Article in MONU – magazine on urbanism #14

We wrote an article for MONU – magazine on urbanism, together with Ben Cerveny, our ubiquitous mentor, digital urbanist and co-founder of VURB. The latest edition of MONU (#14 – EDITING URBANISM) addresses the enormous potential of the already existing urban material under the title ‘Editing Urbanism’.

Other contributions, from a.o. Rem Koolhaas’ OMA and our dear friend and ‘Shinto-architect’ Jarrik Ouburg, focused on such topics as urban and architectural restoration, preservation, renovation, redevelopment, renewal and adaptive reuse of old structures.

In our article, “Controlling the City”, we argue that:

“The contemporary city does not only consist of physical architecture, but is increasingly shaped by flows of data and information that are continuously transforming and expanding. The enormous increase in the use of hand-held devices and mobile applications in recent years is allowing a new and more direct interaction with our built environment.

Together with the tools we use to design cities, the way we envision and understand cities is being transformed just as well. We are slowly beginning to develop systems that allow us to see urban development patterns over large spans of time and space, enabling us to use the information to really improve our cities.”

Given our obsession with music and DJ-culture we immediately liked MONU’s introduction to our text:

“Just as remixes of songs are alternative versions of recorded songs, made from original versions, remixes of cities can be alternative versions of the original cities.”

Just imagine that you can control the traffic lights, simply by using your iPhone…

But how will all these new data and interactive tools affect the way we experience and manage cities? Can a city become a game? Who will own and control all the content generated by smart cities – governments, the community or private corporations? And how can the underprivileged and disconnected also benefit from all of this?

With our article we hope to provide some answers to these urgent questions.


You can buy a copy of the magazine at a selection of book shops around the world and online on MONU’s website or browse the entire issue #14 on YouTube.