Keynote: U-City - Design as Topology

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution

Ulrik Ekman - Lecturer

This presentation addresses the contemporary emergence of ubiquitous cities as exemplary cases of the development of milieux involving ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing, ambient intelligence, or the Internet of Things. The general field at stake is the design of contemporary global urbanity in the form of u-cities, smart cities, or intelligent cities emerging with the second phase of network societies that increasingly develop mixed reality environments with context-aware out-of-the-box computing as well as the sociocultural and experiental horizon of a virtually and physically mobile citizenry. This unfolding of this urban context is what research today across a number of disciplines attempts to grasp as a general ecology of material technical infrastructures, media archeologies, and assemblages of social and mobile media. Encounters with its unfolding are what motivates recent research to reconsider sociocultural and individual urban experience in terms of embodied movement and interactivity in intelligent and information-intensive environments in which the predominant tendency to embed pervasive computation more or less invisibly leads to a new emphasis on haptics, the sense of touch, and a general affective and atmospheric aesthetics. It is the same development that has us witness the repeated appearance of the wide range of key sociocultural problems accompanying the third wave of computing: complexity, sustainability, surveillance and privacy, information rights, overload and overconnectivity, and more.
In this presentation, the key issue is that of approaching the design of the ubiquitous city as a matter of topology. Design here must meet an ongoing and exceedingly complex interactivity among environmental, technical, social and personal multiplicities of urban nodes on the move. This presentation focuses on the design of a busy traffic intersection in the South Korean u-city Songdo. The discussion whether and how Songdo may be approached via design as topology primarily considers the situation, event, and experience in which multiplicities of environmental, technical, and human interactants tend towards gathering and dispersing in a single mixed reality street transport scenario. The need for ‘intelligent’ ad hoc connection, routing, and disconnection of multitudes of humans, technical systems, and environmental entities makes this scenario one of the more crucial design test beds for u-cities and increasingly mobile network societies and their migrant citizenry.
It is demonstrated that design as topology offers significant resources with respect to traits of the u-city such as continuous material and energetic flows, its environmental landscaping of mixed realities, its ongoing virtual and physical infrastructural developments, the folding and unfolding of its architecture, its nodal dynamics, and the relational mobilities at stake. However, this chapter also questions design as topology as an approach when it comes to decisive aspects of urban finitude: citizens’ lived experiences, concretization of urban ICT, and sustainability.

5 Feb 2015

Event (Conference)

TitleZwischen Allgegenwart und Unsichtbarkeit
LocationBrandenburgisches Zentrum für Medienwossenschaften

ID: 131076629