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Online surveillance map Zurich
2009-08-20 12:19:16 - by Nicolas Malevé

«The organising committee of the Big Brother Awards Switzerland has published a map of more than 70 video surveillance cameras in a city district of Zurich (Switzerland). The map was presented on the occasion of a public camera-spotting walk on 10 April 2004, that was organised as part of the annual ’Spring surveillance’ events.

Most of the cameras are installed by private entities, some of them are dummies. The cameras are categorised by a special typology.»

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Interesting maps half-way between architect plans and electric circuitry. Available for download with instructions on how to fold and print. Also notice the effort made for the icons in the legend.

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Visit online

And also other links to surveillance cameras websites.

Urban Versioning System v1.0
2009-08-11 15:45:13 - by Nicolas Malevé

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A quasi-license by Matthew Fuller and Usman Haque.


Take the separate domains of Free Software licenses and of spatial construction. Consider each of them as a series of types of entity, composition and relations. What series might be invented to run across the two of them? This document is a quasi-license. If its constraints are followed in the production of spatial structures, whether buildings or more fleeting constructions, you, and others, will be able to make something new, or reversion something already there and you will be able to express clearly how others can participate or make use of the work you are creating.

The production of structures to articulate, produce and protect space, often coded under the disciplinary term ‘architecture’ is arguably one of humanity’s oldest activities. Countless technologies and legal frameworks have grown along with this process. Formerly one of the most collaborative endeavours, architecture now often functions in opposition to such collaboration. On the one hand it reinforces, and is reinforced by, whatever accretes as the currently dominant political system and some contend that this relationship makes it ineligible as a means for authentically confronting structures of power.i On the other, making buildings is a substantially collaborative effort, always involving teams and multiple kinds of expertise and decision making. All that may be required to free up construction is to render its repertoire of collaboration more expansive. Recent social, cultural and technological developments, particularly in the fields of software and electronics, suggest strategies for productive mechanisms that exist substantially within a given political frameworkyet still are able to provide clear indication of political alternatives. These alternatives in software, Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) are highly pragmatic, do the work required of them but also reinvent forms of production in a way that set up real possibilities for freedom.

Why is this relevant to the making of urban spaces? For the first time in the history of humanity more of us live within cities than outside them.ii It is vital to begin to think through how we can become more consciously involved in their design, production and inhabitation. While there is a concern about how much individuals can, with good purpose, affect their environment it is clear that we are all, collectively, and in ways strongly shaped by the kinds of collectives we form, having some sort of ecological impact. Therefore ways of organising frameworks, in formal or less formal ways, for collectively productive activities are becoming increasingly important to attend to. A discussion of the processes through which humans construct cities could appear to support the argument that there is a distinction between “artificial” and “natural”. In fact it demonstrates the opposite: just as with any non-human entity we collectively construct our ecological and architectural frameworks and these frameworks tend to overlap with those of others. These overlaos have consequences. The difference is (or should be) that we consciously recognise our interdependence and thus must consciously act upon it.

Architecture, which exists at the very moment when space is defined, constructed and experienced through activity, is perhaps the most common shared enterprise of them all. A city is a city if it is lived-in: otherwise it is merely a pile of bricks, cables and concrete. Our interdependence however does not mean that anyone is ‘naturally’ dependent on the current state of cities or societies. The proportion of the earth’s inhabitants ‘depending’ on systems of neo-liberalism or oligarchy, for instance, are rather pitiful compared to the amount of natural and human resources they require to maintain their unabashedly vampiric positions. Such a situation deserves some regeneration.

In order to develop thinking about such interdependence and collaboration we might as well start from where it is blocked. The architectural profession remains relatively steadfast in a distinction that divides designers from users, even though technology increasingly provides grounds for diminishing that distinction, either through networks (electronic, social, geographical) that provide people with better access to cross-collaborative tools and multi-disciplinary inputs or through responsive building technologies that can place people themselves at the helm of the configuration/design of their own spaces.

In the eighties and nineties, computers’ impact on the architectural discipline was in the form of design aids. In the coming decades computers will increasingly be a part of the architecture itself, enabling user-centered interaction systems for configuring environmental conditions. We have already seen systems like those that track movements of the sun to control louvres outside a building, or movements of people to adapt light levels inside a building. We have seen “intelligent” devices that monitor temperature to provide us with optimum levels or even walls that change colour as necessary to complement interior designs. However, innovation in the design and construction of the built environment of the future, appears to be split problematically between large developers (who have their own particular efficiencies of scale to optimise) on one hand, and ubiquitous computing technologists (who are developing the systems that mediate the ways that we relate to our spaces and to each other) on the other, with architects finding themselves somewhat irrelevant. People-centered architectural interfaces and responsive building systems are being developed, not by architects but by computer scientists designers and artists working independently or through numerous institutions, with all the historical and commercial associations that these institutions are party to. .

This document proposes that another lesson can be learned for architecture from computing: the way in which software is made. Here, we want to concentrate on the current most significant mode of software development, Free, Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS), steering clear of ubicomp fantasies that may often obfuscate technological power structures.

Read more.