My Ideal City, an European Project

Call for Position Papers

invio abstract entro 15 marzo 2011

Il progetto My Ideal City si fonda sul 7° Programma Quadro per la Cultura della EU, e tratta della rappresentazione in un ambiente immersivo e virtuale dei risultati di un processo partecipativo che ha coinvolto le città di Copenhagen, Gerusalemme, Lisbona e Trento.

Il progetto riguarda sin dall'inizio una serie di riflessioni sulla rappresentazione tridimensionale, la partecipazione e la pianificazione della città, in un'epoca quale quella contemporanea caratterizzata da significati controversi attribuiti alla città quale spazio per l'innovazione dei modi di vita delle popolazioni.

Il Convegno internazionale My Ideal City invita gli studiosi ad inviare contributi che possano rafforzare il dibattito su quali siano le possibilità di dar forma alla nuova città ideale, rappresentandola in modo innovativo, stimolando nuove interpretazioni e allargando la partecipazione dei cittadini alla costruzione dell'immagine della nuova città.

The My Ideal City project has been funded by the European Union to deal with the representation in an immersive, virtual, environment of the results of participatory processes involving the citizens of four cities (Copenhagen, Jerusalem, Lisbon, and Trento).

Therefore, the project involved since the beginning a mixture of reflections on three dimensional representation, participation, and urban planning, in a period of time characterized by the contested and controversial meaning of the city as the central space for innovating the ways human beings live.

The My Ideal City Conference (Venice, May 12th and 13th) looks for contributions that will foster the debate on how it is possible to give shape to the new, ideal, city, in order to represent it in innovative ways, stimulating new concepts of the city itself, and to enlarge the participation of citizens in the construction of the city.

Topics for the conference:

1. The Ideal City and the participatory process

The acronym M.I.C. (My Ideal City) redirect to three main topics of reflection, and their combination:

[My] The self-affirmation of the individual on the ground takes place on one side on the basis of a daily transformation denouncing a lack of long-distance gaze on things, with the crushing of the collective that seems to have erased the projective capacity of the desired; on the other side, the ecological, territorial, economic, and symbolic crisis of the city as a system calls for a new awareness and a shared planning that goes beyond simply individualism. Therefore, [My] represents the tension between the individual actions and practices, and the possibility to work out new possibilities for collective actions and practices.

[Ideal] Ideal and real can be conceived as split, dichotomous terms, that act on different levels: the first seems to assume a negative meaning, based on its proximity to the concept of utopia, while the second holds a position so strong to become objective and preventing a critical look, design, and practices. Nevertheless, it is exactly the presence of an ideal understanding of contemporary cities, their representation through a discursive regime done of possibilities and opportunities, that makes possible to act on, change, and reassemble, the perspectives of urban development.

[City] The city as a place of living and sharing, back to the centre of attention, calls for a review of methods and tools that manage its transformation. Decision makers, political movements, and common citizens, newly talk about participation to reduce the distance between the individual and the collective and between the ideal and the real, criticizing and dismissing forms of design aimed at accommodating superimposed, hetero-normative, meanings of living together in a contemporary city.

2. The construction of a new urban imagery: models, techniques, stereotypes

The experience of building the MIC's worlds allowed to deal with two major areas of widespread intrusive visual stereotypes, the image of the future city and the virtual environments browsable online. In both cases, the consolidation of visual clichés seem not only the result of a normal consumption of imagery but the consequence of an action practiced by the colonizers of the physical and virtual spaces: the spread of clichés is a preliminary step to the acquisition of consensus and ownership.

3. Toward an energy efficient city

The call aims at the collection of different contributions, that describe the multitude of combinations between the city and its energy requirements. This is not limited to the various technologies that can be adopted to create a self-sufficient city, but it involves the whole process of urban spaces and the lifestyle of its inhabitants, its narrative, its design, and its construction. The call seeks therefore to obtain contributions on the different topics, ranging from the energy efficiency applied to the planning sectors (transport, urban morphology), buildings, management of the city, new technologies, sustainable life-styles, social aspects of energy consumption, etc.

Contributions should contain the following elements: name(s) of author(s), title of abstract, affiliation, e-mail contact information, thematic session of reference, key words (in number of three), abstract (a maximum number of 1.500 characters including spaces, approximately 400 words). The abstract should be written in English. Abstracts must be received by March 15th 2011 for prior approval to the following address:

A complete programme will be showed at

PROGRAMME May 12th presentation of the results of European research MIC and lectio magistralis No.1 May 13th sessions of debate, deriving from the IUAV researches and the call for abstracts, in the form of three plenary sessions: The Ideal City and the participatory process; The construction of a new urban imagery: models, techniques, stereotypes; Towards an energy efficient city and lectio magistralis No.2.

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