Curatorial Statement

A revolution seems to be on the way. Some compare it to the dawn of the Internet era. Others refer to it as one of the most profound changes in the way we will live since the emergence of the 20th century modernist city. What is this dramatic change? First, we are seeing a proliferation of portable devices and wireless connectivity. Cell phones, laptops - and also RFID tags and other miniaturized transmitters - are becoming common and increasingly linked.
Technology, now dispersed throughout the built environment, is blanketing our cities with interconnected digital bits.
Second, powerful data-handling software, such as GIS and other custom made applications, allows us to transform large amounts of data into meaningful information. We can easily assemble, manipulate and attach this information to geographic locations, thus generating new perspectives on the city.
The combined effect of these changes is monumental. The way we describe, understand, and live in cities - along with the tools we use to design and alter their physical structure - is being radically transformed.
For instance, for the first time it is possible to capture the dynamics of an entire city in real-time by monitoring mobile phones (Real Time Rome project). Such an instant electronic census raises broad questions: how could urban resources be instantly reallocated in order to reduce urban energy usage? How could real-time information assist individual decision making in the city? Cars and public transportation can also be redesigned in digitally networked environments, providing ways of moving about the city that use less land, less energy and less time (Smart Mobility Systems and The City Car). Information from the digital realm that tells us about critical urban conditions can be translated into accessible physical form (Tangible Media Interfaces). Finally, public spaces can be reinvented as interactive and open-source gateways to our digital future (Zaragoza Milla Digital).The projects on show in Connections, all under development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, aim to contribute to one of the great challenges architects and planners face today when dealing with the design of new century cities: uniting silicon and concrete!


Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory: Carlo Ratti
Curator responsible for the SENSEable City Laboratory installation: Andres Sevtsuk
Visual Software Designer: Burak Arikan, Francesco Calabrese
Interaction Designer: James Patten
Exhibition Graphic Designer: Luca Ballarini, LABEL Magazine / BELLISSIMO
Principal Sponsor: Telecom Italia
Technical Partners: ATAC - Google - Samarcanda Taxi
Partner Cities: Citta di Roma - Ayuntamiento de Zaragoza

The exhibition includes projects developed at MIT by the SENSEable City Laboratory,
the Design Laboratory, the Smart Mobility Group, the Tangible Media Group at the Media Lab
and the City Design and Development group at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
For detailed credits see individual projects.

MIT Telecom Italia SENSEable City