The End of Architecture?: Networked Communities, Urban Transformation and Post-capitalist Landscapes

Through its commoditization and acquiescence to the demands of the market, architecture has increasingly become marginalized, if not circumvented, from its role as an aid to humanity and society. It is therefore proposed that if we are to consider the future transformation of our cities, then the communities within them must be given priority as stakeholders. The legibility of on-the-ground conditions and the communication of community needs and aspirations through collective intelligence will become ever-pressing concerns as the pressure for space and amenities in our cities increases in favour of late capitalist occupation and mobility rather than as shared resource for all. If, as both Fredric Jameson (1994) and, more recently, Mark Fisher (2009) have suggested, “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”, then we need to fundamentally rethink the means through which we may achieve effective, adaptive and contingent political mobilization to positively alter the urban landscape. The potentially reformative power of data, ceded to the masses, may provide the necessary impetus toward a substantial restructuring of the city, but only if its systems are capable of negotiating the attendant issues of governance, antitrust policy and security measures. If we really are living in the end times of Žižek, we need to energetically and openly engage with the provision of a framework to evolve ‘intelligent terrain’ that is participatory and enabling. This paper therefore seeks to respond to the material and immaterial flows that constitute the contemporary urban condition in relation to its governance, communities and the (re)configuration of space.

Where Gender Comes to the Fore: Mapping Gender Mix in Urban Public Spaces

The study engages with the ways in which gender mix plays out in public spaces as a key issue in exploring social diversity and vitality of the urban public life. The paper introduces a mapping method to unravel how gender differences are spatially manifested in urban public spaces. Thus, urban mapping has been considered as a method for producing a kind of spatial knowledge that has the capacity to shed light on how different socio-spatial patterns play out in public open spaces. The proposed mapping method documents where and the extent to which female and male users appropriate urban public spaces. The database for developing and testing the proposed method emerges from two site areas in the city of Tehran. In doing so, the study draws upon direct observation, fieldwork notes, visual recording, and urban mapping as research methods. In this way, the paper raises questions about the importance of gender mix in public space and the ways in which mapping has the capacity to inform urban research.

Sense of the City: Proximity and Mobility

How does mobility become a state of being for people? How do people make mobile places and spaces? The mobile people and the places comprising a mobile milieu affirm each other. These inter-relationships can be studied as processes. Processes resist affirming to design, and the reciprocation between “mobile subjects” and the “mobile places” form dynamic patterns. How do we understand the dynamics of cities through mobile subjects and mobile places? Secondly, processes have a direction though not a pre-given destination. The mobile subject is not just a social subject but a “socio-technical” one as he/she interacts with the pervasive technologies of the plan and infrastructural design. I consider technologies of everyday use such as mobiles, cars, and mass transit systems as becoming milieu to etch out the mobile subject. I consider the interaction of people, places, and modes of transport as inter-relational units. Through this I attempt to understand how practices comprise the dynamics of mobilities and can orient the expansion of the city.