Domesticated Public Space

Domestication Will Shape Future Public Spaces
A Report from Rotterdam

This commentary aims to provide a window on the future by studying actions, taken to control the spreading of the coronavirus, while obviously affecting public space over a year. What have been the effects on public space directly linked to these actions during the pandemic; what values play a role, and what can we expect for the future? We have seen how immediate responses induced by the COVID-19 crisis influences traveling, gathering, and public life in general. Now, it is time to look further. Having a base-point in Rotterdam and taking The Netherlands as an example, the commentary argues that some shifts in using, appropriating, and experiencing public space will remain. Yet, mainly
those not just being immediate responses to sudden societal change, rather those which
are embedded in long-term change.

Read Open Access Article: Harteveld, Maurice (2020) “Domestication Will Shape Future Public Spaces”, The Journal of Public Space, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 53-66. doi: https://doi.org/10.32891/jps.v5i3.1379.

B1ts of Publ1c Space

As an opening for the Bits of Public Space 3.0 webinar, I have taken the audience along with a short story.

Imagine: You are walking in a public space, and you are using your navigation app to meet at a place, which your friends suggested a few seconds ago on WhatsApp. Your headset is on. Noise is reduced. While walking, you’re traced and tracked; the shortest and fastest route is recalculated continuously, In the mean, a health app may record your cycles, Spotify remembers your music preferences, many other web-data fuel the algorithms, …and synchronically all kinds of devices around you sense your environment too. Every detail is collected for third-parties. Also webcams and what looks like cctv register where you are. They monitor your moves and avoid the unexpected to happen. This morning, the weather app has announced rain. Indeed, while clouds make it shimmer, your smart screen illuminates, and lamps turn on.

You’re still walking… People don’t walk close. This makes you think of what you have read this morning: In some cities, drones are measuring social distance, today, and if too close, through image recognition big brother sends you a fine. – In the mean, a car is passing by smoothly. Your mind links it to the lecture on self-driving vehicles. They are keeping distance automatically… “Who is behind the wheel, btw?” You can’t see. Humanoids, perhaps…? Anyways.

Back to your walk. You have to pay attention for a minute to the surrounding, while you are crossing a street. (Small sensors, have made traffic lights turn green for you.) You are starting to be curious to the place where your friends are waiting. They have been involved in the redesign of this meeting space. Some years ago, one would outline public spaces with computer-aided design. You remember how outcomes have always been presented in ‘sunny’ artist impressions. But, during its realisation, budget restrains always made such a plan somewhat more realistic… Today is a different world. Tools are innovating, and include components ranging from environmental analysis to robotic control. The old outlines may still work… Yet, simulations of human behaviour in space helps to understand complexity. The design of public space can be informed more accurately by our updated models, and digital twins. Automation and print-on-demand can still make old dreams happen. You have seen new video presentations of the place, where you’re heading to, on the internet; they are quite realistic. You’re convinced as a designer, your imagination benefits the people, but alike your friends, nobody is alone in design. Online meetings are integrating viewpoints of other experts and novice users. Webinars are bringing people, ideas, and living rooms, closer together. It may be enriching. Yet, the design of your friends may never be finished. Invitations by Zoom, Meets, Facetime, Webex, Slack, Trello, Miro, Messeger, or Teams are following up. #multionline #haveitall – Also, participatory platforms have invited as many users as possible, to join VR sessions and visit the augmented space, to be. Some of the users have replied and have worked within the framework of your friends, their concept of the future. But for some it was not enough… On Insta, some users have found a better idea. As pro-active citizens, they have organised themselves on social media, via transnational networks and microblogging they have got more inspiration. Tutorials have helped them to learn the trick. Public space design changes in a kind of grassroots development, including peer-2-peer exchange of probably two unfamiliar neighbours. The one simply likes gardening, the other orders always outdoor stuff on discount pages. The pro-active group of users co-create and make the space theirs.

Thoughts fade away; You’re still walking…. Happy you. You are almost there, at the meeting place, where everybody seems active. You see your friends coming near. It’s a really nice place. Not as slick as you thought before, but you like it! “We would have liked to introduce a moving beam here…” on of your friend says: “People would love to sit on such a thing, really.” “It adjusts its position and form in accordance to their moods and likes”, the other adds… – You reply dry: “This bench works for me too”. While you are scanning the surrounding facades for heritage details, your friends starts to discuss hyperrealities, and phygital spaces …endlessly. In the mean, you are distracted by a piece of planting in front of you. It is a bid unorganised, and it seems organically grown, obviously added by the community. It looks like one of those greens, which you must have seen in ‘Spaceship Earth’, the movie, which you screened on your laptop, pay-per-view, during the opening night of the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam, last month. After a long chat on the ‘future on being’, you really want to leave again. Your eyes are dry and your mind is tired. You are suggesting to play more together next time and relax a bit. You have heard that they have launched a brilliant new ‘massive multiplayer online role-playing game’ Then everybody leaves, and walks away

This is the end of my story…

What do you think: How have you listened to the story: Have you been walking and talking in reality? Or was it your avatar in cyberspace? Near everything in this story is out there. It affects your profession everyday as an designer. Everything is existing as real space as well as virtual space

This story is recorded with a live audience via YouTube on Friday, November 5th, 2.00 – 9:00am CET. – The webinar has been part of the initiative the POLIS Urbanism and Landscape Architecture Week, of Polis

Bits of Public Space

Physical Public Space X Virtual Space

Urban designers and landscape architects observe physical public spaces as spaces that are able to accommodate accidental meetings, reveal places’ identity, provide impulsive on the spot choices, and allow human-nature interaction through wind or sunshine. However, the recent crisis unfolds the intertwining between physical public space and virtual space. During two days, we focus on the shift of the planner’s outlook on physical public space and virtual space.

Join the webinars!
When: Thursday, November 5 and 6, 9.00am – 6.00pm CET
> Registration


Continue reading

Among Academic Avatars


The opening of another academic year, but – in 2020 – Delft students, academics, and others met in a replica virtual campus while searching for the TU Delft flames in a game.

Resilient Communities | Community Resilience

Short keynote and debate exploring both the idea of resilient communities as well as of community resilience(s). Whereas sociological resilience is defined as the ability to recover from change, alike ecological resilience and technological resilience, community resilience applies to the ability of a specific community to maintain a healthy state in response to similar destabilising influences. This presumes a few simple subsets of abilities, which have been explained during the Peccioli Conferenza. If we know what are community resiliencies, we may know what are resilient communities. Particularly this, more so improving such resiliencies, may be seen as an investment in the human capital.


Peccioli Conferenza, spazi di Fonte Mazzola, 4 November 2019

Integrated Mobility Challenges

Exploring Sustainable Urban Integration Approaches
in Future Metropolitan Areas

The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), the Delft Deltas, Infrastructures & Mobility Initiative (DIMI), the University of Paris-Est and ARENA Architectural Research Network join Delft University of Technology in the organisation of the interdisciplinary 2018 Summer School: Integrated Mobility Challenges in Future Metropolitan Areas. This is a follow up of Making the Metropolis edition held in Amsterdam in August 2017 and the Stations of the Future event held in Paris in March 2018.

Integrated Mobility Challenges will explore interdisciplinary approaches towards a sustainable urban integration of rail-metro stations. At the main point of intersection between the railway and the city, stations are key elements of the organization of the intermodal transport but also catalysts of urban developments. The main question will be: which approaches and scenarios can be tested and applied to these intermodal nodes, particularly when dealing with lack of space and growing number of users? By using Amsterdam (case of Sloterdijk station area) as test-bed and design location you will exchange knowledge and apply different strategies of sustainable solutions.

When
From 21st to 28th August 2018

Where
Delft University of Technology (NL) with fieldwork in Amsterdam (NL)

Target Group
60 researchers or young professionals and master students in Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Environmental Design and Sciences, Landscape Architecture, Transport, Infrastructure and Logistics, and related disciplines.

More information can be found here: Summer School Integrated Mobility Challenges

UPDATE: See also Metropolitan Stations and Stations as Nodes

Mastering the Metropolis

As the majority of the world population is living in cities today, urban environments have become a place for many people. We are obliged to aim at sustainability and safeguard people’s quality of life, and human wellbeing. These challenges are motivating science and society to approach metropolises differently. Advanced metropolitan solutions to overcome problems are being made possible by today’s revolution of new technologies, theories and methods. But no actor or stakeholder can make metropoles move in one certain direction. Metropolitan solutions require cooperation between knowledge institutes, companies, governments, between cities, citizens and civil society.

The new MSc programme Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering (MADE) integrates analysis, design and engineering in the sphere of the flows in the city; the physical, digital and social environments; and the city and its citizens. As full master programme, the MSc MADE prepares students to be specialised on one hand and an integrator on the other. A MADE graduate will be able to create synergy between specialists from other disciplinary backgrounds. You can make a cross-over too!

MSc MADE

The new trans- and interdisciplinary programme will be offered as a joint degree programme by Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University. It is built on their joint research activities, and consolidated in their participation together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS).
Continue reading

Entering a Living Lab

In a fast urbanising world, cities and metropolitan regions increasingly face challenges of sustainability and quality of life challenges that put at risk issues of mobility and logistics, water and waste management, energy and food security, health and wellbeing. A new two-year master programme Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering (MSc MADE) integrates analysis, design and engineering; the physical, digital and social environments; and the city and its citizens. These challenges are motivating science and society to approach metropoles differently. Advanced metropolitan solutions are being made possible by today’s revolution of new technologies, theories and methods. But no actor or stakeholder can make metropoles move in one certain direction. Metropolitan solutions require cooperation between knowledge institutes, companies, governments, between cities, citizens and civil society.

2016 0414 AMS Institute LivingLab Amsterdam
Continue reading