2017

Critical Imagination

Fernando Ferreira

Barbican on Solitude: a Story of Walking

Walking is a verb that describes the body’s movement traversing a specific surface. Walking is also a practical and theoretical methodology that has been explored by various contemporary artists, architects and art movements, especially since the beginning of the twentieth century. Fernando Ferreira assumed the act of walking as an allegorical and potential narrative at the Barbican. His walk story is unfolds in a three-act structure.

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2016

Critical Imagination

Nurul Azlan

Bersih 4: Street Protests as a Form of City Making

Protesters participate in city making, but what does it mean when protesters refuse to contest the space, and instead choose to politely hover just beyond its boundary?

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Critical Imagination

Rosa Rogina

Call to Action – On How the Political Potential of Architecture can Give Power to a Marginalized Community

Is architecture only a passive reflection of current political matters or can it formulate its own claims, demands, agendas and above all, can architecture use the means of activism to critically engage with broader social and political concerns?

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Critical Imagination

Alberto Vanolo

Urban Branding and the Violent Ghosts of the Politics of Representation

City branding is a relevant issue among urban policy makers. In a nutshell, it refers to the promotion of the image of a city, mostly in order to attract tourists, investments, mega-events, such as the Olympic games, and new wealthy residents, such as the members of the so-called ‘creative class’. This commentary will summarizes some ideas that analyze the politics of representation triggered by the common, and apparently banal, everyday practices of urban branding.

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Critical Imagination

Tobias Revell

Seizing the means of rendering

There is a history of the future written in renderings; images of fantasy assembled as marketing, escapism and policy toolkits.

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Critical Imagination

Kolar Aparna

Lost Cities and Losing oneself in the City

What if we gave up the wish to contain cities and citizenships?

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Critical Imagination

Max Haiven

The Four Faces of Financialization: Cities as a Site of Struggle

In spite of describing an important set of social and economic transformations, the word financialization has become used so frequently and in so many contradictory ways, that it risks becoming as fragile and confusing as other recent buzz-words like globalization, neoliberalism and gentrification. Yet the forces at work behind the term are real and have far reaching impact on citizens, cities, theorists and activists; and we ignore it at our peril.

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2015

Critical Imagination

Brett Scott

Bringing the Jungle to the City

The ambiguities of urban dynamics and the interfaces that connect and disconnect us from the larger context and from each other.

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Critical Imagination

De Ceuvel - Hack the City - Amateur Cities

Edwin Gardner

Hack the City!

A vanguard of architects is not building skyscrapers or concert halls. They are not bothered by having their own signature style. Even aesthetic perfection leaves them cold. The self-conscious designer of modernism, with its unassailable belief in social engineering, is waning. One could say that the new architect is more of a hacker.

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Critical Imagination

Superstudio - Continuous Monument

Tobias Revell

Continuous Monuments and Imaginable Alternatives

This essay aims to connect the world of global homogeny that Superstudio were critiquing with their seminal work ‘The Continuous Monument’ with the modern project of the Smart City and suggest that, particularly with the activation of imagination of technologists, designers, architects and urbanists, this new homogeny might be challenged and alternatives might be imagined.

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Critical Imagination

James Brown - Cage Free

James Brown

Cage Free?

What are the implications of the spirit of late capitalism if it blends work and play, labour and leisure, especially given that this blending happens not only in terms of time but also in terms of space? The coworker’s professional life is distributed across various places (home, co-working space, the occasional office, depending on the project they are working on) and times (smartphones and other portable devices are also part of this ethos). How does this new architecture of professional and personal life reconfigure time and space?

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Critical Imagination

Alberto Vanolo - Amateur Cities- All Cities are Beautiful

Alberto Vanolo

Smart City or The serial reproduction of an urban vision

A couple of months ago I bought a brand new video game console, Sony’s well known PS4. Despite being almost 40, I enjoy video games very much, and I also think that they are relevant cultural products to be carefully considered in the social sciences (I often use such an argument in order to justify my playing). Included in the console package, there was one video game called Watch Dogs, which monopolized my late summer nights.

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Critical Imagination

Chiara Quinzii
Diego Terna

An Old Way of Living, Yet Innovative

The Statement on the International Co-operative Identity ratified by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) in 1995 voices that ‘Co-operatives are based on the values of self-sufficiency, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity’. Nearly 20 years later terms such as ‘self-sufficiency’ have acquired an extensive array of meanings, ranging from energy and food production to the advent of a myriad of types of user-generated multimedia content provided by the so-called web 2.0.

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2014

Critical Imagination

Esto no es un Solar - This is not an urban plot

Chryso Onisiforou

This is not an Urban Plot

Recent conditions of the construction crisis and widespread recession have led us to believe that we live in an era of not only strict economic restrictions and austerity but also and unavoidably, in an age of an irrefutable decreasing of resources.

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Critical Imagination

Amateur Cities

Ania Molenda
Cristina Ampatzidou

On Amateurs

The word amateur has two meanings. One refers to the etymological origin of the word and is derived from French - amateur ‘lover of’ or from Latin - amator ‘lover’. Both come from the verb amare ‘to love’. According to this definition an amateur is a person that engages in a pursuit on an unpaid basis; one would assume – out of passion or love. One might also say that being an amateur is then quite nobilitating and can be associated with social values such as altruism.

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