A few months ago, Scott Burnham kindly asked me to contribute to the exhibition catalogue for Urban Play, a project he conceived and then developed with Droog Design. It is being sponsored by the city of Amsterdam and is premiering there this September. In Scott's words, "Urban Play is about placing the individual at the heart of the city’s development and encouraging creative interaction between the individual and the physical city". You can also find out more at the Experimenta site.
Scott's posting up focus pieces on some of the interventionists featured in the exhibition, starting with the quite brilliant work of Gilberto Esparza, a Mexico City-based artist who creates 'Urban Parasites', "small robotic creatures made from recycled consumer goods which wander, climb, crawl and explore the marginal areas of the city." (Check the videos at Scott's site.)
To my small contribution: Scott asked me to write something about 'the adaptive city', noting some of my previous entries, such as 'Punching holes in Ciutat Vella; adaptive urban form in Barcelona' and 'Architecture and interaction design, via adaption and hackability'. That was pretty much it by way of direction, so I had some free rein to take those thoughts for a walk, and introduce them to some more recent ideas around urban informatics and urban information design, the impact of real-time data and collaborative planning on urban form, and so on.
I've reproduced the full essay below. I believe the other contributors to the catalogue were to be Usman Haque on open source architecture and Richard Reynolds on guerrilla gardening, so it'll be worth keeping an eye on. Many thanks to Scott for his considerable patience, and for asking me to contribute in the first place. It's a relatively speculative, deliberately optimistic piece, continuing some ideas from 'The Street as Platform'. Hope you find it interesting.