Maurizio maurizio.teli at gmail.com
Mon Jan 31 00:06:59 PST 2011

Dear All,

I forward you this interesting Call for Position Papers.




My Ideal City, an European Project
Venice, May 12th and 13th
Call for Position Papers
The My Ideal City project has been funded by the European Union to
deal with the representation in an immersive, virtual,
environment of the results of participatory processes involving the
citizens of four cities (Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Lisbon,
and Trento). Therefore, the project involved since the beginning a
mixture of reflections on three dimensional representation,
participation, and urban planning, in a period of time characterized
by the contested and controversial meaning of the city as
the central space for innovating the ways human beings live.
The My Ideal City Conference looks for contributions that will foster
the debate on how it is possible to give shape to the new,
ideal, city, in order to represent it in innovative ways, stimulating
new concepts of the city itself, and to enlarge the
participation of citizens in the construction of the city.
Topics for the conference
The Ideal City and the participatory process
In the 21st century, the debate on how the construction of the city
should take place highlights a number of opposing pairs:
private vs. public, individual vs. collective, ideal vs. real, city
vs. country. The conflict inherent in this dichotomies is presented
on the contemporary scene as a matter of concern not to be mitigated,
but as data on which to build new combinations, new
forms of living and providing for projection towards a future that is
often forgotten or erased from the bodies of today.
The acronym M.I.C. (My Ideal City) symbolizes that clearly: it points
to emerging questions to which many academic
disciplines, like anthropology, architecture, engineering, geography,
sociology, urban planning, and more, are responding
through theoretical and empirical tools for understanding, for
designing, and for constructing the new city. In particular, the
acronym redirect to three main topics of reflection, and their combination:
[My] The individual, freed from the standardization of the modern
movement, draws daily new realities, asserting his/her own
micro-politics of desire. The self-affirmation of the individual on
the ground takes place on one side on the basis of a daily
transformation denouncing a lack of long-distance gaze on things, with
the crushing of the collective that seems to have
erased the projective capacity of the desired; on the other side, the
ecological, territorial, economic, and symbolic crisis of the
city as a system calls for a new awareness and a shared planning that
goes beyond simply individualism. Therefore, [My]
represents the tension between the individual actions and practices,
and the possibility to work out new possibilities for
collective actions and practices.
[Ideal] Ideal and real can be conceived as split, dichotomous terms,
that act on different levels: the first seems to assume a
negative meaning, based on its proximity to the concept of utopia,
while the second holds a position so strong to become
objective and preventing a critical look, design, and practices.
Nevertheless, it is exactly the presence of an ideal
understanding of contemporary cities, their representation through a
discursive regime done of possibilities and
opportunities, that makes possible to act on, change, and reassemble,
the perspectives of urban development.
[City] The city as a place of living and sharing, back to the centre
of attention, calls for a review of methods and tools that
manage its transformation. Decision makers, political movements, and
common citizens, newly talk about participation to
reduce the distance between the individual and the collective and
between the ideal and the real, criticizing and dismissing
forms of design aimed at accommodating superimposed, hetero-normative,
meanings of living together in a contemporary
Therefore, we welcome contributions that deal with the following, and
not exhaustive, list of topics:
- Individual desires and collective actions in the urban landscape
- New forms of collective practices in the city
- The role of idealized discourses in projecting the future of cities
- Participation as a mean to collective action and utopian transformations
2. The construction of a new urban imagery: models, techniques, stereotypes
The experience of building the MIC’s worlds allowed to deal with two
major areas of widespread intrusive visual stereotypes,
the image of the future city and the virtual environments browsable
online. In both cases, the consolidation of visual clichés
seem not only the result of a normal consumption of imagery but the
consequence of an action practiced by the colonizers of
the physical and virtual spaces: the spread of clichés is a
preliminary step to the acquisition of consensus and ownership.
The need for authenticity - of actuality in virtuality - has resulted
in two basic choices, first in reference to a paradoxical and
systematic 'stage' metaphor rather than a 'realistic' one, so that
eventually we get an actual experience of a fiction rather a
fictive experience of actuality, the other in the production of
fiction obtained as a light footprint, scan, direct ‘quotation’ of the
urban landscape. In our scenes was taken off the 'skin' of daily
lighting, the usual colours and light hiding instead of showing
the true appearance of the city.
These issues may be briefly summarized in the figure that holds the
two ends of the vision, namely the shape of the eyes
and the substance of the picture. The thesis that elaborates these
themes is that only an eccentric sight can reveal the
depth, the thickness of inexhaustible visual material. Abnormal
viewpoints, slowed and accelerated movements, unusual
conditions allow to penetrate an invisible crust of visual stereotypes.
Referring to this thesis we suggest a range of issues:
- Figures and metaphors in the formation of urban imagery in
architecture, cinema, visual arts, theater, TV
production and videogames
- Genesis and spread of urban stereotypes
- ‘Naive’ maps of urban landscape: a comparison between popular and
cultured formae urbis
- Descriptive models and narrative models of urban form
- Avatar’s promenade. Identity and identification in virtual bodies
3. Toward an energy efficient city
A sustainable city is a city designed with care of its environmental
dimension. It is peopled by citizens that have the objective
to minimize their needs in terms of energy, materials, water and food
and to minimize the emissions resulting from their lives.
Among the many aspects that describe the concept of sustainability,
the topic of energy has a particular importance for the
important environmental, economic and political consequences on the
future development of our world. Therefore, the ideal
city explored by the MIC research has a particular awareness of the
importance of energy conservation.
The call aims at the collection of different contributions, that
describe the multitude of combinations between the city and its
energy requirements. This is not limited to the various technologies
that can be adopted to create a self-sufficient city, but it
involves the whole process of urban spaces and the lifestyle of its
inhabitants, its narrative, its design, and its construction.
The call seeks therefore to obtain contributions on the different
topics, ranging from the energy efficiency applied to the
planning sectors (transport, urban morphology), buildings, management
of the city, new technologies, sustainable life-styles,
social aspects of energy consumption, etc. On the other hand it has to
be acknowledged that the energy efficiency of the
built environment takes also into account the energy required for the
production of the building materials and for the
construction of all the final products, including the buildings and
the city infrastructures. Therefore, an energy efficient city
should take into account the energy effectiveness of its parts through
their entire lifecycle and not just during their phase of
Topics addressed:
- Lifecycle Energy efficiency of buildings
- Sustainable transport
- Lifecycle Energy efficiency of the city services (public
transportation, administration, etc.)
- Resource management and disposal
- Future solutions toward more sustainable cities
May 12th presentation of the results of European research MIC and
lectio magistralis No.1
May 13th sessions of debate, deriving from the IUAV researches and the
call for abstracts, in the form of three plenary
sessions: The Ideal City and the participatory process; The
construction of a new urban imagery: models,
techniques, stereotypes; Towards an energy efficient city and lectio
magistralis No.2.
Contributions should contain the following elements: name(s) of
author(s), title of abstract, affiliation, e-mail contact
information, thematic session of reference, key words (in number of
three), abstract (a maximum number of 1.500 characters
including spaces, approximately 400 words). The abstract should be
written in English.
Abstracts must be received by March 15th 2011 for prior approval to
the following address: conference at myidealcity.eu.
The scientific committee of the MIC will inform interested parties of
accepting the proposals by March 31th 2011. The
scientific committee split the selection into two categories: one
dealing with speakers who will participate in sessions of
debate and whose contribution in the form of paper will be published
in the proceedings of the conference, the second on the
papers that will be only published in conference proceedings. The
authors of the accepted abstracts will be asked to submit a
position paper (2.000 words, 8.000 characters including spaces, with a
maximum of five images) to be included in the
proceedings to be published in the IUAV Digital Library.
The position papers should be sent by May 1th to
conference at myidealcity.eu and formatted according to the format that
be sent to selected authors.
A complete programme will be showed at www.myidealcity.eu/conference.
No registration fee are requested thanks to European funds of Seventh
Framework Programme.

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