Visibilities and Invisibilities: Methodologies and Theoretical Spaces for Ambient Urbanities

Visibilities and Invisibilities: Methodologies and Theoretical Spaces for Ambient Urbanities

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7882-6.ch007

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to explore urban visibilities and invisibilities in terms of the physical and digital, giving rise to the need for new methodologies and theoretical spaces in understanding ambient urbanities. This chapter seeks to shed light on the importance of elements in urban environments informing theory and methodology for smart, responsive, and future cities. The research literature for urban theory, urban methodologies, and urban visibilities and invisibilities is explored in this chapter in the context of smart and responsive cities, enabling the identification of issues, controversies, and problems. Using an exploratory case study approach, solutions and recommendations are advanced. This chapter makes a contribution to the research literature for urban theoretical spaces and methodologies for smart and responsive cities, the evolving of urban theory and methods for 21st century cities and urbanities, and formulation of a conceptual framework for ambient methodologies and theoretical spaces.
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1. Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to explore urban visibilities and invisibilities in terms of the physical and digital, giving rise to the need for new methodologies and theoretical spaces in understanding ambient urbanities. As such, this chapter seeks to shed light on the importance of elements such as atmospheres (Abbas, 2018), ambiances (Thibaud, 2013), people (Morello and Piga, 2015), and experiences (Demers and Potvin, 2016) in urban environments, informing theory and methodology for urban design, urban representation, and augmentations in smart cities, responsive cities, and future cities. The research literature for urban theory (Roy, 2009), urban methodologies (Gavalas et al., 2017), and urban visibilities and invisibilities (Caprotti, 2017) is explored in this chapter in the context of smart and responsive cities (Schmitt, 2018), enabling identification of issues, controversies, and problems. Using an exploratory case study approach, solutions and recommendations are advanced. This chapter makes a contribution to: a) the research literature for urban theoretical spaces and methodologies for smart and responsive cities; b) the evolving of urban theory and methods for 21st century cities and urbanities; and c) formulation of a conceptual framework for ambient methodologies and theoretical spaces.

  • Objectives: The objective of this chapter is to explore and advance new theoretical spaces and methodologies in support of ambient urbanities. As such, the key research question posed is – Why are new theoretical and methodological approaches important for explorations of urbanity in relation to smart cities?

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2. Background And Overview

In an introduction to the launch of the Ambiances Review, Thibaud (2013) points to “the far-reaching changes in the territories and habitats of contemporary life” that “demand new approaches” and “new models of intelligibility” and the “growing interest for the world of the senses.” Brenner and Schmid (2015) proposed the concept of planetary urbanization to generate awareness of “new forms of urbanization” that go beyond traditional notions of “the urban as fixed, bounded and universally generalizable settlement.” For Brenner and Schmid (2015), realization of the “interconnections across places, territories and landscapes” is important in order for the urban to be “framed in a manner that attempts to overcome the compartmentalization and fragmentation” of spaces and struggles. Schmitt (2015) claims that, simulation is an important method in urban planning and design and “is needed to make the invisible visible” and to “test assumptions” as well as to “visualize the results of the design over time” in urban and territorial regions. From an architecture perspective, Morello and Piga (2015) claim there is “increasing interest in simulation by society and the profession” and point to questions of “how simulation technologies will enable us to pay more attention to the intangible values of the ambiance of spaces.” Because “spatial design affects human well-being and health,” Morello and Piga (2015) argue that, “this generates a serious return to people-centered design” along with “increased interest in transparency and participation in the process of decision making about urban spaces.” Piga, Morello, and Salerno (2017) introduce a research perspective in urban design and urban representation, exploring urban simulation from interdisciplinary theoretical and practical perspectives. As such, the importance of more aware people is advanced in this chapter in coming to current and future understandings of the need for a rethinking of urban theory and methods for 21st century urban environments. Theoretically and methodologically, this chapter is situated at the intersection of urban ambiances, atmospheres, and awareness.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Awareness: Awareness refers to the concept or quality of being aware as it applies to people on the one hand, to technologies on the other, and to a combination of aware people and aware technologies.

Visibilities: Visibilities refer to physical and other visible urban elements.

Ambient Methodologies: Ambient methodologies refer to more adaptive approaches to exploration of aware people and aware technologies encompassing the physical and digital in relation to ambiences, atmospheres, and augmentations contributing further to the ambient turn.

Ambient Theoretical Spaces: Ambient theoretical spaces refer to more adaptive conceptualizations in support of coming to new understandings of aware people and aware technologies encompassing the physical and digital in relation to ambiences, atmospheres, and augmentations contributing further to the ambient turn.

Ambient Visibilities/Invisibilities: Ambient visibilities/invisibilities refer to urban elements accommodating more aware people and aware technologies encompassing the physical and digital in relation to ambiences, atmospheres, and augmentations contributing further to the ambient turn.

Invisibilities: Invisibilities refer to urban elements such as ambiances, atmospheres, and the unseen (e.g., embedded technologies) that present as intangibles.

Smart Cities: Smart cities are urban areas, regions, territories, and beyond that are characterized by aware and engaged people, in combination with and aided by, the use of awareness enhancing technologies for mobility, livability, and sustainability.

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