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— urbantick

Tag "bodySpace"

The term urban is widely considered to be equivalent to busy, bustling or crowded. It is synonymous with active and associated with density, services and manmade physical structures.

The extend of all these aspects however is very much a subjective quality rather than a quantity. In large parts these expectations are conditioned through experience and vary greatly depending on location and context.

If the conditions are disrupted however they generate a moment of surprise. Very much so the video Urban Isolation by Russell Houghten. Where is everybody? The backdrop of massive infrastructure suggests otherwise, but the streets are empty. An earlier post refers to the same topic with work from photographer Matt Logue.

Video taken by Russell Houghten on Vimeo.

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Autonomous home delivery is on the rise. McKinsey predicted in 2016 already that 80% of the good will be delivered by autonomous vehicles. The trend is still towards speedy deliveries such as instant and same day for which consumers are willing to pay significant premiums. Hence this is a big market. Even though currently in London Amazon is in most cases no longer capable of delivering same day or even next day. There seem to be limits to the expandability of deliveries.

The big driver behind deliveries is of course e-commerce. Bloomberg reports and predicts that the market will reshape by 2040. Online shopping, household goods, cloth and groceries are big business. However, both cloth and groceries are unlikely to be autonomous deliveries for people want the crates to be brought up to the doorstep and get an instant refund on unwanted items. But all else is content for to be delivered autonomously.

Animation taken from Meg Kelly/NPR / Starship’s autonomous delivery box under way in the urban context.

starship robot

Tests are underway in various locations in the US and also in the UK and elsewhere. Southwark, a south London council is running a pilot scheme with Starship Technologies to deliver locally with the fleet of Starship’s own autonomous six-wheel vehicles.

Image taken from Piaggio Fast Forward press kit / Gina is shown following a person in an urban context.

These Self-Driving Delivery Robots are also being manufactured and tested by other companies, such as Marble, Nuro and , competing on this “last mile” of the delivery. Gregg Lynn design worked for Piaggio Fast Forward to develop Gina as their answer to granular mobility. The space between the customer and the warehouse. Interestingly those two locations are pretty much the only physically relevant locations within all of this. The rest of the everyday activities are increasingly becoming ubiquitous in the sense that they are transferable and pop-up doings. Things like food, work, exercise, play are being app managed with user accounts working across device and location. For goods delivery, however, location still matters and start-ups are competing for this slot. The term “last-mile” is quite fitting.

Driverless machines taking over the urban spaces and increasingly starting to shape the urban space is to be expected. Physically there will be the introduction of lanes for autonomous delivery vehicles, sort of bus line style or special parking regulations for drop off of and pick up. Of much more interest is the mental and experiential makeup of urban space in the wake of robot-delivery. The bodySpace of the urban fabric of older days. Is the world shrinking or expanding is there going to be more or less space between the warehouse and the customer?

Image taken from archiobjects / View of the High Rise City Project, L. Hilberseimer, 1924

It might bring us closer to the post city landscape where time and location no longer define the urban context but free up the space between entities. Thus creating a cross between Ludwig Hilberseimer’s High Rise City (1924) and Decentralized City (1944)? With the driving forces missing behind the urban concept new forms of spatial configurations and spatial order will become necessary and desirable. Will we be able to escape the modernist city through ultra mechanisation?

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If we start with Petra Kempf’s publication ‘You Are The City‘ we jump straight into the discussion about the personal expression in the urban environment. Clearly this has become dramatically individualised and
and citizens have grown into roles as independent user, aspiring for flexibility and uniqueness.
The technological development in the recent years, month actually, is fuelling these developments. Here individuality turns into solitary and disconnectednes with the latest app telling you whats happening around you. Interaction becoming the biggest thing as long as we don’t need to talk to anyone.

The urban landscape is turning from a servicescape in to a stagescape for individuals to produce themselves as the latest celebrity. Interaction becomes one directional, the famous show off to be looked at, the ultimate aspiration.

The individualisation obviously is a very big topic in the media and some recent project are quite cleverly employing this trend to the point of questioning its real existence.

For example the current aviva campaign puts the individual in to the centre. On the website http://www.youarethebigpicture.com/ they started a collection of portraits, with the option to draw in your facebook image, as a representation of personal commitment and support. The great thing is the personalised video clip everyone gets as a sort of gift. The uploaded image is embedded in the clip and everyone has the chance to appears big in the city.

In fact aviva actually is running live projections of the submitted images in cities around the world. Some have ended, but on the page you have access to the recorded time lapse.

Another effort is made by the Dentsu London media company. They have recently had some really exciting project utilising the latest technologies with quite visionary content. See for example the iPad illumination clip.

THey were also looking into the personalisation of the city environment and visualised their ideas in two animated clip, sort of augmented visualisations. Their claim goes beyond the content, but this doesn’t matter at the moment I guess.

The basic idea is to utilise and augment existing objects and surfaces with personalised content and information. The desire to keep up to date with the latest social networking news, updates, notifications and tweets. Some of the idea are quite interesting, especially the ones that aim at linking the individual back to the physical context. It is very simple, but for example the Dentsu train ticket idea is a different take on the location awareness trend.

There is a lot of potential in this trend to personalise the everyday environment. There might be individual benefit and surprises to be discovered for everyone. However it might be not as new as it would like to be. But it is certainly a new take on the everyday routines and a chance to embed it with the aspired independence and individuality of our current culture. Definitely the city is the playground.

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The ever changing perspective as we navigate the urban landscape is an important feature influencing the perception and in many ways influences how the space we create as we go along are experienced. It’s not as if the street is existing, but it is renewed every time as a recreation of itself with a specific take.

Buildings feature in this process consciously as a back drop and the immediate focus is put on the objects whizzing about, to avoid potential collisions. The trajectories of these has to be continuously monitored and one’s own path adjusted accordingly. It is a sort of negotiation between the elements that make use of their power to take decisions and with it continuously generate situations.

However, this consuming activity might in the long run is not be the main focus. Unconsciously the main focus might lay on the static frame and the defining elements as parameters of the room for action.

In this beautiful time lapse Theo Tagholm shows an interpretation of this spatiality of places from the perspective of one subject.

As it says in the description “I drift, half awake, half asleep. Moving through the city I recall but have never been to.”
The clip is produced by Theo Tagholm, a video artist. He’s got some other great video work. As linked here earlier with the clip Still Moving.

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The spatial manifestation of presence, such as ownership, power or usage is commonly clearly and durable regulated in stable societies. The practice has sort of merged with the everyday routines and is hardly notable. There might be the odd neighbours dispute over a garden shed, a tree or a parke car but largely the boundaries are in place and not negotiable on a individual or even personal level. In a sense they are accepted as a sort of pre existing spatial institution.
Boundaries do change in shape and ownership. Usually lager pieces, such as plots of land, if they are not public, are traded as a good on the market, payed for and sealed with a contract. So pretty save stuff here.

This is however only a condition and depends on the accepted practice.

In a brand new 010 publication by Malkit Shoshan exactly these conditions and practices are examined. Shoshan meticulous works his way through the spatial extends and manifestations of the Israel-Palestine conflict over the past 100 years. The book ‘Atlas of the Conflict – Israel-Palestine‘ maps out the processed and mechanisms behind the shaping of the area over the past century.

Atlas of the Conflict 02
Image taken from Atlas of the Conflict 010 Publishers / Spread 132-133, chapter 3, showing the pattern of settlements by size.

The conflict is a constant topic in the western news with its ebbs and flows. Sometimes the coverage is more intense and then it fades away again, depending mainly on the involvement of western authorities or individuals. The last wave of prolonged news coverage flicked across our screens this past May 31, as the ship convoy, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, tried to reach the Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian aid and suplies. Over 700 People from 37 different countries were aboard to support the mision, including Britons. The Israeli special force Shayetet 13 brutally stopped the convoy, killed nine of the passengers and injured dozens. The goods did not reach the destination. This act was widely criticized and dominated the news for a couple of day and it faded away again.

However the extend and the implications of this conflict are hard to grasp by following these only doted coverages. The news stories are usually quite narrated and in comparison to this the Atlas of the Conflict ha a very different approach. It is promising to develop an objective overview through mapping and factual documentation. Factual we can most likely expect from the large news channels, but the comprehensive mapping really offers a new perspective on this entangled situation.

This book is not the first attempt to map out this topic. For example there is the ‘The Routledge atlas of the Arab-Israeli conflict‘ and other earlier book dating back to the eighties or early nineties. In this sense it is time for a new publication with a fresh approach.

Atlas of the Conflict 01
Image taken from Atlas of the Conflict 010 Publishers / Spread 414-415, lexicon, showing the evolution of the wall erected by Israel along the border to Palestine.

The collection of maps is extensive. The book boosts a massive 500 maps and illustrations, detailing different aspects. It puts things into places, context and more importantly into relation to each other. The developed context is however very limited, it hardly goes beyond the ever changing borderlines of the Israeli state. It does however go into a lot of detail on the inside of the border line and puts things on the maps such as infrastructures and demographics.

The publication is organised into two parts. The first part is mapping, mapping, mapping, putting the information into beautifully simplified maps, often reduced to icons. In the second part the author presents a lexicon of selected objects, topics, facts and figures to intensify and narrate the topics presented in the maps section. The two sections are interlinked with page numbers to offer option for nonlinear reading of the atlas. This element however works only one way, from the maps section to the lexicon section.

As hinted above the design of this publication are outstanding and do set standards. There is no other way to put it. Behind this is again Joost Grootens who was already responsible for the design of ‘Atlas of the New Dutch Water Defense Line‘, reviewed here earlier. Through out the book the design works with a three colour colour scheme. Blue is used for Israeli information, brown for Palestine information and black for general info. The illustrations are very often reduced in detail and information to be mainly an icon. This is extremely beautiful and makes this publication a pleasure to brows. However it also struggles at times with the odd non fitting design problem, but thats part of the game.

The overall size of the publication is at first surprising. For an atlas it is very small and more a sort of pocket atlas. This especially in comparison to the oversize ‘Atlas o the New Dutch Water Defence Line’.

A striking speciality of the publication’s approach to document the conflict over the last 100 years is the largely absent topic of religion and individual destiny. Shoshan explains in the introduction how she started investigating the spatiality of the conflict and it can be assumed that it is a very conscious decision to exclude these topics in order to enable a different access to the conflict as a whole.

While reading through the publication and studying the maps, a very strong sense of temporality of space, land and even country started to emerge. Even though the maps and illustrations are very static and by definition exclude temporality, a story of the conflict started to emerge of which spatial practice of an idea was the key player. All of a sudden it became clear that a country, the land and the people are not one and the same thing. But all have their own very different theoretical interpretation and reading, but also practice.

The practices and strategies employed in this conflict appear in this presentation as tools and mechanics of an extremely theoretical vison of a myth to try and bring the three element of country, land and people together.

Atlas of the Conflict 03
Image taken from Atlas of the Conflict 010 Publishers / Spread 154-155, chapter 4, showing two typologies of Israeli spatial practice, the ‘Wall and Tower and the ‘Moshava’. Both are two ways of settling to claim ownership of the land.

Through out, but foremost in my favorite section, chapter 4, the utilisation and manipulation of the population through spatial planning and strategies is portrayed in depth. Chapter 4 introduces the typologies of settlements on an almost architectural scale and illustrate how individuals are misused for a bigger cause, as pins on a map, as shields, as metaphor, as demonstration, but not as humans.

As a technique of spatiality this illustrates how important or more so fundamental the presence of human being is, to value the spatial dimension. It could be argued that this publication, not intentionally, but as a by product, shows how important the individual act of creation, space making is, as recognised and institutionalised by the Israeli government.

The list of examples and fascinating details that could be put forward here is really long. There are so many moments while reading this book where you go ah…, uh…, yes! and things, you have heard from the sporadic news over the years, all of sudden make sense in a wider context. By definition Shoshan excluded the narratives and stories, but cleans and reassembles the base map for the news, tales, fact, information, tales and events we hear elsewhere. The book might not be as objective as it would like to be, but it as objective as possible an this makes this atlas also worthwhile in another context.

Atlas of the Conflict 03
Image taken from 010 Publishers / Cover of the atlas of the Conflict – Israel-Palestine.

Shoshan, M., 2010. Atlas of the Conflict – Israel-Palestine, Rotterdam: 010 Publishers.

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Space and the creation of, has occupied lately a lot of space on the blog. For the approaching weekend a fascinating clip that throws up an extended question ‘the origin of mass’ after the Higgs Boson particle which is expected to provide a scientific foundation for the origin of mass in the universe. For it find this clip really suitable. For not to say I love it.
Aleksandar Rodic created the clip for his animation class at Savannah College of Art and Design.

The Origin of Mass from Aleksandar Rodic on Vimeo.

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I have been talking a lot recently about the creation of space as a synthesis of body and body movement. The idea is directly linked to observations or better visualisation method used for the UrbanDiary data.
The track log is simply points with a lat/long coordinate and a time stamp. However it can be assumes that around this location up to certain distance, depending on physical objects, the environment is experienced. Regarding the sequencing along the clock time information, these experience multiply and over time create a spatial corridor.
Purely by thinking of the body as a physical object moving you can imagine the same creation of ‘space’. This idea heavily draws on the use of memory, of the fading ‘space’ and the imagination of possible ‘spaces’.
To illustrate this idea of choreographed movement here is a series of dance moves that create the space along a clearly defined stepping sequence.
Image taken from chas.utoronto.ca – T’ai-chi footwork

The instruction to Thriller – taken from Nada Mas

For the Thriller instruction here is the original for more facial expression! check it out.

Thriller from Mauro Firmo on Vimeo.

If you have noting to do over the weekend here is the step by step youtube instruction.

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The discussion around space is a complex topic and it seems that architects and planners are amongst the people having the biggest difficulties defining it. The reason might be lent two the fact that they have to deal with a unequal pair or space as in the construction of physical objects as well as the creation of space as a resulting void. This shall not be read as a final definition of the nature of space. It is only a attempt to collect some examples on the discussion around space.
I would like to start with the widely accepted idea of the figure ground representation of built form. I believe this technique is derived from the Nolli plan of Rome, invented by Giambattista Nolli and published in 1748. In essence it is the representation of physical form in black, leaving the void (space) in between white.

Image taken from the Nolli Map Engine 1.0 by James Tice and Eric Steiner

You guessed it, this is the ultimate claim of objectivity implemented in the plan. However, usually it is claimed o be in use only for visualisation and communication purposes. Nevertheless it also contains the implementation of truth and the establishment of power through the plan.
Bill Hillier describes space in his book ‘Space is the Machine’ 1996 as: “Space is, however, a more inherently difficult topic than physical form, for two reasons. First, space is vacancy rather than thing, so even its bodily nature is not obvious, and cannot be taken for granted in the way that we think we can take objects for granted” (Hillier 1996, p 26). He continues however with “Space is quite simply, what we use in buildings” (Hillier 1996, p 28). And finally he comes up with an astonishing example of a spatial description (and this is the reason it stands in this context to the Nolli plan).

Image by Hillier, taken from Space is the Machine, Fig 1.22 on page 30

For me this image represents two things. For one this is the statement of intent to follow the tradition of the Nolli figure-ground representation as the visualisation for space, and secondly it raises the question of what exists outside the black line. To some extend, I think, the question is answered with the implied assumption that space is taken in a Euclidean sense as a container, a box that you can put things in and arrange them – boxSpace.
In architecture many famous example of the employment of the Nolli Plan can be found. See for example Ado Rossi.
His take on architecture and the representation has largely influenced the Soglio study and the in this context developed representation techniques. The study on alpine architecture in the village of Soglio in Switzerland was conducted by the Institute of Architecture of the University of Applied Science Basel and lead by Michael Alder.

Image taken from ‘Soglio – Siedlungen und Bauten’ – Ground Floor whole settlement

This example takes the idea of figure-ground to the level of the settlement. It completely relies on the rule of accessibility as the guide for spatial representation. In this sense it is what Hillier is talking about in his example. Space is the vacancy between for the human body impenetrable material (I should say object here I guess). In this sense you could probably also call it an accessibility map or a walking guide.
This is then how Hillier introduces the space syntax concept of space description, as a sequence of, for the human body, accessible spaces.
He says: “…related space, almost by definition, cannot be seen all at once, but require movement from one to other to experience the whole” (Hillier 1996, p 26). Interesting here for me is that to some extend this raises some critique on the figure-ground idea of space, as it employees movement ‘to experience the whole’. But more of this in a following post.

As a physical manifestation of this concept here an example I recently came across on A Daily Dose of Architecture. In some sense this is the above space Box concept in built, including the fabrication and installation process.

Images by FNP – The project ‘S(ch)austall’ as published by DBZ-online

Alder, M. & Giovanoli, D., 1997. Soglio: Siedlungen und Bauten / Insediamenti e construzioni 2nd ed., Birkhäuser Basel.
Hillier, B., 1996. Space Is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture, New York: Cambridge University Press.

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I am currently very fascinated by everything machine. We’ll as you can guess or experience your self there is very little that would not fall into this category, in terms of conception. However this might also simply be a preconditioned view through the glasses of the ticking ticking ticking blog topic with the idea of cycles and rhythms.
What ever it is here is an update to an other post on the human machine, referring to concepts picturing the body as a machine. Famously Fritz Kahn stands for the most complete work of this idea.

Image by Anatomies by Fernando Vicente – Illustration in the style of Fritz Kahn

However there is a beautiful project by Henning Lederer to animate the drawings of Fritz Kahn and brings them to life. It was produced as an university Master project, details on HERE. Detailed project information can be downloaded as a PDF. Henning also writes a very fascinating blog on everything related to the topic of machines and animation with a string of beautiful examples.

Der Mensch als Industriepalast [Man as Industrial Palace] from Henning Lederer on Vimeo.

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In the 3D max post post I wrote about a script to import GPS data directly into 3D studio max.It was developed here in CASA with a focus on using it in the UK. Due to the interest of people in the code we decided to release it for you to use. It is now available to download HERE.
Richard, who developed the code, had to make a few changes for the released version. It has got mainly to do with the transformation. As mentioned earlier it was developed with a focus on the UK, so the implemented transformation was from WGS to OS GB. For a general release this might not make much sense. So for now the released code is a simple factor multiplication on the Lat Long GPS information. For the quick import that should work fine, as long as you are not working on a Max model dealing with large geographical areas like the whole of Africa. For small scale models this should be ok. However, let us know how its work and what you like or what you d’wanted changed.
We are also aware of a problem related to time interpretation. For example if you are using GPS Babel to write the GPX file it will have milliseconds in the format and that might cause the script to report an time interpretation error. You can change it manually in the code, two formats are implemented.

I have just tested the new script with a rather large GPX file of some three month of tracking data, Max really has to work but it comes up with all the points.

Image by urbanTick – GPS track rendered in 3D Studio Max

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