Research themes 2011/2012

27.07.2011, 13:32
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The first year of the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design concluded on June 28-29, 2011 with a public event which included student presentations. During this first year five research themes were explored: Preservation, Energy, Public Space, Design and Thinning. The effort was conducted under the supervision of an international team of instructors in collaboration with local institutions and invited Russian and foreign experts.

The research-based educational program continues to grow and evolve. Fifty students will be selected to begin their research at Strelka in October 2011. Moscow as the first (and probably the only) European Megacity will become an overarching topic for five new themes of the second educational cycle 2011/2012: Megacity, Hinterland, Citizens as Customers, Content and Senseable City Moscow.

Director: Reinier de Graaf

The emergence of Moscow (region) as Europe’s first (and perhaps only ever) megacity. Through the pending merging of Moscow City and the Moscow region into a single administrative entity, Moscow’s population will double, and Moscow’s problem can be addressed at the scale it deserves. Moscow recognized as a subject, educating Moscow’s future elite. This theme will examine Russia’s centripetal process of urbanization within the global context of the free market. What structure is needed to administer a city at this scale…

Director: Rem Koolhaas

On the flipside of Moscow’s emergence as a megacity, is the ever «thinning» of its Hinterland: a vast reserve of space with ever less substance to fill it, developing a distinctly Russian perspective for a global trend of de-urbanization. A reserve of space once charged with use / meaning / intentions, subject of a deliberate policy to distribute people across the country, currently seems a film played in reverse, ever more abandoned cities! Dismantled infrastructure, oil and gas as the only remaining purpose of territory once charged with expansive ambitions…

Urban culture
Director: Michael Schindhelm

Examining the current state of public space in the post-socialist context, this theme is an investigation into the manifestation of the two complementary trends, urbanization and de-urbanization. Describing a unique condition of similarity and immenseness of a project to develop public space through a common ideology across Eurasia, this research tries to study Moscow’s unique position as a potential connector between visions of modernity and current global trends in public program and communication. How to envision the redevelopment of content for former landmarks of Moscow’s public space? What are strategies to discover potential of future forms of public communication in a megacity like Moscow?

Citizens as Customers
Director: David Erixon

The theme of research suggests a different approach to the problematic of contemporary city. The theme will explore another way of looking at the design and implementation process of space, using a customer-centric view of the world and applying Customer Focused Design Methodology. The theme will research
and look at refining life in such definitive urban structures as, for example, Soviet and Post-Soviet microrayons by applying Customer models to reveal transparent Values, Customer Desires, Customer Outcomes, Customer Activity Cycles, etc. — and will use this to create Space that radically improves complex Customer Experience. The theme will aim to deliberately integrate Physical and Digital Space, and to understand processes based on people’s real desired outcomes. This will be a journey where both the students and the instructors can discover not only transparent perceptions of Russian society and culture of today, but most of all find new, radical solutions to better support people in (mega)city and ultimately the society at large.

Senseable City Moscow
Director: Carlo Ratti

The Theme will aim to create a Senseable city project for Moscow by collecting, digitizing and analyzing city-wide data and using digital design to offer a concept of the city development on the verge of real and digital. In the past Carlo Ratti and his students at MIT have looked at a city around the world (Paris, Rio, Bolzano, Cannes, Copenhagen, etc. among them) and developed a «Senseable» project there. The studies focus on the built environment of cities — from street grids to plumbing and garbage systems — using new kinds of sensors and hand-held electronics that have transformed the way one can describe and understand cities.