chapter  13
22 Pages

Data and politics of information

Rezoning New York City through Big Data
ByPablo Lorenzo-Eiroa

In the neoliberal model of urban development, policy makers have displaced architects and urbanists in planning and designing cities, or at least, one could argue, architects and urbanists have been removed from key decisions. In many cases, the implicit claim is that the market decides the form of the city. Architects have been criticised for designing cities from top-down structuring visions, apparently proposing autonomous, unrealistic ideas. But the result of this process perhaps escapes the personal agendas of policy makers, who often end up following autonomous managerial real-estate parameters, which by default arrive at defining land ownership rights, zoning regulations, parks, infrastructure, transportation, the city fabric, the city block, and predominant building typologies. Moreover, financial parameters ended up defining urban uses without addressing architecture and urbanism as a field of study and disregarding previous revolutions in urbanism such as health, public space, and the integral relationship of cities with the environment. While this neoliberal ideology pressures public space, parks, and the environment, turning them into commodities, it seems that a clear, politically urban position today would be to activate and expand urban voids and promote latent ecologies. These issues are discussed through an academic-studio research that aims to understand the contemporary city as a topologically continuous space-environment, proposing transformations of the overall structure of New York City by specific accumulative interventions, gathering, processing, and transforming Big Data including fluid-dynamic information.