The interactive city

the jack is leaving

Doing street art has given me a whole new perspective on cities. I guess every absorbing interest generates new knowledge and hence open your eyes to nuances previously unnoticed. But the interest in public art has not only led me to spot it, and consequently fill up my folders with photos of street art. More fundamentally, doing street art has made me look at the material city in terms of possibility of interaction: Does the place invite street art – can the walls serve as canvas? Who use the place and what is the general atmosphere? Is it possible to comment, highlight or otherwise play with the existing elements? How is the accessibility? And does it allow for some minutes of uninterrupted work?

Cities have thus changed from background for daily life, to a possibility for interaction and transformation. I find this a privileged position – a position which allows for a deeper and more personal relation to the surroundings for my life. I assume this is a feeling shared with architects, city-planners, builders, road workers, advertizing agencies, politicians, and the likes. The question is, how can all those who are not in such a position and who don’t want to do illegal action art, attain this relationship to their neighborhoods and cities? How can authorities transfer power to the citizen for them to partake in the transformation of their surroundings? Which forms of participation, involvement and redesign of decision-making processes are necessary – and are the experts in charge willing to grant such opportunities?

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The interactive city

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