Soft Urbanism

Soft Urbanism deals with information/communication processes in space, the soft aspects overlying the urban sprawl.

In architecture’s role of defining and materialising the spaces for social interaction, designing the relationship between the physical and digital public domain is becoming THE challenge: investigating the relation and interconnection of the ‘soft’ city with its finite material counterpart, the living environment, speculating about interfaces between the ‘virtual’ and the material urban world, and designing hybrid (analog-digital) communication spaces.

Research, Concept, Urban and Architectural Design Soft Urbanism © Hybrid Space Lab, Berlin, 1 December 1995

Under the pavement
(piercing the beaches)
run
fiberglass cables.

Soft
Urbanism

In architecture’s role of defining and materialising the spaces for social interaction, designing the relationship between the physical and digital public domain is becoming THE challenge: investigating the relation and interconnection of the ‘soft’ city with its finite material counterpart, the living environment, speculating about interfaces between the ‘virtual’ and the material urban world, and designing hybrid (analog-digital) communicational spaces.

Soft Urbanism deals with information/communication processes in public space, the soft aspects overlying the urban sprawl and modifying it: the invisible networks acting as attractors, transforming the traditional urban structure, interweaving, ripping open and cutting through the urban tissue, demanding interfaces.

Soft Urbanism not only intervenes in the realm of infrastructures, but also adopts their concept and follows their paradigm. It brings an inherently flexible approach by expanding the field of possibilities of social interaction and opening new paths of urban development. It is therefore not about determining places, but about creating frameworks for processes of self-organisation. Not accepting powerlessness in the face of the forces of the market, Soft Urbanism rethinks the strategies of interventions to reintroduce programmatic speculations about the public domain in urbanism.

The interventions will not be about control and determination, but about expanding infrastructures, frameworks for processes of self-organisation. ‘Soft’ strategies will be ‘bottom-up’ strategies: rather than defining first the global result of the interaction and then determining the necessary relation between the elements in order to produce that interaction (which would be a ‘top-down’ approach), simple rules for a set of independent elements will be developed and what emerges from the interaction of these elements is aleatory. According to biological models, these fields of interaction of plural forces could serve as a reservoir for the selection processes needed for the urban transformations.

“The new city presupposes that the cables of the interhuman relations are switched reversibly, not in bundles as with television, but in real networks, respons(e)ibly, as in the telephone network.
These are technical questions; and they are to be solved by urbanists and architects.”

related PROJECTS

NatureTecture

The international travelling exhibition NatureTecture presents the fields of landscape architecture in all their breadth and relevance.
The exhibition is based on landscape architectural expertise from North Rhine-Westphalia and refers to examples of landscape architecture from NRW.
NatureTecture focuses on those fields of work that will become increasingly important internationally for the design of our living environments and formulates relevant questions for the future.
The NatureTecture exhibition is dedicated to the tasks and instruments of qualifying landscape in the post-industrial age.
The international travelling exhibition on the fields of work of landscape architecture is organized by the Chamber of Architects of North Rhine-Westphalia with the support of the Ministry of Building and Transport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Concept NatureTecture @ Chamber of Architects, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, 1 September 2009
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Chamber of Architects, Düsseldorf, Germany 11 Februar -17 March 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the European Union, Berlin, Germany, 9 June-12 July 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Chamber of Architects of Jeollabuk-Do Province (KIRA Jeonbuk), Republic of Korea, 1 September- 4 September 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Building Culture Fair Daejeon 2010, Republic of Korea, 14-19 October 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Architecture and Urbanism Fair Gwangju, Republic of Korea, 3-7 November 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ Turkish Chamber of Architects of the Metropolis of Istanbul, Turkey, 26 November-10 December 2010
Exhibition NatureTecture @ 20th Anniversary of German Reunification, Busan, Republic of Korea, 8-14 December 2010