urban informatics and data navigation

The mapping of latent urban conditions as a diagnostic tool with which to evolve discourse and develop sites of enquiry for architectural design is becoming transformative to our understanding of them. The increasingly widespread cartographic impulse that pertains to numerous branches of creative practice is coupled with the accessibility, accumulation and mapping of data surrounding the built environment. How this information is transposed and described through maps to reveal characteristics of the urban landscape becomes significant in the pursuit of developing dynamic modes of enquiry, reflecting the flux of the city itself. This type of activity and communication affords instrumentality and interpretation of complex datasets and extant scenarios. Indeed, as we progressively mediate our experience of urban conditions through a variety of digital media, the phenomenal and ephemeral aspects of the city may also experience a transformation that provides opportunities to both understand and negotiate the boundaries and layers that were previously distinct but are evolving a greater coterminous relationship. This shift provided the platform for the research paper ‘Interface and Implementation: negotiating the boundaries between physical landscape and digital territories for architectural design’ presented by the authors at the recent Theoretical Currents II: Architecture and its Geographical Horizons, held at EMMTEC, University of Lincoln, 4-5 April 2012. The paper also critically discussed the appropriation of mapping methodologies and representation for architecture as a means through which the complex spatial demarcation of the contemporary urban realm and its, often unstable, geographies may be useful in edifying our knowledge of such situations. The syncretised nature of urban space comprising of the physical and the perceptual was then extrapolated as a notion through which we may reveal and further understand the traces of various cultures that hitherto reside on the edges of normative society.


OODA Loop, John Boyd, 1976.

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