Centering Public Knowledge

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Centering Public Knowledge

Join Urban Design Forum, The Architectural League, and Urban Omnibus for a discussion on the on the role of public knowledge in citymaking.

When and where

Date and time

Location

Online

About this event

The ‘smart city’ framework often abstracts urban processes with metaphors that compare cities to computers, dashboards, or algorithms. Yet the oversimplification of these metaphors can lead to the rebuff of local knowledge. In her most recent book A City Is Not a Computer, Shannon Mattern explores how centering community-based information over big data or “intelligent” systems can support equitable citymaking and a more just design process.

For this discussion, we will convene architects, planners, and creative technologists to respond to themes on community design, civic data, libraries, and maintenance. Shannon Mattern will provide an introduction of A City Is Not a Computer, followed by a discussion with Karen Fairbanks, Farzana Gandhi, Shawn Rickenbacker, and Dan Taeyoung.

Shannon Mattern is a Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research. Her writing and teaching focus on archives, libraries, and other media spaces; media infrastructures; spatial epistemologies; and mediated sensation and exhibition. She is the author of The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities; Deep Mapping the Media City; Code and Clay, Data and Dirt: 5000 Years of Urban Media, all published by University of Minnesota Press; and A City Is Not a Computer, published by Princeton University Press in association with Places Journal. She also contributes a regular long-form column about urban data and mediated infrastructures to Places Journal.

Karen Fairbanks is a founding partner of Marble Fairbanks Architects where she has focused on the design and planning for both public and private educational and cultural clients. Marble Fairbanks Architects is a design-driven, research-based practice located in New York City and recognized for their work with cultural and institutional clients. Recent projects include the Greenpoint Library and Environmental Education Center and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Karen is also Professor of Professional Practice in Architecture and Chair of the Department of Architecture at Barnard College.

Farzana Gandhi is a registered architect in New York and a LEED accredited professional. Her architecture practice, Farzana Gandhi Design Studio, focuses on sustainable and socially conscious solutions, both locally and abroad. At New York Tech, she has been teaching introductory, advanced, and thesis-level architecture design studios, research-driven design-build elective courses, and visualization seminars.

Shawn Rickenbacker is the Director of J. Max Bond Center and Associate Professor at the Spitzer School of Architecture. Born and raised in New York City, Shawn Rickenbacker is an architect and creative technologist.

Dan Taeyoung is a learner, teacher, spatial designer, technologist, and person researching collective spaces by way of forming, growing, and living within them. Dan teaches at Columbia University GSAPP, and is a founding member of Soft Surplus (a collective space for making and learning near each other), the Cybernetics Library (an artist-run library focused on socio-technological systems), and Prime Produce (a cooperative space for social good).

Urban Design Forum is an independent membership organization that advances bold solutions to urban challenges. Our Fellows are architects, landscape architects, planners, developers, public officials, scholars, activists, lawyers and journalists committed to building dynamic, equitable, and resilient cities around the world.

The Architectural League is the premier independent cultural organization in the United States dedicated to developing and advancing architecture and the related arts as critical components of a vital culture. The Architectural League calls on New York City’s leaders to draw on the capacity of architects and designers, working with the city’s communities, to project possibilities and imagine a better city for all.

Urban Omnibus is The Architectural League’s online publication dedicated to observing, understanding, and shaping the city. We raise new questions, illuminate diverse perspectives, and document creative projects to advance the collective work of citymaking.

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