Monday, October 12, 2015

Smart urban design and smart cities

Cities as complex systems evolve over time ; some take millenea and others few decades..Time on a city scale is essentially spatial for each action in a city causes it to further expand geographically , to contract or to slowly wither..
As such, time is a dimension that has been researched by Jane Jacobs and other urban theorists as an essential factor in understanding cities 

In our age, time-space are compressing. We can have an in-depth two hour one to one comversation with a friend in asia while we are sitting with a group of our colleagues in our office in the states..

This dillution is impacting the urban space in cities for as these becone compress, a virtual city is created in addition to its spatial countrepart .That virtual city which Bill Mitchels  has prophetized  in his book "city of bits" is exponantially augmenting the actions occuring in real time and thus embedding  a multiplicity of meanings of the urban space.
Lately , a mall in dubai -Wafi Mall - hosted a fashion event as part of Dubai Fashion Week. The invites were sent virtually to attendees via social media creating a virtual community of the event that might outlast the event itself and thus augment the city social network beyound its urban fabric. Post event, tens of videos via social media captures the fashion show linking it to the mall. These videos were sent to hundreds of social media friends, felliw twitters or insta followers .The mental image of that space  - an empty court or corridor in wafi mall- is augmented to include these videos - that compresses space and time into three minutes , enough to alter our image of that space and feeds into our overall image of the city.
That is the challenge we face as urban designers - the challenge of grasping this multitude of representations into our proposals and our visions for our cities so they can actually benefit organically of that augmented reality .