Friday, 24 May 2019

Philosophy of the City Round-up (May 2019)

The deadline for the annual conference of the Philosophy of the City Research Group is approaching. Don't miss the opportunity to present and discuss your work in Detroit (Oct 3-6, 2019).

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to the Philosophy of the City Summer Colloquium in Lahti and Helsinki (17.–18.6.2019). You can find the amazing program here.

I am also received my copy of Philosophy and the City: Interdisciplinary and Transcultural Perspectives. It's great to see, that the topic is gaining attention within Philosophy!

My paper on Urban Resilience and Distributive Justice just came. - Talking about "Resilience": I am co-organizing a session called "From the ethics of risk to the ethics of resilience - Integrating participatory approaches" with Samantha Copeland (TU Delft) at the DeSIRE conference (University of Twente, June 6-7, 2019).

 Finally, if there are any PotC related news, which you would like me to share my on this blog: Please, let me know.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Boring spaces I: Things to do at Times Square (NYC, Jan 2019)

My hotel was located close to Times Square. I had to go there. I had to see it. I am in Times Square. I am amazed by the quality of the big size video screens. The constantly changing patterns on the screen underline the artificial nature of the place. I visit the place at night. But there is no room for darkness. The square is brighter than most places, I have visited on that grey and cold day. I have to think of Vilém Flusser’s essay on our codified world. Flusser (1997) reminds us that at the beginning of the 20th century the world used to be far less colourful:
Our environments are filled with colours, which by day and by night, in public and in private space, are whispering and screaming to get our attention. ... We are exposed to a constant stream of colours; we are programmed by colours. (Flusser 1997, p. 21, my translation)
But what to do at Times Square? The images on the screen support Flusser's considerations and suggest that I am being programmed to go shopping. I don’t want to go shopping. But what else to do a Times Square? The urban furniture invites me to take a seat. I could sit there and watch the activities on the square. I have to think about James Conlon's reflections about sitting on a bench in Central Park, which is just a few blocks away. He reminds us that watching people in public is, after all, an important part, maybe even the origin of Philosophy:
Socrates began his philosophical work by abandoning astronomy and turning his attention instead to the human diversity collected in the agora. … Only in the city are eyes granted such continuous opportunity for staring, for the sustained and intense observation of human behaviour so basic to philosophy. (Conlon 1999, pp 205-207)
I tend to agree with Conlon, given the fact that most philosophers do actually live and work in - or at least - close to cities. I am actually guilty of doing philosophy in public spaces, where I can experience the being together with strangers. - Yet, these considerations do not seem to apply to Times Square. I can't imagine what to do here; hence, I fail to imagine what other people can do here. I leave Times Square behind. I actually enjoyed being there. I do enjoy the spectacle. Yet, there is nothing much to do, besides enjoying the spectacle. After a while, the spectacle becomes boring.

References


  • Conlon, James (1999): Cities and the place of Philosophy. In: S. M. Meagher (ed.) (2008). Philosophy and the City (pp. 199-209). New York: State University of New York Press.
  • Flusser, Vilém (1997): Die kodifizierte Welt. In: V. Flusser: Medienkultur. Edited by Stefan Bollmann. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch. – The text was originally published in 1978.

Note

The text is part of the manuscript of my talk “The right kind of boring space” delivered at the Future City Foundation on April 5, 2019. I plan to publish a total of four blogs based on the talk.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Philosophy of the City Round-up (Feb 2019)

The Call for Papers for the Philosophy of the City Summer Colloquium on Urban Aesthetics has been a great success. Thanks, everybody for sharing!

The Call for Papers for the Philosophy of the City 2019 conference is open till June 1, 2019. I hope that the meeting will receive the same amount of attention.

For your reading list: My colleague Mark Ryan has published an interesting paper on the ethical aspects of smart city projects (Open Access).

As for my activities: I will attend a seminar on Housing and Values at TU Delft on March 13/14, 2019, and will deliver a keynote at the event „The future city: boring or bombastic?“ (Future City Foundation, Amersfoort) on April 5, 2019.

Finally, since it looks like the „Philosophy of the City Roundups“ are becoming a regular thing: Feel free to send me pointers to events, publications, and activities! I am happy to include them in the next round.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Philosophy of the City Round-up

1. Philosophy of City 2019: We just published our Call for papers for the annual conference of the Philosophy of the City Research Group. You still have time to think about a cool subject for your brilliant talk. Abstracts are due in June 2019. But we expect you to come. OK?

2. Taylor Stone has defended his PhD thesis earlier this week. His pioneering doctoral thesis on Artifical Lightning is available online.

3. If you want to get an update on the BRIDE project: Kars Alfrink, who is working on the project at TUD, just posted an update on his blog.

4. Since we are talking about BRIDE: If you are around in Amsterdam on February 1, 2019, and have some time at 15:00 - we are looking for volunteers to interact with the 3D-printed IoT-enabled MX3D bridge to create our initial data set. Please, send me an email if you are interested.

5. Finally, as a reminder: the Call for the Philosophy of the City Summer Colloquium 2019 is still open and you may still join us for the Social Resilience in Diverse Societies workshop.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Workshop: Social resilience of diverse societies - We are looking for participants!

I got involved in organizing an interactive workshop on "social resilience of diverse societies." The workshop will take place on March 8, 2019, in The Hague. To quote from the invitation:
The workshop “Social resilience of diverse societies” will put together people that are representing various parts of this diverse society coming from two European countries, the Netherlands and Germany. In interactive sessions, we would like to elaborate on the challenges a diverse society faces in times of crises and what coping strategies exist. Building on this, we would like to highlight the opportunities that self-developed coping strategies offer to society and national disaster response strategies. In that way, a “best practice” for an integrative and inclusive disaster and crisis management can be identified and used to serve as a model for policy and decision makers.
We are currently looking for representatives from diverse groups (e.g., people with disabilities or migrant communities) to discuss and strengthen their role in disaster and crisis management. If you are a member of such a group or do know groups which may want to get involved: Please forward our invitation or register here. Please note that the number of participants is limited.