…  son esas deficiencias y esas carencias las que constituyen un enorme potencial para un desarrollo futuro aún más próspero. Si Brasil es capaz de continuar con la política neoliberal que impusieron en el país primero el sociólogo Fernando Henrique Cardoso y después el exsindicalista, Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, junto con potentes políticas sociales, sin caer en tentaciones de cuño exageradamente estatalistas y nacionalistas, sus desafíos de hoy, sus retrasos y sus nuevas exigencias, van a constituir la fuerza de su nuevo ciclo de desarrollo…

[TOKAIDO]

Todo esto participa de una estrategia político-territorial basada en la posibilidad de que las infraestructuras de producción y distribución energética, las de movilidad e incluso las de interacción social y comunicación (todas ellas pensadas como superestructuras de gran escala gobernadas a nivel nacional) vertebren de manera aparentemente neutral un territorio, trasladando la diferencia, las disputas y la evolución temporal a fragmentos urbanos blandos, más económicos y con una gobernanza más próxima al usuario. Permitiendo, como en el caso de Tokaido, que los tejidos fragmentados se acoplen a una serie de infraestructuras proveedoras de un programa de servicios optimizado y permanente.

Estas construcciones territoriales han venido asociadas a cotidianidades marcadas por la segregación física, generacional y relacional entre aquellos ciudadanos laboralmente activos que, desplazándose, combinan su domesticidad suburbial con una vida colectiva que los expone a las relaciones y formaciones del mundo profesional; y una masa de población infantil, adolescente, enferma, discapacitada, desempleada y/o de mayores que desarrolla su día a día en entornos locales, con poca participación en la vida megaurbana.

[ECAOLDEAS]

Este urbanismo también contiene formas específicas de ciudadanía, de gobierno y de construcción territorial. Si la electrificación nuclear se caracteriza por la precariedad crítica con que lo energético queda imbricado en el mundo ordinario, uno de los principios de las ecoaldeas es que cada individuo asuma la responsabilidad sobre el diseño, construcción y evaluación de su medio, tomando conciencia de la productividad de sus equipos y adaptando sus consumos a los recursos disponibles en proximidad. Para promover esta toma de conciencia se han desarrollado dispositivos arquitectónicos específicos, como los centros de formación: espacios comunitarios de pequeño tamaño construidos para dar cabida a un programan pedagógico y, en cierta medida, propagandístico,

Su gobierno busca instalar la acción política y la gestión del conflicto en la escala de las relaciones de vecindad, lo que en muchos casos ralentiza la toma de decisiones e incluso bloquea numerosos proyectos de transformación. Tampoco debe olvidarse que, pese a que existen redes internacionales que permiten que organizaciones urbanas tan pequeñas puedan ganar complementariedad en la asociación, como la Global Ecovillage Network o la Red Ibérica de Ecoaldeas, a día de hoy, las formas de vida que se dan en estos entornos siguen dependiendo de las prestaciones que proporcionan contextos urbanos y productivos como el de Tokaido.

… Not so long ago, airports were built near cities, and roads connected the one to the other. This pattern—the city in the center, the airport on the periphery— shaped life in the twentieth century, from the central city to exurban sprawl. Today, the ubiquity of jet travel, round-the-clock workdays, overnight shipping, and global business networks has turned the pattern inside out. Soon the airport will be at the center and the city will be built around it, the better to keep workers, suppliers, executives, and goods in touch with the global market. 

This is the aerotropolis: a combination of giant airport, planned city, shipping facility, and business hub. The aerotropolis approach to urban living is now reshaping life in Seoul and Amsterdam, in China and India, in Dallas and Washington, D.C. The aerotropolis is the frontier of the next phase of globalization, whether we like it or not …

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Greg Lindsay

Q: In a few sentences, what’s the central message of your book?

A: Successful cities have always been founded because of trade—from Ur to New York, these are places where people exchange goods, money and ideas. Meanwhile, the shape of cities has always been defined by transportation. Boston was built around its docks;,Chicago around the railroads, and Los Angeles around the car. And the world is poised to build literally hundreds of new cities as 3 billion urbanize over the next forty years. So where would you put a new city today? And how would a city in western China—historically the middle of nowhere—connect to the world? The answer is the airport. In a global economy, where trillions of dollars in goods and billions of people follow digital bits around the world, sooner or later we would end up building cities defined by their airports, because the only geography that matters vis economic geography. It sounds like science fiction, but it’s always been this way.

Q: What differentiates the aerotropolis from other commercially-centered visions of urban planning, like the suburban strip mall or Leavittown?

A: Those are examples of what you get when private developers are driving the agenda, which has been the case in American since post-WWII suburbia, at least. The places that are consciously looking to develop (or redevelop) the areas around their airports, like Detroit, or Amsterdam, or Beijing, have done a much better job about thinking regionally, about bringing public and private interests together, and trying to build something that makes sense from both an economic and urban planning standpoint, rather than just make a quick buck. A great example is Amsterdam, which built an entirely new business district called the Zuidas on its southern border with towers expressly designed for the Netherlands’ largest banks and other companies, along with housing, all centered on a train station that is six minutes from the airport. It’s a lot better than the alternative—exurbs lying forty miles from Phoenix, Arizona.

…  the city’s infrastructures are increasingly inter-related and co-dependent, interwoven into what Varnelis terms networked ecologies — “hypercomplex systems produced by technology, laws, political pressures, disciplinary desires, environmental constraints and a myriad other pressures, tied together with feedback mechanisms.”

Designing in this environment is correspondingly complex, as networked ecologies resist and frustrate the planning mechanisms which served the design of twentieth-century metropolises.  Though The Infrastructural City is structured as a survey of the infrastructural components of a single American city, that series of descriptive fragments begins to coalesce into a manual for the design of infrastructures embedded into networked ecologies, a manual which is relevant to almost any designer operating in almost any contemporary urban environment…

Alameda Trench, a cut in the surface of Los Angeles

Terminal Island

Urban planners, rejoice! Today, the New York City Department of Transit announced a radical new plan for improving the city’s bus lines: A fully dedicated express-lane for buses, running crosstown on 34th Street. It’s expected to improve bus speeds by 35%, on a route where buses are stationary a whopping 40% of the time. And it marks another huge, bold idea from Janette Sadik-Khan, the DOT commissioner who’s overseen a slew of projects, ranging from the new sidewalk saffolding to a pedestrianized Times Square.

That’s a coup for harried New Yorkers, but there’s a bigger story here, and one other outsize urban visionary: The New York proposal marks a huge coup for an idea that began in Curitiba, Brazil; and then was co-opted in Bogota, Colombia; and it’s now been spread around the world by Enrique Peñalosa, the former mayor of Bogota who’s become a globe-trotting evangelist for better urban planning…

According to Jones, the idea of “mujicomp” revolved around the notion that ubiquitous computing needs to “become sexy and desirable… able to be appreciated as cultural design objects rather than technology… they should be tasteful, simple, clear, clean, contemporary, affordable in order to be invited into the home“. If designers and engineers want to “make smart cities bottom up with products and not academic ubiquitous computing which are always postponed“, he argued that ubicomp will need some “muji”. And of course, as shown by Jone’s use of the quote from Eliel Saarinen, “always design a thing by considering it in its larger context… a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment“.

Matt Jones on mujicomp and mujicompfrastructures at Technoark

(… at the the “New Digital Spaces conference at Technoark in Sierre, Switzerland, Matt Jones gave a talk called “people are walking architecture“. You can see the video here.)

… I was really compiling a manifest of books I’d been consulting as I put together the pieces of my own…

- Alexander, Christopher, et al.: A Pattern Language
- Ascher, Kate: The Works: Anatomy of a City
- Augé, Marc: Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity
- Aymonino, Aldo and Valerio Paolo Mosco: Contemporary Public Space/Un-Volumetric Architecture
- BAVO, eds.: Urban Politics Now: Re-Imagining Democracy in the Neoliberal City
- Bachelard, Gaston: The Poetics of Space
- Baines, Phil and Catherine Dixon: Signs: Lettering in the Environment
- Banham, Reyner: The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment
- Benjamin, Walter: Selections from The Arcades Project
- Benkler, Yochai: The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
- Borden, Iain: Skateboarding, Space and the City
- Brand, Stewart: How Buildings Learn
- Canetti, Elias: Crowds and Power
- Careri, Francesco: Walkscapes: Walking as an Aesthetic Practice
- Carter, Paul: Repressed Spaces
- Crawford, J.H.: Carfree Cities
- Davis, Mike: Planet of Slums
- De Cauter, Lieven: The Capsular Civilization
- De Certeau, Michel: Chapter VII, “Walking in the City,” from The Practice of Everyday Life
- DeLanda, Manuel: Part I, “Lavas and Magmas,” from A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History
- Design Trust For Public Space: Taxi 07: Roads Forward
- Di Cicco, Pier Giorgio: Municipal Mind: Manifestos for the Creative City
- Dourish, Paul: Where The Action Is
- Flusty, Steven: Building Paranoia
- Fruin, John J.: Pedestrian Planning and Design
- Gehl, Jan: Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space
- Goffman, Erving:
• Behavior in Public Places
• Interaction Ritual
- Graham, Stephen and Simon Marvin: Splintering Urbanism
- Greenfield, Adam (that’s me!): Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing
- Hall, Edward T.: The Hidden Dimension
- Hammett, Jerilou and Kingsley, eds.: The Suburbanization of New York
- Hara, Kenya: Designing Design
- Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri: Empire
- Haydn, Florian and Robert Temel, eds.: Temporary Urban Spaces
- Holl, Steven, Juhani Pallasmaa and Alberto Pérez-Gómez: Questions of Perception
- Hughes, Jonathan and Simon Sadler, eds.: Non-Plan
- Ito, Mizuko, Daisuke Okabe, and Ken Anderson: “Portable Objects in Three Global Cities: The Personalization of Urban Places
- Iwamoto, Lisa: Digital Fabrications
- Jacobs, Jane: The Death and Life of Great American Cities
- Kaijima, Momoyo, Junzo Koroda and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto: Made in Tokyo
- Kay, Alan: “User Interface: A Personal View,” in The art of human-computer interface design (Laurel, ed.)
- Kayden, Jerold S.: Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience
- Kieran, Stephen and James Timberlake: Refabricating Architecture
- Klingmann, Anna: Brandscapes: Architecture in the Experience Economy
- Klooster, Thorsten, ed.: Smart Surfaces and their Application in Architecture and Design
- Latour, Bruno:
• Aramis, or: The Love of Technology
• Reassembling the Social
- Lefebvre, Henri: The Production of Space
- Lynch, Kevin: The Image Of The City
- McCullough, Malcolm: Digital Ground
- Mollerup, Per: Wayshowing: A Guide to Environmental Signage Principles and Practices
- Miller, Kristine F.: Designs on the Public
- Mitchell, William J.:
• City of Bits
• Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City
- Moran, Joe: Reading the Everyday
- Mumford, Lewis: The City In History
- MVRDV: Metacity/Datatown
- Neuwirth, Robert: Shadow Cities: A Billion Squatters, A New Urban World
- Nold, Christian, ed.: Emotional Cartography: Technologies of the Self
- O’Hara, Kenton, et al., eds.: Public and Situated Displays: Social and Interactional Aspects of Shared Display Technologies
- Oldenburg, Ray: The Great Good Place
- Qiu, Jack Linchuan: Working Class Network Society
- Raban, Jonathan: Soft City
- RAMTV: Negotiate My Boundary
- Rheingold, Howard: Smart Mobs
- Rudofsky, Bernard: Streets for People
- Sadler, Simon: Archigram: Architecture without Architecture
- Sante, Luc: Low Life
- Sennett, Richard: The Uses of Disorder
- Senseable City Lab: New York Talk Exchange
- Solnit, Rebecca: Wanderlust: A History Of Walking
- Suchman, Lucy: Plans and Situated Actions
- Tuan, Yi-Fu: Space and Place
- Varnelis, Kazys, ed.: The Infrastructural City
- Wall, Alex: Victor Gruen: From Urban Shop to New City
- Waldheim, Charles, ed.: The Landscape Urbanism Reader
- Watkins, Susan M.: Clothing: The Portable Environment
- Whitely, Nigel: Reyner Banham: Historian of the Immediate Future
- Whyte, William H.: The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
- Wood, Denis and Robert J. Beck: Home Rules
- Zardini, Mirko, ed.: Sense Of The City: An Alternate Approach to Urbanism.

Most cities right now are models of closed, rigid systems, systems that rely on a few, top-performing agents to get civic tasks done and keep quality of life high for residents. Most of these agents are departments of the city itself, though some are outsourced. Either way, cities rely on one agent per issue, no more. To use Amazon.com as an analogy, cities today are like an Amazon that only allows the #1 best-selling book from each category into its system.

A good number of cites are beginning to do deals with mega companies like Google and IBM, giving them access to city data so that they can build excellent tools for residents to use. This is a great thing. I love looking at Google Maps and seeing that bulging red line right next to my house indicating that traffic there is at a standstill so I should consider biking instead. Makes my life better.

Still, to use the Amazon analogy again, now these cities have allowed not just the #1 best-selling book from each category into the system, but best-seller #2, #3 and #4. It’s still a closed system of cherry-picked agents with privileged access.

And that’s about where a lot of people would choose to end the opening of cities’ data - giving unrestricted access to the Googles, Microsofts, and IBMs of the world. The rest get limited access, or access contingent upon satisfying some governmental board or other. (New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, who launched his Big Apps contest yesterday, is seemingly among this group.)

If we do that, of course, we’re missing out on what is potentially the biggest piece of the pie - the tail. That’s where a huge chunk of the value comes from.

So, imagine instead a city that has totally open, unrestricted access to data (say, San Francisco or DC in 2011). What does it look like? It has all of the familiar city-run departments providing all of the services and assistance they’ve always provided - that’s not going away. Then it also has public services offered by the mega companies, the Google Traffic, IBM’s Smarter Cities, and so forth. Those are huge added value to these open cities - they’re used by a large percentage of residents and make life in those cities better. But THEN, it also has an insane long tail of services set up and run by anyone with an interest in doing so, just by hooking into city data, distributing it in a new way, improving on it, mashing it up, giving it back to the city, etc. These services each individually get used by a small minority of people, but collectively they get used by more than any other single source in the city.

That’s the healthy, long tail city of the future in action: head, “meaty middle” and tail, all working together, all reinforcing each other, all driving each other forward.

And that’s the future of cities.

Here are the five stories that appeared in the special “Digital Cities” feature of Wired UK’s November issue.

Words on the street
by Adam Greenfield
Ubiquitous, networked information will reshape our cities.

‘Sense-able’ urban design
by Carlo Ratti
Digital elements blanket our environment: transforming our cities, informing their citizens and improving economic, social and environmental sustainability.

London after the great 2047 flu outbreak
by Geoff Manaugh
After the Dutch flu outbreak of 2047 decimated greater London, the politics of the city began to change: everything turned medical.

Your neighbourhood is now Facebook Live
by Andrew Blum
When it comes to technology and cities, today’s thrilling development is that social networking is enhancing urban places [and this is] significant for the future of our cities.

The transport of tomorrow is already here
by Joe Simpson
The main impact on city planning will be mediated through transport infrastructures, freeing up road space as it does so.