smart cities

from digital governance to open-sourcing urban design

Project Details

Student/s: Prigkou Stamatia

Date: September 27, 2016

This thesis focuses on the relationship between digital technologies and urban design and planning. It examines how information and communication technologies can contribute to the overall function of cities by enhancing their effectiveness and improving their competitiveness, while in the meantime providing solutions for common urban issues. In what way can computational culture affect the urban discipline and the relationships developed in contemporary urban complexes and cities? Cities are considered to be complex, dynamic, nonlinear systems. Nonlinear systems are known primarily for their capacity to change in indeterminate ways over time, continually manifesting new properties, forms and patterns. The emergent (or “synergistic”) properties of cities belong to the interaction between parts and are considered as the fundamental agents of architectural creation, while following a bottom-up process of design. Despite the fact that two different design processes have defined and stimulated urban design through the ages, in contemporary digital urban design a top down approach to the study of complex entities like cities, needs to be complemented with a bottom up approach: analysis needs to go hand in hand with synthesis. All of the above are illustrated on the case studies analyzed through this essay. Four intelligent cities presented prove that the Intelligent City emerges from the combination of three fundamental components: “City”, “Innovation and Knowledge Management System” and “Digital Space”. The Digital Space according to these case studies, consists of broadband networks, web and mobile applications, and online services that are made available to residents, visitors, companies and other organizations in the city .On the other hand, urban utopias such as the “Swarm Urbanism” project of Kokkugia, or the works of François Roche and R&Sie(n) indicate the co-evolution of the urban environment along with its habitants, marking a paradigm shift in urban design and planning. The aspects of the paradigm shift in urban design that derives from the use of digital tools seem to be not just morphological but mostly geopolitical. Parametric Urbanism is not a new style as Patrick Schumacher states, but a brand new approach that redefines the design process, introducing open-sourcing urban design as a tool not only for architects, but mainly for citizens. This new urban ecology consists of multiple factors; computers will not magically produce a quick technological fix to urban problems. The digital revolution should be thought of as one more element added to a complex mix, fully coexisting with older components (energetic and material), not all of which have been left in the past, while using collective intelligence during all phases of the design process. According to Manuel DeLanda , far from having brought society to a new stage of its development, the information stage, computers have simply intensified the flow of knowledge, a flow which still needs matter and energy flows to be effective. The new urban ecology is here to stimulate, generate and sprawl ideas in order to provoke, challenge and revolutionize contemporary societies, while redefining both cities and citizens helping them develop a sympathetic relationship where the one will be affecting the other. We would rather conclude that the city of the future is founded on relations and implications between the local and the global properties of collectives, groups of entities or individuals. It reflects a networked process of intuitive, on site actions, where final structure cannot be assumed. Moreover, the overall form of the city is fully detached from the individual, while at the same time; its entire existence, construction and spatial organization are fundamentally based on the individual.

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