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URBAN MACHINES: Public Space in a Digital Culture

Tue, May 7, 2019    6:30pm

URBAN MACHINES: Public Space in a Digital Culture
Book Launch and Discussion

Marcella Del Signore and Gernot Riether in conversation with Miodrag Mitrašinović and Beth Cope.

At the beginning of the 21st century digital technology disrupted city life. The use of ICTs (information and communication technologies) has radically changed the way we inhabit and operate in the urban space. Over the last few decades an increasingly collaborative and interdisciplinary work developed by architects, artists, urban and media designers has defined a particular landscape of projects that engage information technology as a catalytic tool for expanding, augmenting and altering public and social interactions in the urban space. Through essays, case studies and conversations, this book aims to present a critical historic overview of the impact of information technologies on the physical public space while providing an inspiring vision of possible future scenarios for the public realm in a digital culture.

Authors: Marcella Del Signore, Gernot Riether Publisher: LISTLab


Marcella Del Signore (MS AAD ‘07) is an Associate Professor at the New York Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Design. She is the principal of X-Topia, a design-research practice that explores the intersection of architecture and urbanism with new technologies. She holds a Master in Architecture from University La Sapienza in Rome and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York. Her work concentrates on the relationship between architecture, urbanism and technologically-mediated systems to imagine scenarios for future environments and cities. The notion of urban-digital prototyping has been at the core of her research. She taught and collaborated with academic institutions in Europe and the US including Tulane University, Barnard College at Columbia University, the Architectural Association, IaaC- Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, University of Waterloo, LSU School of Architecture, IN/ARCH- National Italian Institute of Architecture and University of Trento. At Tulane University, she served as the Director of the Study Abroad Program in Rome and the Kylene and Brad Beers SE Professor at the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking. She has received several awards and lectured, published and exhibited widely.

Gernot Riether (MS AAD ‘00) is the Director of the School of Architecture and Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He previously taught at Kennesaw State University, Ball State University, ENSA Paris La Villette, Georgia Tech, the New York Institute of Technology and Barnard College at Columbia University and is lecturing internationally. He holds a DI in Architecture from the University of Innsbruck, Austria and a MS in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York. Riether’s research explores the relationship between public urban spaces and information technology. His research has been funded by the state, nonprofit organizations, construction industry and universities. Projects that he and his students designed and built in his Digital Design Build Studio won competitions and are featured in many books on digital fabrication. Riether is the author of over 40 refereed papers, articles and book chapters. He serves on the Board of Directors of CSU (Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization), a non-profit organization that is affiliated with UN Habitat and U.N. ECOSOC and on the Board of Directors of ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture). He is the editor of the Journal of the Design Communication Association (DCA)

Miodrag Mitrašinović is an architect, urbanist, author, and Professor of Urbanism and Architecture at Parsons School of Design, The New School university in New York City. He is the editor of “Concurrent Urbanities: Designing Infrastructures of Inclusion” (Routledge 2015), co-editor of “Travel, Space, Architecture” (with Jilly Traganou, Ashgate/Routledge 2009), and author of “Total Landscape, Theme Parks, Public Space” (Ashgate/Routledge 2006). Miodrag’s scholarly work focuses on two parallel and complementary lines of inquiry. First, on the role design plays as an agent of social and political change, and as catalyst for critical urban transformations; his research argues for the centrality of designing in the conceptualization, production, and representation of democratic and participatory urban space. Secondly, Miodrag’s work also focuses on the generative capacity and infrastructural dimensions of public space specifically at the intersections of public policy, urban and public design, and processes of privatization of public resources. His professional and scholarly work has been published internationally.

Beth Cope is a leading public policy expert who has served a number of corporate and political entities with a mission to amplify the voices for worthy causes. She is a NGO consultant specializing in organizational development, strategic planning, and communications. Her clients include Percussion Campaigns in Atlanta, Georgia and the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization based in New York. Beth served as the Executive Vice President of the Public Leadership Institute (PLI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy and leadership center. There she advanced PLI’s efforts to raise awareness about key public policy issues of equity and justice and to develop leaders who will improve the economic and social conditions of all Americans. She was the Georgia Community Director for the U.S. Green Building Council; Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, and she held management positions in presidential, congressional, state, and city wide electoral races. She also co-hosted Call to Reason on KTRC Santa Fe, New Mexico.