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The City as an Open System

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you the the the and the meaning of of the world the
it it
it it so yeah thank you can
hear me the yes of of mind which is their Schlecht so I am going to speak to you in English and trends the bus slowly but I'm of I'm actually gonna talk to you about not quite what's been announced but something very close to it you know how it I am
writing of a book I call the Open City which is an attempt to translate some ideas of
Open Systems theory into our understanding of urban design now how cities are constructed of I mean I'm an ammeter systems analyst I really interested in the but I'm not an expert but from it but I'm trying to understand this application because I think what's happening to cities 2 days of the becoming closed systems and that as a result we're losing
not only freedom in the city but also our experiences being flattened out infantilized becoming much
more 1 dimensional I found the the general question I have about this is what if anything open systems thinking I could do get us out of this closure yeah but it's also for me a very specific thing about and how we can make smart cities they're actually empowering for people rather than repressing fruit of them because most of the smart city design that's
being sold very profitably of is something that tends to close the city and in the systems of control rather than enablement and to me the question is how cool we better use of the technology that we have it our that hand how could we make use of they dead in particular to empower people rather than to disempower them so that's basically what I'd like to talk to you but I hope you've all brought sleeping bags and mattresses concise go on at some length of but also stopped after 45 minutes and maybe we can have some kind of the discussion it and realizing the so many people here you the signs of the most familiar signs of cities becoming closed systems is here and there a of the
homogeneity of built urban form but then it's harder and harder to know when as a plane lands of whether you're in Frankfurt or in Shanghai and the reason for that is that the what globalization is done to the build form of the city has essentially standardized the kinds of building topologies that are used of global and I'll tell you exactly how the works very 2 kinds of investment the end of foreign investment in a it In on this city infrastructure 1 of them is called opportunity invested with somebody outside sees an opportunity that people inside have not seen before or can mobilize the cash to Caesar uh an undervalued assets in the city of with enough with enough financial backing so that locals are at this place the other kind of investing is what's called
core of justice and this is where the closure of the city really comes into play which is that what you're buying is not built for long but space in specifications and this is how in this huge urban explosion which is happening today around the world most of
the building that is occurring to making cities somebody and call on tosses a 1 would invest
in India and I want to buy a building of safe 40 stories and I want say grade the power of a building equality and I wanna by so many square feet on because that's what I can find it as a land space I that means that those
specifications if it doesn't work out in Delhi you go to real G.
D. généraux you're looking to make what's called a core investment and it's a closed system in the sense that it's not reactive to anything that
locally on the ground it's only reacted to the available in its territory that you could buy and this core investing has overtaken opportunity investing which is the way cities developed at the end of much of America and some parts of Europe up to the 19 eighties core investing is now on of the dominant mode of developing city and center by
expects rather than buying a building might get the building a little application little xi hogtied squiggle on the surface of Frank Gary but angled roof and so on but the basics of the buildings have come out of a draw or rather that come off the computer screen and that can be applied anywhere and that is a fundamental the way in which economic closure works in this in the city you get closed
forms which are not reacted to the environment in which the set yeah I wanna say anything about Berlin but on you unfortunately world 1 of the prime examples in the nineties of core investors and that's what I was I said 1 of the things more arms so that that's a physical
sign of a closed system it's nonreactive to its circumstances there is no feedback into the nature of the form from what the places socially a closed system also has some familiar and some unfamiliar of elements I have a closed system is 1 in which the unique qualities
that people are experience are segregated that is to do to
say that what you don't have in a closed economic system is say working classes and middle classes interacting with each other struggling with each other
conflict and so on the reason you don't have this in cities is that the more and more segregated so the idea of a
close urban systems that terms in the notion of a source of an economic and also social silo that when differences exist those differences are separated because what you were afraid of is that in interacting you might get God forbid you might get out of a protest you might get daily encounters on the streets that were uncomfortable and so on so that kind of closure in a closed system is that when there is a potential source of conflict as in inequality that the sources of conflict are separated by a spatially of what we know today in a Europe and the United States is it that process of segregation is also creating a very stagnant economy for people on the bottom you know we make a great error in cities and focusing on the top 1 % because it's actually about 20 % of Union London
were so skin I live or a new or is the really the top 20 per cent that has prospered by urban conditions the bottom 80 per cent get nothing from the city and so what you really have a mean it's obscene that people get you know that the 1 % is obscene they shall be in jail but putting that aside the real issue is that the the top 20 % are a very dynamic economics
of and social situation where's the bottom 80 % are in this day and situations
and that is part of what happens in the closest which is that it has differentials of entropy in which gradually the and entropic this is almost the closest and become bigger and bigger and bigger and that's what we're seeing in modern cities today so by just to sum this
up by a closed system in the city I mean something that is homogenized to core financing I mean something I mean the social system and an economic system the in which when there potential for conflict that the answer so that is to segregate in silos the different groups living in this far art from each other as possible and that's thirdly in a closed system entropy gradually spreads larger and larger groups of people and that's what we have today this is also age-graded to there's more entropy must you look like you're in the twenties your in a more entropic age cohort
than people exhaustively give me word ancient you know of there's actually more economic and social dynamism on in the
old then it is with young people and have so this this is a menace it the so what would an open system look like of a great
error that people make in thinking about open systems is that they're basically anything goes that open means on structure and in fact that's
exactly what people that's exactly not the case and open system is a way of organizing the certain aspects of the behavior and certain ways of of the distribution the essence of an open system
is that it creates complexity of mathematically can understand
this as the fact that synergies occur an open system where in a closed system we only have added of of elements and 2 plus 2 equals 4 in the open and then a closed system in an open system as mathematicians Stephen Stuttgart described 2 plus 2 equals more than 4 because the parts are interacting with each other and they're interacting what synergy means is that the relationships become more and more complicated
of between them so for instance you made an urban analogy to this but if
you really next where if you put crates per and not Chris Burden but my kernel and and suddenly plots together if you had a system that combined those social and economic groups together the what would be produced in public in public places is something that could not be reduced to either of Kirlin or to suffer you plot something would interact and create a greater the greater whole that's the basic idea of the public sphere according to meet that according to your going uppermost but according to me what happens in the public sphere is that you have complexity produced by the by the adjacency of unlike other elements of so this 1st aspect of what an open city would look like it would be mixed in such a way that things got got more complicated you would have synergies particularly in the public realm the 2nd aspect of it is that an open system always has ambiguous edges if you think back to your biology class uh in school you remember that edges in natural environments come in 2 forms there is the boundaries or borders and add the boundary at things die out in the natural world for instance a territory where tigers you know poop around the edges of the territory to say enter this at your peril is a boundary so here's and the nation state that requires of a passport that the frontier those the edge is a source of of diminished energy and interaction whereas in the border of time at the edges of territories is where is heightened interaction you can see this in the natural world for instance even in something as simple as is that it in the where the the land heats the water and is uh sea that's where a species feed off of each other in the condition of that's where you have the fastest rates of evolutionary change and so on you have something where the edge is a realm of heightened activity but rather than diminished activity and what that means I'm convinced the in the urban realm Is that what we wanted to open up the system this to accentuate the low water condition which is a kind of of which is a kind of intensity in the meeting grounds between our different kinds of functions as well as different kinds of people it would be a border conditions in the city would be putting an AIDS hospice in the middle of the shopping center putting the school and the hospital together putting a mosque next door to the Catholic church or even a convenience store in the middle of both it's the notion of blurring the edges and what that means for planners is that you're privileging the ambiguity of space that is what you want to do is create more and more ambiguity not to have more and more definition and for us
this translates into a very differential relationship between the center and the edge of of a good example of this my own planning practice I made a terrible error in the 19 eighties I was working on a project to create a market in Spanish Harlem which is of what was in the
eighties and still is 1 of the poorest parts of New York mostly inhabited by of the Hispanics from Mexico and the known not from Mexico from Puerto Rico and from Central America Spanish Harlem lies just above 1 of the richest parts of of New York City and indeed in the world call the Upper West Side 5th Avenue Park Avenue all of the and in the
eighties there was a of the streak on 96th Street which was a kind of absolute boundary between people from the upper said never went into of Spanish Harlem and Spanish Shalom only went to the Upper East Side superservers mates in porters for these rich people s planners we had the money to build a market and the question
was do we do it at the center or at the edge to be in the middle of Spanish Harlem are on the edge of 90 6th Street and stupidly enough think we chose to put this communal resource in the center of the community because it
was part of the identity of so we thought of Spanish on we would have done better to think about it as a kind of border territory where a lady in in mink going out for a late nite of quart of milk would stand next in line maybe even to oral made but to somebody who was of lower class people working class Hispanic on the reason we did that is that there was a of strong impulse the the rich obviously 1 have nothing to do with poor but there was a strong impulse among the poor that by centralizing resources of the community we strengthen its identity it so this is a this is an example of something that I think when profoundly wrong we should have put that markets or school or any other public health resource in between these 2 groups to give them a sense of being physically in this very and divalent ambiguous space in which they'd have to notice that each of in which the the activity of attending to people unlike yourself was stimulated heightened that's that's of border condition and that's something that an open systems both mathematically in what are called fuzzing Venn diagrams for instance an urban mystically defined an open edge I have to go on here you see on the involvement of the 3rd aspect of an open city function is that it's dynamic rather than a fission and this is probably the most importantly I could say to you because many of you techies out of a dynamic system has a lot of new is built into it it's a system because of the very fact that things aren't getting together neatly or that there unresolved elements in and so on becomes more and more and more of original just we know this of would you from the work of Melanie Mitchell and what she calls near
chaos which is a condition in which of physical systems become more and more interactive the last easily
fitting they are together then what moment is shown is that highly efficient systems tend in the end to self degrading and are more entropic then the systems which in which there's a lot of conflicts on a simple way of thinking about this in terms of the city is if everything neatly fits together nothing is going on where as if things are in conflict with each other or on result if there are parts of the city that don't fit easily together there is more just as there is in a physical system there is more of interactivity and there's a higher degree of of the interaction of the system is dynamic rather than fission it wards off of entropy I give you 1 example of this is well known in the way of of thinking which
when I was a student dominated planning you put 1 of everything that in the distribution over the whole city saying not a thousand diamond merchants in Berlin spread those diamond merchants out so that each had its own
territory I you know its local footfalls so that is a recipe for killing all the at retail diamond merchants what you want to do is densify them together so that they're competing they're they're gossiping they're interacting they're fighting each other and there are also collaborating with each other on it's a basic principle about
of fighting entropy which is more density you have the more overlapping and groups the lesson rationalize more that you're going to create the stability of environment and for most of the history of cities that's been the case it's why people who also sell the
same sort of things tend to clump together rather than spread out evenly this is particularly true in the developing world such can I were recently in a delay which has the biggest open air of electronics market in the world called may replace had but others seem to be that I couldn't count them but there must be thousands of people who very conveniently have just found a box of red iPhones or of the of the headphone sets and so and it's all gray area commerce I need to you in some legal commerce and these are people who don't have stores they just have overturned boxes and and this name replace which open-air markets the sides of their repay places start up people frequently go out for USP from who's ever selling but like it should be very self-destructive but in fact in this and formalized market the fact that all these people are together is means of the
market is growing faster than if they were rationally spread out it so that's that's the 3rd aspect of an open system it's dynamic rather than efficiently distributed and
I come to question which I began with which is how do you what's the role of smart cities in this high tech but capable of many of you will know that many analysts of the Internet in of the people at the Oxford Internet Institute have argued that in the last 20 years of the Internet and more generally high tech but particularly the Internet has moving from an open to a closed system on the 1 hand that's the that's embodied in the fact that there were fewer and fewer players you know google is quot users swallows people up and that if the start ups and owns them or it shuts
them down the idea is to have less and less competition this is in age of Oxford people argue in which monopoly which used to dominate the industrial manufacturing sector now dominates the high-tech sector and that that's basically closing down the height of the high-tech it's becoming closed system for us in Urban as there is this kind of work that has a particular resonance because what we see is more and more standardized forms of of things like traffic control systems are of some kinds of underground heating systems for of for Use of of deep well water and so on that there are fewer and fewer options being sold to us by fewer and fewer firms so just as you the you know an open system on the Web originally was something like line that's where you could do a lot of adaptation you could write your own code and so on and you still can do that wonderfully and if I can learn alignments anybody can learn so what you having now is something more like the Google the kernel applied to urban
systems are becoming more and more standardized they the parallel more and more core
investors and the real center and this is the idea which is reducing the options of the systems that cities combine to manage of picked out but of course that's only part of the story of the advent of the hand-held some people have argued it is also a way in which smart cities are closing down the city that is when you look at Google Maps you're not making that discovery united you being given a lot of options you're being told what is the most efficient way to get from a to B and that's probably find format but the same thing is occurring in other domains in which handhelds and being used for instance you can get an app that tells you how to navigate the city of safely it surprise the answer to that is that the app shows you how to avoid in the United States cities black people and in Britain where the Muslim side it's the same principle the most efficient way to be safe is have something else to it for and and in general what we're seeing is a kind of model of mobility of traffic mobility being applied to lots of other kinds of social on experience and what this means is that rather than this technology enabling people giving them more opportunity is to find for instance I don't know how you would with a hand-held say find me the nearest of yeah of border you know if you can't write that into the system that present you could you know what's the problem of 96 straight you could do that if you wanted to the technology allows us but the mind of using it discriminates and represses against so my beef with current smart city technology is not the technology
itself it's the fact that it's intersected with an economic system which is closing things down so in a way which he's disabling a fundamental
property of all human cognition which is inductive reasoning from up particular circumstances that's the heart of an open system that induction is difficult it's difficult because
it's ambiguous you're dealing with complex data that's not neatly bounded while you're in the given with window namic rather
than a in a system in equilibrium of its efficiency you're dealing with something that requires intelligence and what is happening to be the smart system world now is the that that's kind of induction open adoption is being dismantled by these kind of
Corporate Corpora tising forms of closed use of technology
so what I would like know what I'm trying to figure out my book I don't have the answer to this year maybe you'll tell me what it is is how we can think about the uses of data the GIS systems all of the wonderful tech tools that we have to open up the city to reverse this process of monopolization and who did not to not to find a point about it the smart cities that we're getting our stupefy you don't have to think about being in and we want something that and in fact this is what makes people smarter not stupider so that is a kind of problematic and thinking about now there it and maybe also of course so in some whatever tried to describe to you as a contrast between open and closed to the closed city is the phenomenon of modern capitalism it has economic and also as
social consequences the Open City is something that have is not an
ideal their elements of open systems cities in the past open there are parts of open systems of open cities and in in many many places not an either or things but the open system is vulnerable
today to the closest system cities are becoming less open more
close and in that process the the the frightening thing is that were abusing technology by making it a kind of made of closure rather than opens thank you very much thank you know was most of Western can we what's wrong with this that's such good about it for you to have dying out we have like a
fire fire OK so you have to ask me in English assembly will have to make a new results of the research in online OK of next story yeah good but I would think you what is wonderful talk my name's modern trick from the Centre for Contemporary History I was wondering it you of stolen the
point what is new about this at open systems in open that in in in the in in the year our smart because if you look for example at the upper part hydrazine who built up the beast cities in the 19 US seventies 19 especially with well of the plans of separating a class and say that this isn't such a you of being way of thinking while especially in the 1960 1970 is the holding of cybernetics and and system thinking developed so if you some of the
point of it so the question about this is what's new about this kind of closure that your question was a very
good question and I think there's several things that a new about 1 is that these are not in diagonals closures that is they're not imposed from within there and in economic terms the imposed from without 1 aspect of core investing years of the 1 st place that people have is to investing in the neighborhood which is L which is that edge rather than a the a center and of it and then in the exogenous to investor that's called a global investors don't live there is going to do that as a way of protecting and stabilizing reinvestment that's part of what's new I mean globalization of created new kinds of its segregation you're absolutely right you the effect of it is that you know of a white so living
far from blacks in the township of real townships but they're doing that for different reasons when the apartheid regime for
instance was built up in South African cities it was local white investors who were doing that now it's people who are indifferent to that it's just a matter of catch I would also say here that technology also makes a big different on and i and jumping over your question but I just want to say that's 1 of the horrible
allusions in the tech world about the relation of attack in cities is something called the
Death of Distance homo
about this manual castells idea distance no longer matters so 1 could be anywhere so this isn't true if that were true but investors would be a snapping up of well known put it that way if that were true what you would have this kind process of Additive growth in which you just added more and more stuff randomly and
indiscriminately and as you'll hear from source k tomorrow territory is not organized that way it's a highly selective process of
expulsion and addition but if the death of distance were true basically you'd have been
neutralized space for investment but that's it's simply not the case I and for the kinds of apps and looking at you know like how to stay safe I avoid the blacks avoid Muslims the distances everything on that it's all a calculation of distance of social distance so I think that's the that's another aspect of our of why there's something new here of can to 1 with a terribly long which arm about the Open City part of this the idea of this is nothing the original to me Aristotle in the politics so as a city cannot be made of similar people a city is composed of different kinds of people and the term uses for that it's like cosmology and bringing together different kinds of plants from which the word synergy also to rise at it's a very fragile thing throughout most urban histories whether that that kind of open condition is conducive Ivan Ivanov it tends to survive when cities are growing economically and to fall apart in entropy takeover when cities and are are in the process of economic decline if you think about Venice Venice was this anoikis loss of real the complicated 1 but a real signal is this most of the people from all over the world trading and working there until about 1600 and then it becomes less dynamic it becomes more well organized and the traders begin to leave or as in the case of the Jews there there the together wise they have you know more more separation and rationalization of the city so this is a process and this is true it was a true in cities like American cities in Europe so the issue about this is that there's a kind of closure occurs when a kind of rationalizing a difference takes takes precedence over a kind of dynamic interactions so long long history of cities but if another 91 1 aggression and here in a time you are
referring to that play years who drive closed systems all closed cities how can we how can we identify the drivers of
open systems of OpenCyc days and how can we empower them that I
it that so the question is how can we identify what drives open the system I give you a an example that were living right now of the in my view the reason why all these refugees are good for us is not that very young labor force it can mean that elderly whites like me can retire intentions which I'm sure you've heard that from many people and not that the middle class is reduce the serious so that they're really sort of like
us for me the thing about that is that Our that is a driver of opening up society to think about relations of difference between us and them on that it's a fundamental way the presence of refugees and foreigners fundamental way in which societies think about what they're about how they can be very bad you now is that these people aren't like us we don't want them but 1 of the things that seems to be the case sociologically is that the more that you mix refugees and exiles in reasonable numbers with other established people already in the city of different religion or class whatever is it gradually for those of you in the city there is the so-called natives that their attitudes become much more open they become much more tolerant the same thing is true in the workplace and this and say this is america it was when I was boy in the 19 fifties it was thought that blacks and whites could never work together on the same in the same shot run the same factory and there way they were for segregated and Chicago where I grew up the stockyards you know where the animals were processed were rigidly segregated and lo and behold once the law obliged to these 2 groups to mix the attitude of the white workers you know those supposedly neo-fascist you know fearful white working class suddenly changed you know they might have still been racist in the abstract but you know Joe so and so's working next use black he's not like them and that's the way is so my notion about this I may be shocking to you but my notion is that we need to have been forced integration with residentially and also in the labor force and that less draconian and in schools you know it's we need a forced people a to be with people who are like themselves the need force them to do that kind of water work as and the 96th Street know and I think that's a driver of openness I don't know 1 thing I would not say about what I'm arguing is that people spontaneously argan open themselves up certainly that's not true in the cities that are of most cities that the big complicated city you need a state you need a law that obliges people to do the kinds and have the kinds of experiences which will change their behavior as well as the evidence so our idea in a news may sound very contentious is the generation of urbanism came before me like Jane Jacobs in the United States believe the people spontaneously were opened and was only the system that was sitting down on the that's too simple and open system requires structure it requires law requires a force even uh but the results of the of applying the kind of force or that kind of law is I think to to provide a kind a change in behavior and belief of the know in Britain and we look at you Germans you may think that you're missing in the disaster what's happened to you for most people in Britain they look in with incredible admiration to what's happened in Germany the last year we only take 5 thousand refugees a year in principle and so far we've taken from serious about 322 that's a closed society new all the
languages toleration integration and so on but there's nothing that is of of there is no legal force saying OK we should do our share we should take speedier 90 thousand in refugees and so
what I'm saying about and people are very content with that Britain they're very contend not not to have any refugees come so if you were i Prime Minister an unlikely event that we talk of so I would take in the year 90 so I would do I minuses Merkel for doing that and eventually I think those evidence will change if instead of segregating immigrants or refugees you actually bring them into places where they wouldn't normally be that's what an open system does it creates new orleans no he creates tension and that's what opens people up not comfort MIT and
half of the
19th on isolated has
also occurred in on it and then send on the and also very let's look forward to something that is sold to learn in 1 state 1 big-name eyes but being in it block with the
head of the
Nachbarschaft <Mathematik>
Offene Menge
Gesetz <Physik>
Geschlossenes System
Vorzeichen <Mathematik>
App <Programm>
Kategorie <Mathematik>
Güte der Anpassung
Mobiles Internet
Gebäude <Mathematik>
Dichte <Physik>
Rhombus <Mathematik>
Generator <Informatik>
Grundsätze ordnungsmäßiger Datenverarbeitung
Diagonale <Geometrie>
Algebraisch abgeschlossener Körper
Stabilitätstheorie <Logik>
Klasse <Mathematik>
Automatische Handlungsplanung
Abgeschlossene Menge
Gewicht <Mathematik>
Reelle Zahl
Thermodynamisches Gleichgewicht
Offene Menge
Faktor <Algebra>
Wort <Informatik>
Prozess <Physik>
Statistische Schlussweise
Gemeinsamer Speicher
Natürliche Zahl
Formale Sprache
Kartesische Koordinaten
Element <Mathematik>
Komplex <Algebra>
Kernel <Informatik>
Arbeit <Physik>
Parallele Schnittstelle
Lineares Funktional
Plot <Graphische Darstellung>
Konfiguration <Informatik>
Arithmetisches Mittel
Twitter <Softwareplattform>
Betrag <Mathematik>
Anpassung <Mathematik>
Projektive Ebene
Interaktives Fernsehen
Physikalische Theorie
Physikalisches System
Speicher <Informatik>
Leistung <Physik>
Fundamentalsatz der Algebra
Diskretes System
Physikalisches System
Offenes Kommunikationssystem
Rationale Zahl
Bus <Informatik>


Formale Metadaten

Titel The City as an Open System
Serientitel re:publica 2016
Teil 22
Anzahl der Teile 188
Autor Sennett, Richard
Lizenz CC-Namensnennung - Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland:
Sie dürfen das Werk bzw. den Inhalt zu jedem legalen Zweck nutzen, verändern und in unveränderter oder veränderter Form vervielfältigen, verbreiten und öffentlich zugänglich machen, sofern Sie den Namen des Autors/Rechteinhabers in der von ihm festgelegten Weise nennen und das Werk bzw. diesen Inhalt auch in veränderter Form nur unter den Bedingungen dieser Lizenz weitergeben.
DOI 10.5446/20684
Herausgeber re:publica
Erscheinungsjahr 2016
Sprache Englisch

Inhaltliche Metadaten

Fachgebiet Informatik
Abstract We all are Homo Faber: Making, Open Systems and Terms of Cooperation.

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