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Mit Senseable City Lab

7 of MIT Labs' Best Ideas for Future Cities

08:00 - 27 April, 2017

Future cities have captured our imaginations for centuries. From Thomas F. Anderson’s 1900 vision for a Future Boston, through Le Corbusier’s 1924 Ville Radieuse, to modern ‘future-proof’ cities such as Songdo, South Korea, architects and town planners have considered how cities will respond to the movement of people, capital, technology, and ideas.

Today, groups such as the Senseable City Laboratory at MIT have been created with the goal of suggesting ideas for the city of tomorrow. Through a technique known as ‘Futurecraft’, the Senseable City Lab places the designer in a possible future environment and asks them to generate design proposals which could enhance daily life. As we are about to see, some of their ideas would make heads turn even in a galaxy far far away.

Roboat. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab Trash Track. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab Local Warming. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab Trash Track. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab + 35

Treepedia - MIT Maps and Analyses Tree Coverage in Major Cities

12:00 - 23 April, 2017
Treepedia - MIT Maps and Analyses Tree Coverage in Major Cities, Users can compare their green canopy to cities across the world. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab
Users can compare their green canopy to cities across the world. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab

Researchers at the MIT Senseable City Lab have launched a new platform using Google Street View data to measure and compare the green canopies of major cities across the world. Treepedia, created in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, is an interactive website which allows users to view the location and size of their city’s trees, submit information to help tag them, and advocate for more trees in their area. In the development of Treepedia, the Senseable City Lab recognizes the role of green canopies in urban life, and asks how citizens can be more integral to the process of greening their neighborhoods.

Treepedia Boston. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab Treepedia New York City. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab Treepedia Tel Aviv. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab Treepedia Toronto. Image Courtesy of MIT Senseable City Lab + 7

Light Matters: Smart Flying Pixels Create a Floating Glow

00:00 - 10 October, 2014

Imagine luminaires that could fly and visualise new buildings or individually guide you through space. What would happen if you could even interact with these flying pixels? These concepts could be realised in the near future as the first prototypes and experiments are being introduced. Software-driven LED pixels combined with drone swarm technology provide extraordinary possibilities for inducing new forms of spatial experience. These luminous pixel clouds emerge as digital patterns, but at the same time they emanate a romantic quality with their unique star formations twinkling in the night sky. The first projects have shared a playful note, but laboratories such as MIT's SENSEable City Lab, ARES Lab and Ars Electronica Futurelab have shown an intriguing future in urban design for guidance systems or envisioning real estate developments, as advances in battery technology and wireless control have opened new perspectives for a life with smart flying pixels.

Beyond "Things That Flicker": The Next Step for Media Architecture

00:00 - 9 October, 2014
Beyond "Things That Flicker": The Next Step for Media Architecture, Reconciling 'media' and 'architecture' evokes clumsy associations with Times Square, screens, integrated LEDs, paparazzi, or more generally 'things that flicker'. Image © Flickr CC User MK Feeney
Reconciling 'media' and 'architecture' evokes clumsy associations with Times Square, screens, integrated LEDs, paparazzi, or more generally 'things that flicker'. Image © Flickr CC User MK Feeney

From November 19-22 in Aarhus, the Media Architecture Biennale 2014 held in will feature the world premier of "Mapping the Senseable City," an exhibition of the now ten-year-old MIT Senseable Cities Lab's collected works. The following essay was written by Matthew Claudel, a researcher at the Senseable Cities Lab, In response to this collection, exploring what the future holds for media architecture, and imploring it to explore ideas beyond "TV screens for living in."

The Actuated Cathedral

Media architecture is emphatically ambiguous. The phrase has been pasted wholesale onto a dizzying array of projects and products. But beyond imprecision, media architecture is vexed by an inherent tension: media are networked, immediate, dynamic communication systems that reach people broadly, while architecture is sited, singular, and persistent in time. Reconciling the two evokes clumsy associations with Times Square, screens, integrated LEDs, paparazzi, or more generally things that flicker.

Institut du Monde Arabe / Jean Nouvel. Image © Flickr b00nj / www.flickr.com/b00nj "We simply do not know how humans respond to a variety of environmental stimuli. Artists like Olafur Eliasson have an uncanny sense of it – a sense that lends their projects a visceral power." Above, Eliasson's "Your Rainbow Panorama". Image © Lars Aarö Map of the internet. Image via http://mountpeaks.wordpress.com/ Galleria Centercity / UNStudio. Image © UNStudio. Photographed by Kim Jong-Kwan + 7