Urban borders Honorable mention
Work title: The Web & the Urban Ground Plane (0000701450)
[ think space ] _ the web & the urban ground plane
‘ by giving himself up to the movement of the streets, be reducing himself to a seeing eye, he was able to escape the obligations to think, and this, more than anything else, brought him a measure of peace, a salutary emptiness within. ’
paul auster _ city of glass
[ question ] What becomes of the urban ground plane in the developed world once the World Wide Web has replaced it as the basic platform for economic and social interaction?
Prior to the late 20th century, the urban ground plane was the main organizer of daily life acting as a stage for economic exchange and social interaction. The street was a place for one to get lost in the process of serendipitously encountering the diversity of the city.
Over the last 20 years, the Web replaced the street as the organizer of economic and social exchange in cities of the developed world. Initially, the Web suggested the opportunity for an open platform to discover and share information that one would otherwise not be exposed to. However, recently there has been a shift is away from browsing the Web, and toward running single-purpose apps on small mobile devices tailoring to one’s specific needs and interests.
Writing in 2010 in Wired magazine, Chris Anderson states that, ‘Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semi-closed platforms that use the internet for transport but not the browser for display.’
In certain ways, urban life today consists of people occupying a small number of physical locations in the city (home, office, etc.) and being able to conduct interactions with others digitally from those locations. Taking this condition in combination with the partitioning of the Web to specific needs,the city has lost any space for encountering difference. No longer are people engaged with
physical existence in the city, but they only observe it from a distance in terms of abstract maps,statistics and diagrams.
In section, the city has been divided into three layers: 1 > infrastructure existing below the city and the only currently viable function of the ground 2 > the abstract layers of digital communication accounting for all major human interaction 3 > the ground existing between these two layers as an unused zone of transition
[ thesis ] Contrasting the detached synthetic environment of the digital space, the street should become a place to engage with physical existence and phenomena through the wild immersive
quality of nature.
Working with the vocabulary of landscape in terms of the creation of an immersive environment; orchestration of dynamic productive processes, and engagement (expression) of natural phenomena; this project returns the ground to a state of nature. However, this nature is not necessarily beautiful, but instead wild and sometimes dangerous.
In modernist urban planning, nature was integrated into the city only for its picturesque quality. Landscape was geometrically arranged and controlled in order to produce a specific visual effect.
Contrasting this approach, this project utilizes the wild aspects of nature in order to: 1 > connect people with natural processed that are part of their urban environment 2 > create a immersive
space for physical drift through the city 3 > integrate elements of instability and change into the city 4 > utilize opportunities where natural systems and processes can contribute to the enhancement of human life.