… la asociación Geomun2.0, dedicada a la cartografía colaborativa, organizó en enero un taller con el fin de que quienes montan en bicicleta diseñen una red de carriles funcional. Los participantes llegan al local del MediaLab-Prado donde son las sesiones y se sientan en sillas blancas. En las que quedan libres dejan sus cascos de bicicleta.

Olga Terroba, la coordinadora del taller, plantea sus objetivos: además del obvio de diseñar el carril, quiere fomentar que los ciudadanos mejoren el espacio público y popularizar el software libre con que trazarán los mapas. Añadir desde casa información a las plantillas de OpenstreetMapno es más difícil que buscar una dirección en Google. Un administrador que trabaja con los criterios definidos en el taller se encargará de revisar los datos que los usuarios suban desde casa. También pueden adjuntar fotos o vídeos de Youtube con más información.

“En vez de protestar, queremos promover soluciones más prácticas que las que ofrecen políticos que desconocen la realidad”, explica Olga. “La gente propone y nosotros, los técnicos, ponemos medios”. El taller comprende cuatro sesiones en las que se discute, se organiza una salida para tomar datos de la calle y se suben estos a los mapas. Cuatro días que pretenden convertirse en la semilla de un trabajo prolongado que presentar a la Administración.

Al taller están inscritos 60 participantes, pero a la primera sesión asiste solo una treintena. En la última serán diez, el núcleo duro del proyecto. La mayoría trae sus propios ordenadores, y los dirige el espíritu asambleario del 15-M: no hay líderes en los debates, lo que hace que se combinen discusiones útiles con peroratas que mueren entre incómodos silencios. Entre todos, poco a poco van añadiendo ramales al carril …

… 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.

Connected sustainable cities employ ubiquitous, networked intelligence to ensure the efficient and responsible use of the scarce resources – particularly energy and water – that are required for a city’s operation, together with the effective management of waste products that a city produces, such as carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Read the new Foreword to Connected Sustainable Cities

Download Connected Sustainable 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.