GE:Evolving Urban Description

Evolving Urban Descriptions will explore the relationship between forms of urban description and their impact as instruments of influence and change. Cities host a range of co-present and colliding ecologies, power structures, shared identities, and individual interpretations. Within the complexity, multiplicity, and dynamism that make up the urban condition, urban actors, from designers to consumers, economists to artists, those in power to those in protest, use various means to build and convey selective descriptions of the city. From strategic diagrams to speculative images and critical narratives, these constructs influence cultural critique, decision-making, and the form of change. Through theoretical writings and case studies, the class will explore how evolutions in forms of description, both media and communication, have opened both new readings of cities and new influence over its physical and social form. This trajectory will provide the basis for individual research projects that explore the influence and potentiality of current and emerging forms of urban description. From modeling complexity, Twitter-based collective activism, to ubiquitous sensing, these are being used by designers, artists, writers, powerbrokers, and those demanding a voice as instruments to affect the dynamic processes of change. Class dialogue will focus on the relationship between the form, author, and audience of these instruments, and their impacts on the evolving form of cities.