Common | Cell
FROM PLANNING TO SECTIONING
I was one of nine scholars invited to take part in the On Cities Workshop at the Norman Foster Foundation in Madrid, June 2018.
The ever-increasing levels of urban data offer limitless possibilities for city definition, but the question is how - and why - this data is used. While data can be used to ease traffic, increase accessibility or define more diverse neighbourhoods, it can just as easily be used to commercialise streetscapes or create more segregated communities. Regardless of the motivation for doing so, the use of data in city planning is inevitably focused on optimisation - to both increase the efficiency of the system and decrease the required human input. Contemporary digital urban planning tools enable interactive urban programming, but within strict algorithmically-defined limits in which the most efficient outcome is pre-defined. This deterministic view of the most optimal condition for a given urban context seems to neglect the dynamism and serendipity that are at the heart of both city-making and the urban experience.
Common | Cell explores a strategy for applying optimization at a building scale rather than a neighbourhood scale. The proposal enables users to visualise the entire system so that they can recognise the aggregate effects of individual actions, bringing humans back to the heart of the tech-assisted optimization agenda.
Director of MIT Media Lab City Science Group and Initiative, and the Academic Body spanned a wide range of practitioners working in different fields interrelated with the city, including: Norman Foster, President of the Norman Foster Foundation; Beatriz Colomina, Director of Graduate Studies, Princeton University; Luis Cueto, General Coordinator for the Mayor in Madrid; Anupama Kundoo, Principal, Anupama Kundoo Architects; Winy Maas, Co-Founder and Director of MVRDV and Director of the Why Factory, Delft; Tim Stonor, Managing Director of Space Syntax, London; Leonor Tarrasón, Director of Environmental Solutions, Norwegian Institute for Air Research; Belinda Tato and José Luis Vallejo, Founders and Directors of Ecosistema Urbano; Nicholas Negroponte, Co-Founder and former Director of MIT Media Lab, and acted as the Chief Advisor of the workshop through the research process.