Connected Spaces, Controlled Movements: Technology, Surveillance, Security, and Cities

Besides the hype and enthusiasm surrounding the possibilities of an increasing capacity for central control of the urban environment justified by the dream of smart urbanism, the city is also made up of a series of scattered networks of technologies and practices. These form a fluid network of devices and systems that participate in the formation of an intangible territorial layer made of ephemeral appropriations of space with various levels of interconnection, systematization and complexity. I believe there is an informal and unnegotiated form of territorialization that is fundamentally supported by the possibilities for smarter control over actions in the urban space offered by ever smaller and more invisible technologies. The making of geographical territories in the city is a sociotechnical process that involves an overlapping of different physical, legal, cultural and technological interconnected layers. In the logic of the territorial layers, private management of public spaces can be seen as yet another coating in the making of urban territories. The aim of this project is to understand the connections, strategies, practices, as well as use of architectural elements and digital technologies for the management of movements, flows, and borders in public/private spaces. In other words, I endeavour to investigate design and management strategies for safety and security in public and private open areas in contemporary cities. London will be used as a case study, and it is expected that the proposal for the Garden Bridge (not yet under construction) can provide up to date and insightful information about the topic of managing flows and security in places like this. This research explores the interplay between design strategies, surveillance technologies and practices, and the organization of public space in contemporary (globalized) cities..