes within open networks that are legible and responsive to a diversity of individuals and groups, Ostenda locates a “middle ground” between infrastructural sensor fabric initiatives and bottom-up technological projects. The project identifies a critical role for designers within multi-disciplinary networks of governments, companies, and communities operating in the digital public realm and offers a model of networked public space that fosters meaning generation with openness and responsiveness for the broadest group of participants.
From String of Pearls to String of Parks: The Compelling Case of Doha, Qatar
1Qatar University; 2University of Calgary
Cities in the Arabian Gulf region have been increasingly global in perspective where the public realm and its components of streets, plazas and parks becomes dominant in the urban planning and design space, place, buildings, and landscapes. The present paper examines the changing approach to park design and place making in the Islamic City, using Doha, Qatar as an illustrative case. Since the discovery of oil and gas in the 1940’s, Doha has faced accelerating urbanization. With a spectacular transformation from a modest settlement focused on pearl fishing to a dynamic international city with outward reach and global impact, Doha’s urban fabric has developed in important directions. Over time, the city has created numerous less prominent and less tourist-oriented parks that serve local neighborhoods while together comprising an emergent and deliberate network. Such networks have manifold benefits, including heightened urban connectivity, promotion of biodiversity, provision of recreational amenity and the promotion of greater sustainability. They also contribute to a unique identify for Qatar -- landscapes that respond to local needs and physical circumstances -- helping to define and support a sense of place in a rapidly developing nation. Doha’s commitment to exploring and realizing a comprehensive and integrated green network speaks to an awakening, globally and notably in the Gulf Region, regarding the demonstrable benefits of a well-designed environment to public health and community vibrancy. The authors contend that the promise of Doha, and lessons learned along its path of progression as a greener city, offer direction to other Islamic cities facing many challenges in an ever-changing and rapidly evolving world. The present research develops a conceptual framework that considers the resonance of architecture, landscape, and urban design in city planning, and advances initial guidelines for providing park networks that proffer greater amenity, heighten environmental responsibility, and improve quality of life. It also underscores that there are common principles that can be understood in addressing enrichment through landscape, while concurrently emphasizing the imperative to respond to and celebrate the nuances of place.
Performance as Action. The Embodied Mind
1Thomas Jefferson University, College of Architecture and the Built Environment,United States of America; 2Universidad Politechnica de Madrid, Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, Spain; 3National Technical University of Athens, School of Architecture, Greece
The paper addresses the concept of performance via a historical investigation of the dynamics observed between design and science through the lenses of cybernetic theories. It proposes a transdisciplinary and historical inquiry on the human – machine – environment recursive relationships. The paper maps parallel events relating design and cybernetic works and constructs a brief historical lineage of scientific approaches to design as they were manifested within design education in the US starting prior to WWII with focus on the behavioral turn of the 1950s. The design methods movement which stemmed from the scientific and technological optimism of the postwar era, looked at the design disciplines through rational scientific foundations. During the 1970s, philosophical and phenomenological critiques to these approaches would forcefully appear. The following generations of the design methods movement and the design thinking approach would “double the vector” and see science as a specific form of design inquiry; rather than apply science to design, science could be understood as a form of design activity, reversing the more usual hierarchy between the two.
From the 1940s-1960s cybernetic electromechanic “perception” devices set in demystifying the human brain to the design methods movement in architecture and its mutations, the paper traces connections between traditionally disparate fields and reveals operations, tactics, and methods that situate the notions of performance and adaptation. The paper argues for a dialectical approach to the contemporary understandings of performance as it was manifested in psychologist and cybernetician Ross Ashby´s “embodied mind” concept in the 1960s. Via the construction of parallel historical lineages, the paper reflects a willingness to transcend disciplinary boundaries that is characteristic of cybernetics’ origins cutting across distinctions between design and science fields as well as those between objectivity and subjectivity, human and machine, and mind and body.