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CO.LABORATIONS | Partnerships in Media and Culture

Agenda

13 December 2016
Sweelinck Room (downstairs), Drift 21 Utrecht

Seminar Ole B. Jensen & Simon Wind (C-MUS), 13 Dec. 2016 10:00 – 13:00

“Feedback Urbanism and Smart Placemaking – Reflections on Smart City and Urban Design”

Invitation for public meeting and seminar with Ole B. Jensen & Simon Wind (C-MUS, Aalborg)

13 December 2016 10:00 – 13:00,
Sweelinck Room (downstairs), Drift 21 Utrecht.

We are very happy to welcome Ole B. Jensen & Simon Wind from the Centre of Mobilities & Urban Studies (C-MUS) at the Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology, Aalborg University in Denmark. These scholars from the field of mobility studies will be visiting Utrecht University’s Media- and Culture Studies department on Dec. 13 2016.

Ole B. Jensen is Deputy Director of C-MUS at the Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology.

Simon Wind is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology

jensen wind
Ole B. Jensen Simon Wind

 

Preliminary program

10:00 Welcome.

10:10 – 11:15 Informal meeting and exchange.

11:30 – 13:00 Public talk “Feedback Urbanism and Smart Placemaking”,

The talk will be followed by short responses from:

Hiddo Huitzing (PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency),

Anna Nikolaeva (Researcher “Smart Cycling Futures” at Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development),

Koen Leurs (Assistant professor Gender & Postcolonial Studies, and researcher “Young Connected Migrants”)

and public discussion.

 

The event is organized by the Media- and Culture Studies Expertise Centre in collaboration with the [Urban Interfaces] group.

 

“Feedback Urbanism and Smart Placemaking – Reflections on Smart City and Urban Design”

Ole B. Jensen & Simon Wind, Centre of Mobilities & Urban Studies, Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology, Aalborg University, Denmark

In recent years there has been a turn towards the notion of ‘Smart City’ amongst urban scholars and professionals (Batty et. al 2012; Hajer & Dassen 2014). As an ambiguous umbrella term, Smart City predominantly annotates the usage of technologies and data in creating solutions to the grand challenges that contemporary societies face (i.e. rapid urbanisation, climate change, congestion, pollution, aging populations). Visions and realisations of Smart City revolve around technology, ubiquitous computing and radical interconnectedness and promise to empower city managers through urban operations systems, high-precision control centres, energy grids and sentient sensor environments. Critically reviewing the underpinning relations to corporate business strategies and top-down policy discourses, we wish to advance the notion of feedback urbanism and through this theoretical lens contribute to the growing discussions of how technologies and digital layers are reconfiguring our cities, mobilities, and sociality in profound ways (Gordon & Silva 2011; Kitchen & Dodge 2011; McCullough 2004; Wilken & Goggin 2012).

Smart City is often critiqued for being overly focused on optimisation, security and economic growth, and not on creating living environments foremost for the people that inhabit them (Greenfield 2013, Townsend 2014, Sassen 2012, Foth 2014, Koolhaas 2015). Taking stock of this , at the Centre for Mobilities & Urban Studies, we are particular interested in how novel technologies, such as ICT, media, sensor, tracking technologies and visualisation methods, are presenting opportunities (and challenges) for creating new responsive platforms for social interactions, civic engagement, experiences and placemaking. Through the notion of feedback urbanism, we try to take one step back from the normative appreciation of ‘smart as good’ and explore actual, material workings of urban technologies relying on data sensing and feedback and how these might intersect with urban design.

In this talk we present some of our recent work of exploring how ICT, media technologies and data might materialise in ‘smart’ placemaking. In the Utzon Center in Aalborg (DK), the first case illustrates how Minecraft, LEGO and VR is used to create urban utopias and facilitate new spatial experiences, ownership and interaction. The second case, in Copenhagen (DK), addresses TREE.0, an installation designed by the Interactive Spaces Lab at the Alexandra Institute, situated in Copenhagen Street Lab, and demonstrates how media technologies and data might improve urban space and city life. From this, we call for an alternative Smart City perspective that lies closer to professions of urban design and architecture. This, we argue, allows us to emphasise smart technologies and data not only as urban operations systems, high-precision control centres, energy grids and sentient sensor environments but also as tools for placemaking at a smaller scale and with a more human scope.