About our guest:
angelika hinterbrandner studied architecture at Graz University of Technology and at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She has worked for MVRDV, Buchner Bründler Architekten, and as a project and research assistant at TU Graz. From 2018 to 2019 she was an editorial assistant and editorial manager at ARCH+. Since then she has been working for Brandlhuber+ and is studying Leadership in Digital Innovation at the University of the Arts in Berlin. Her research interests include the social and political aspects of architecture as well as current trends in technology and communication. She is part of the wider kntxtr team and currently struggling with the questions regarding what it means to be an architect(ure activist) in the 2020ies.
Image credit: © Justin Wood
features in John Lorinc's article "A Mess on the Sidewalk" for BAFFLER magazine.
About the topic:
What are smart cities anyway? Where are they? For whom are they intended? By whom were they developed? Who owns the data smart cites produce? What is the real and virtual capital of the city of the future? – For urban planning, the issue of data mining and data ownership have become just as relevant as land ownership. The discourse spinning around smart cities is anything but new (see Cybernetics and Chile’s Project Cybersyn 1971–1973), and still there are only a few planners actively taking part in the discussions around this very topic. Instead we see big corporations rolling out their plans for urban smartness. Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Airbnb and many others have long since stopped contenting themselves with the commercialisation of all social activities; now they are investing in real estate and land.
With the smart city discourse, algorithm-based planning and evaluation methods, and massive investments in infrastructure, the tech industry is penetrating far into the field of architects and planners. Their technocratic visions turn citizens into users, says Christian von Borries in the ARCH+ Property Issue – Politics of Space and Data: “First, architecture becomes an instrument of statistics and then provides information about user behaviour. The role of the architect no longer exists in this scenario, or it is limited to the design of unconnected buildings in the urban space that are predetermined by algorithms.”
What are the planning practices that are the backdrop of the developments we are currently witnessing? How do we deal with space and data as planning resources? And what role do architects and urban planners play (at all) in the digital society? Have architects become obsolete?
Words by angelika hinterbrandner.