Pop-Up Studio-X Baitasi

September 19, 2016

Pop-Up Studio-X at Baitasi Remade:
Beijing Design Week 2016

How can we effectively mobilize traceable data technologies to expand the horizons of bottom-up social development? How can data actually be leveraged in practice to foster greater social and economic inclusivity and new systems of transparency? With an eye on these pivotal questions, Pop-Up Studio-X Baitasi explores the emerging field of data for good during Beijing Design Week 2016 through an exhibition, mini-symposium, and multidisciplinary workshop with experts from the social sciences, data science, and urbanism.

During this 10-day workshop, GSAPP alumnus Tat Lam, along with anthropologist Victoria Nguyen and SANS (三思), will curate a series of exhibitions, workshops, and discussions to explore strategies of data empowerment. By investigating data literacy, culturally sensitive technologies, and human-centric data infrastructure in Beijing’s hutong districts, the workshop aims to develop prototypes and processes in the service of empowering grassroots communities in Beijing and beyond.

Pop-up Studio X Baitasi is part of an ongoing research series by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) and is a continuation of its last two events in China, including ‘Dashilar: Housing In-between Symposium and exhibition’ (2015 Beijing Design Week, Dashilar Design Community) and ‘Housing for the Majority Workshop’ (2016 Future +, Shenzhen), which explored new solutions to improve quality of life for grassroots communities in Chinese cities.

Curator: Tat Lam, Ph.D., CEO Shanzhai City
Team: Victoria Nguyen, Sirui Zhang, Qianni Wang, Ren Jue Ph.D., Linda Lim Ph.D., Youyang Ho, Terrence Lam, Neill Mclean Gaddes, Yijing Xu
Partners: Shanzhai City, SANS (三思)


Data, Insight, and Value Co-Creation Workshop

September 20-30, 2016

Deploying data infrastructure in informal communities can present a formidable challenge as the most vulnerable segments of the grassroots community often have low or limited data literacy. This can result in reduced adoption rates of conventional technological solutions and can be a critical impediment to the data collection strategies used to define and represent these communities. Overcoming this challenge is essential as a deficiency in digital transparency and data literacy is increasingly one of the leading factors that perpetuate and broaden social inequality and poverty worldwide. By meeting this challenge, government entities and non-governmental organizations can gain a higher resolution of on-the-ground realities and obtain real-time feedback on developments and interventions as they unfold. Such insights have ground-breaking potential to radically improve decision-making processes and increase precision in the provision of services to those who need it most. What is more, if in addition to quality, data accessibility can be improved, there is increased potential to empower and equip local populations to participate with greater insight and agency in urban development processes.

The workshop aims to demonstrate this position by prototyping local grassroots community data infrastructure and culturally sensitive data collection tools within two dynamic hutong neighborhoods in Beijing. Shanzhai City has prepared specific fieldwork methodologies integrated with data collection tools to enhance traditional fieldwork and enable bottom-up data aggregation from local communities with socially sensitive incentives to participate. The workshop’s research topic takes the event of Beijing Design Week as a lens through which a grassroots’ understanding of urban development can be anchored. By asking ‘What is the legibility of Beijing Design Week to the existing community?’, we begin a process of problem identification through which further insight into the ‘value’ of urban development to local inhabitants can be uncovered. Additionally, the workshop also aims to analyse both the short and long term impacts of implementing such a data infrastructure into informal communities such as Baitasi and Dashilar. By collecting, analyzing, and presenting data at the intersection of different communities affected by urban development and highlighted by the annual event of Beijing Design Week, how can we increase individual and collective agency and self-sustaining community efforts to improve quality of life for the grassroots? In harnessing technology to this end, are we able to create models and strategies that are agile, replicable, and scalable to other developing regions and communities?

The workshop will take the form of a continuous series of gatherings, discussions, and fieldwork, inviting experts and local students to contribute toward the development of the first prototype data infrastructure system for grassroot communities, social innovators, and funding and administrative organizations. The system itself will consist of a network of field agents and socially innovative community engagement technologies for data collection and insight communication. Data will then be analysed and visualized through a publicly accessible dashboard available online and via public exhibition and video projection within the community.

The workshop will take place from September 20-30, 2016, and the dashboard will be online on September 24.


China Workshop Series 2016 Exhibition

September 24-October 7, 2016
Exhibition hours: 12:00-6:00pm
The Global School
52 Gongmenkou Dongcha Baitasi
Xicheng District, Beijing, China

During Beijing Design Week: Baitasi Remade, Studio-X will exhibit GSAPP’s rural and urban summer workshop research. Curated by GSAPP graduate Sirui Zhang, the exhibition and related reading kiosk illustrate alternative development strategies for China as examined by Studio-X Beijing.

From Huangshan to Shenzhen, rapid urbanization of populations and places are creating new modes of habitation and urban form, while challenging many planning fundamentals developed over the last century. In researching and engaging these formal and informal processes, Studio-X and its partner organizations are building a body of research unique among local institutions. In the context of Baitasi Remade, the exhibition and its related events aim to highlight shared commonalities between previously researched sites and Baitasi. Consistent with the core work of Studio-X, the exhibition encourages knowledge sharing and instigates a dialogue between research, practice, and the public.


Urban Data for Good: Data Empowerment and Informal Communities

September 24, 2016
The Global School
52 Gongmenkou Dongcha Baitasi
Xicheng District, Beijing, China

The mini-symposium will be conducted in English and Chinese with simultaneous translation. (Please bring ID for headsets).

Pop-Up Studio-X Baitasi will host a mini-symposium at The Global School focused on the topic of data and the hutong. Tat Lam will moderate a discussion with local and international researchers, who will share their experience and work on community data-empowerment. Through debate and example, the mini-symposium will generate a cross-pollination of knowledge between fieldworkers and social entrepreneurs at the forefront of community engagement to planners, policymakers, and social investors at various levels.

The mini-symposium focuses on the topic of data and hutong or informal urban space in China, and is divided into the following themes:

• Defining and contextualizing the environment of hutong data and technology
• Data literacy and tech in the everyday life of hutong communities
• Working online-to-offline in the field: tools, agents, and subjects
• Culturally sensitive strategies and incentives for data collection and sharing
• Methodologies to integrate social science with data science in the market
• Long-term implications for grassroots’ accessibility to data infrastructure, data science tools, and data-driven insights
• The impact of growing data reservoirs on social development & social entrepreneurship

Tat Lam | 林达
CEO, Shanzhai City; Curator, Pop-up Studio X Beijing
山寨城市首席执行官、北京Pop-up Studio X策划人

Jiayi Xu | 徐嘉忆
Special Assistant to China Country Director, World Resources Institute

Gao Shuo | 高硕
Urban Analyze Director , Beijing Urban Quadrant Technology

Youyang Hou | 侯悠扬
PhD Candidate (HCI and Social Computing), School of Information, University of Michigan

Prabhakar Krishnamurthy
Director, Yahoo! Labs (Silicon Valley)

Andrew Bryant
Architect Creative Urban Development Institute (CUDI) Beijing
创办合伙人,参展人 北京


Shanzhai City (SZC)
SZC is a social enterprise building data technology solutions for developing regions in China, Southeast Asia, and Global South. Shanzhai City’s participation in this workshop will include providing technology prototypes, methodologies, and expertise. shanzhai.city

SANS (三思)
Sans is a Shenzhen based practice engaged in Place Making and community activation. Integrating ideation, planning, design, implementation and evaluation into a cyclic process, Sans has curated, participated, and produced projects throughout China, with the practice’s involvement in Dashilar Project being profiled at the La Biennale di Venezia - 14th International Architecture Exhibition in 2014. Sans will provide additional research and direction for the program. sanspractice.com

The Global School
The Global School is a new knowledge production initiative to be launched in Baitasi during Beijing Design Week. Pop-up Studio X will be located within The Global School’s larger exhibition and event venue which forms the main venue for Baitasi ReMade.

Baitasi ReMade
Bataisi ReMade is a showcase of installations and a collaboration of revitalization efforts currently being undertaken in Beijing’s historic Baitasi neighborhood through the Beijing Design Week affiliated “Design Hop” event series. The project takes ‘connectedness and co-generation’ as a key cultural driver of both past communal relations and today’s ‘internetworks’. Focusing on contemporary creative entrepreneurship aided by new production methodologies and motivated by a collaborative spirit of making, it seeks to assist in the social and structural reconnection of Baitasi to greater Beijing. Baitasi ReMade is funded by Beijing Huarong Jinying Investment & Development Co. Ltd. btsremade.org

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