Charles Nypels Foundation:

Home / Charles Nypels / Charles Nypels Foundation / Jan van Eyck Academie / Authoring the city / The tomorrow book / Contact / Links


Authoring the city:

Working group /Lectures / Research theme / Researchers / Advising researchers / Library



Research theme

On the basis of the lectures and a closed discussion the working group formulated the research theme Authoring the city: urban space as a communication platform and a communication device.

Architecture is virtually the only design discipline consistently and systematically focusing on urban space. Only few agents – apart from architects and urbanists, sometimes also politicians and companies – apparently feel the call to use the city as a communication device. This one-sided, long-term approach leads to an impoverishment of urban culture. Thus, large urban areas are used by companies as means of communication, the so-called brand bombing. Not only has there been scarcely any response to this development from designers, but it has barely been researched, either.
The city features not only long-term communication through architectural and urbanist interventions, but also short-term communication via flyers, posters, billboards, graffiti, art in public spaces, spoken tours, … Many of these communication devices are non-official, informal. As a result, these forms of communication have hardly ever been the topic of research. Apart from the design of this kind of communication, the social, historic, technological aspects of communication about and inside the city are also important for the research.

The Charles Nypels Foundation wishes to stimulate design research into the city as a communication platform and a communication device. The research project will have a pre-eminently multi-disciplinary character.

Examples of specific research questions

– Should the original design of a city be maintained? How do maintenance and restoration relate to innovation and city development?
– Which image is conjured up by the city as communication platform? Which image is conjured up by the city as communication device? How does the city as communication platform relate to the city as communication device?
– Who communicates with whom? In which way do individuals and groups communicate with each other in the city?
– Which forms of communication used to be used in the urban environment, and which nowadays? Which factors influence the appearance and disappearance of forms of communication? What is the role of technological developments?
– How can the design of formal forms of communication in the city be optimised? Is it desirable to chart and influence informal communication? How can these informal forms of communication be influenced?
– How can communication be established for the benefit of people who have no grip on communication devices? How can these people get a grip on communication devices? How can technology be used to achieve this objective?
– What is the character of official information flows in urban space? How can these be improved or influenced? Can non-official information flows be charted?
– What does the invisible communication in the city look like?
– What is the difference between urban communication with a commercial intent and urban communication with a non-commercial intent?
– How can communication be used more flexibly?
– Which devices can be used as decoration in/ of the city? Which opportunities are offered by new technologies for decorating the city?

Maastricht

Maastricht will function as a case study in the research. On the one hand, because Maastricht is the example par excellence of a restored and controlled city – where in Maastricht, for instance, can one find randomly pasted posters? On the other hand, with a more practical view. It is after all imaginable that parts of the research will be processed concretely.
Comparative research in other cities, in the Netherlands, Europe or other continents, is in the realm of possibilities.

Conditions The research should contribute to the innovation of the design discipline.

Candidates are expected to establish the aims, methodologies and realisation of their own projects as well as be engaged with what is being produced by fellow researchers.

Candidates are expected to give interim public presentations. Research should be concluded with a production and presentation. Research will be produced and publicised under the aegis of the Charles Nypels Foundation.

Candidates should indicate the duration of their research project. The research period has a maximum of 24 months.

Maastricht will function as a case study in the research. Comparative research in other cities, in the Netherlands, Europe or other continents, is in the realm of possibilities.