“Smart City”, is an expression of the Information Age, a period dominated by the accumulation of information, its organization, and transmission through centralized monitoring systems or desktop computers. The Information Age saw the role of architects and urbanists in generating visions for the city’s future start to fade and the Smart/Future City was theorized, described and developed by IT companies, who dominated the knowledge and access in technological advancements.
Today’s advances create a scenario where technology has started to be embedded in our everyday life in such ways that it is becoming part of our bodies and surrounding environment, hence overcoming the desktop era. Architecture transforms into an evolutionary organism, able to react in real time to various data, finally questioning the solid principles of durability, stability or longevity.
Wearable and virtual reality technologies allow us to relate to each other and with the environment at augmented levels. New softwares and hardwares expand the possibilities of the internet of things, connecting object and users in spatial experiences: spaces are interacting with our body and neuro data, and building skins are becoming hyper connected interfaces. At the same time, DIY and open source cultures push towards the democratization of technologies and production means, bringing them closer to users, allowing them to actively participate through an experiential peer-to-peer learning and making process.
These epochal changes bring us to question, imagine and try to describe what is coming for cities after the Information Age, when technology is not just a catalyst, but the foundation for social interaction, opening the way to deeper urban spatial and learning synergies. “Urbanism in the Experience Age” proceedings publication collects research and projects that envision how Information Age is giving way to an Experience Age, characterized by high levels of physical interaction and emotional involvement in urban and built environments.
What are the new aspects and factors of spatial performance and user actions within such a shift?
How will emerging communication and inter-communication models in agglomerations affect their urban environments?
In this context, the Urbanism in the Experience Age publication claims a renewed active role for architects: the objective is to go beyond the limitations of the “Smart City” vision, investigating “Advanced Urbanism”, intended as the practice of designing and planning receptive and reactive spaces, rather than the mere application of technological systems. Such a vision requires to rethink our design tools and planning processes, as well as the invitation to revise the educational models surrounding urban sciences.
The Responsive Cities Symposium / Urbanism in the Experience Age has been carried out under the Knowledge Alliance for Advanced Urbanism – KAAU (www.ka-au.net) EU co-funded project. Based on the assumption that the increasing availability of data creates new opportunities not only for monitoring and management, but also for changing the way we describe, understand and design cities, KAAU is seeking to promote the innovative education and training that emerging technologies require, developing courses, symposiums and an educational and training platform.