Smartification and the privatization of public spaces

Mai 7, 2016

The introduction of mobile broadband on a mass scale is often regarded as a technological enhancement of public space: as a new layer added to existing physical spaces that allows for a smarter management of scarce spatial resources or even for the creation of new public spaces by way of the appropriation of otherwise anonymous urban spaces through personalization (and the subsequent sharing of these profiles). But is that really the case? Or is – on the contrary – the ’smart-i-fication‘ of public space the end of public space as we know it? […]

Visual rhetorics of the smart city

Oktober 19, 2015


The concept of ‚making the city smart‘ is propelled ceaslessly in the media, and sometimes even heralded as the ultimate salvation of virtually all urban problems. Under the framework of the CyberParks projekt (COST action TU1306) Catarina Patrício Leitao PhD is joining me at the faculty of architectural theory at TU-Berlin to conduct a short term scientific mission (STSM). During her stay she will research the implications Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have on the procuction und appropriation of urban public spaces, and particularly one emblematic concept: the smart city. Even though  the concept has gotten quasi-omnipresent lately, it is charged with varied and often also conflicting connotations and it all to often remains unclear what it means in concreto. Catarina intends to lay first theoretical traces by way of accessing the penomenon by way of it’s visual rhetorics that manifest in the output of different actors involced in smart city discourses.

Her report on the visit can be found here:

Cyberparks: workshop Barcelona

Dezember 2, 2014


End of November the Cyberparks research group held it’s third meeting at the Department de Geografia at Universitat Autonoma in Barcelona. It was a fruitfull meeting, the organizers managed very well to combine a dense schedule with a tentative exploration of the city. The app with which we intend to research the influence of digital media on urban spaces has made big leaps forward, we were already able to use it for the exploration of two case study areas in Barcelona.

The conceptual reflection-group in which I work has further refined it’s research objectives and it’s collaboration with the other working groups. The analysis of  the relation of digital media and material space through the conceptual trias space (urban parks) — society (network society) — technology (digital media) is still our center of attention, but the focus at the Barcelona meeting was more on the issue of how to install a sort of interface between the conceptual reflection the work in the other working groups. This is naturally a time consuming issue in a research group that diverse, but it’s also a sine qua non. So, with the working groups better geared together we are looking forward to the next meeting in Bristol, UK.


Cyberparks: workshop Lisboa

Juli 1, 2014

whiteboard skribble
I am part of working group 3 ‚conceptual analysis‘ of the european research network Cyberparks. The research project investigates the influence and the entanglement of the proliferation of information and communications technology (ICT) and public spaces, chaired by Carlos Smaniotto Costa from Portugal.
My working group, led by Michiel de Lange, is concerned with the construction and provision of a fluid, common terminology within the project. Not as some prescriptive ‚guardians of language‘, but as curious philosophic therapists in the sense of the later Wittgenstein, we try to compile the central concepts that develop in the course of the project, aiming at a fluid, constructive understanding between the different participants and disciplins involved. Metaphorically speaking, we are translating between differnt parties in order to understand a third party, a party that has not yet formulated its scientific apparatus. […]