Background & Vision
During the past year, we started a “guerrilla research” project in which we interviewed friends and contributors from very different cities such as, NYC, Barcelona, Berlin, Malaga, Toledo and Madrid. We asked them about: the main needs they noticed in their cities, their point of view regarding the Smart City concept and how they thought the smart evolution should be.
Their answers confirmed our first feelings: our cities need to be re-thought, re-designed and re-discovered.
The process should be capable of introducing the voice of the citizens in the dynamics of urban evolution. We believe is only that way that we can take advantage of the whole set of flows and information that makes the urban space become one centre of creativity and richness, of well-being and development.
Our team dedicated two weeks to make observations in different areas of Madrid, identifying free spaces and damages. We discovered spaces that could be used for other purposes, as well as various damages in our everyday paths. All the findings in this fieldwork have been documented with photographs.
Looking at the outcomes of this research and following the will of influencing the situation somehow, even if it was a small act about it, we propose Hackity. This is a project guided by a rediscovering strategy and a different approach of the spaces and urban flows from a bottom-up perspective. Hackity aims to empower the capacity of citizens to take part in decision making and building acts that influence directly the places they live in. Definitely: an urban empowering initiative.
Researching and reviewing experiences or projects that have been done along the lines of action in urban spaces, we founded projects close to our idea. DriftDecks for example, is an algorithmic game that proposes its users to navigate the streets of the city using cards with instructions that propose derivé around the city.
Within our ideation process in Hackity, the concept of derivé has been used has a methodological approximation to our proposal.
As it is known, derivé is a concept proposed by the Situationist Movement in the second half of last century and raised to the category of arts by a group of followers, such as Guy Debord.
Diving into the History of Art, we can find examples of similar performances. In the dawn of the 20th century already, there is a correlation to the way of living of vanguard artists, such as Futurists, or to the poem passages, such as Baudelaire’s between others:
“A mythical and phantasmagorical Paris, is polysemous and polyphonic, as the modernity that gives support to it”
Deeply rooted in the urban landscape and framed in the broader concept of Psicogeografy, the derivé set out a performatic and critical alternative to the standardized urban routes created by phenomena such as tourism or established urban organization.
These represented a conceptual arm-wrestles to the logics imposed to cities and their landscapes (also emotional) from economics and politics.
They aimed to break these established logics to impose the logic of the chance, spontaneity and of the non-expected.
Our goal with this initiative is to recover the potential of rediscovering spaces and re-appropriation of the flows of information.
Nowadays, more than ever, our cities are outlined from an economic-centrist vision. Its paths, streets, galleries, parks, museums, converge without us noticing it to a fundamentally economic scope.
We need to revert and channel this flow. The cities need to be people-focused, before any other particular activity.
Derivé nowadays, support new applications and technologies that help to put people and their discoveries in the centre of the urban flows.
These types of dynamics help to rediscover the urban, yes.
But also are useful to report the transit, to draw new maps and routes in the cities, to make the back room of the cities brighter.
We are looking for a city that listens to its citizens.
We believe our proposal could be a method to construct networks, a way to build bridges between points with no previous connection, of global visualization of improbable nodes.
This could also be translated as a rediscovery of local value, of promotion of citizens, of brightening of new urban order where the citizens are at the core of all the decisions and acts that affect them.
All these, built from an organic, social, participatory and creative focus.
Hackity also takes inspiration from the experience of the Hacking the City -Interventions in urban and communicative spaces project, more than twelve cultural hacking performances carried out in the city of Essen during 2010.
In the 20th century humanity is involved in an urbanism experiment as never before. At this moment in time this experiment is our reality.
We are urban beings. The cities are our natural habitat.
We need tools and technologies that will help our participation and that will increase our capabilities, that will make us become Smart Citizens that live in Smart Cities.