Forum 2016 - Infrastructure Space - Detroit (Ruby Press)

231 230 despread integration of a new public knowledge of climate emergency and its spatio-social management. These strategies, set out in rend- erings, drawings, and project descrip- tions from RBD proposals, make the integration of cybernetic infrastructures a unanimous component of resilience urbanism. In the final round of RBD, several of the winning proposals sug- gested that, through the use of distri- buted Internet and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructures, new feedback loops of data—relevant for government, first responders, insuran- ce companies, and the general popu- lation—could be created to streamline the management of climate emergency situations in time scales both immedi- ate (first responders) 5 and long-term (recalibration of risk by insurance com- panies). 6 And like all cybernetic urba- nism projects, the real-time distribution of bodies provides the basis on which a new knowledge of the city and its permanent management can play out across all scales of the metro region. This form of urbanism appears to privilege two distinct scales of inter- vention: On the one hand, this project is an attempt to address a regional site that stretches across much of the Eas- tern Seaboard—a scale that brings to mind Jean Gottmann’s “megalopolis.” On the other hand, RBD deploys its strategies at a much more immediate scale, where concepts like resilience, climate change, coastal geographies, ecology, and even nature itself sud- denly appear in vibrant, fluctuating colors and displays, creating a space sensible to the body, from which citi- “love child” of Jane Jacobs and Ro- bert Moses 4 , the projects assembled by RBD unanimously seem to abstain from any radical transformations to the physical spaces of greater New York City, employing strategies instead that appear to operate at a fine grain, all the while deploying themselves across the tristate area, some of which ex- tend quite far along the Eastern Sea- board. Superficially more Jane Jacobs than Robert Moses, the resilience urbanism of RBD appeals to a certain “back to basics” attitude—an urbanism more intent on celebrating the life of the city than its proposed infrastructural inter- ventions. Appearing to promote agen- cy rather than heavy-handed design, the project comprises largely “reclai- med” spaces at the interface of land and water, appropriated by the bodies who inhabit them—shoppers at a local market, families playing on docks, tai chi under the freeway—all of which seem to accentuate the everyday behaviors of individuals. It achieves this by treating the totality of existing urban space as infinitely augmenta- ble through cybernetic technologies. Cybernetic space, it is suggested, coordinates a new sense of public exchange: Citi Bike stands double as real-time hurricane and flood informa- tion stations with public Wi-Fi hots- pots and cell-phone charging points; news kiosks distribute “Flood Risk” flyers; and flood-risk apps will be made widely available in order to communicate with and coordinate the population of the coastal urban regi- on. All of which will assure the wi- Fig. 1: Alternative information delivery via the retrofitting of already existing infrastructure, as designed by the OMA team. (shipping lanes, global infrastructures, “operational landscapes,” 3 etc.) than with understanding its commands — as a logic that organizes and orders space, infrastructures, domesticity, processes of control, expansion, de- struction, networks and circulations, and so on. By treating the urban as a logic, we may begin to question its very nature as both the concrete ab- straction of capitalism and the spatial organization of political form—a rea- ding that remains somewhat obscured by the predominant overemphasis of its relation to capitalism. Scaleless Space Under the name of “resilience,” a practice of urbanism has emerged whose strategies appear to hinge on their ability to organize circulations and technologies, bodies and ecolo- gies, regions and infrastructures fluidly across scales. Rebuild by Design (RBD) is a flagship project of resilien- ce urbanism. Launched in the summer of 2013, following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, RBD is an on- going project that intends to imple- ment corrective measures across the New York City metropolitan region’s coastal zones and the aging infra- structural networks they depend on. The practices underpinning the pro- ject are generative of an urban space whose consistency and conditions of possibility are located in planetary and extra-planetary infrastructures, yet whose effects are registered in and across all scales at once. What makes this form of urbanism unique is that it hints at the possibility that large-scale infrastructure is no longer the sole, privileged medium through which subsequent processes of urbanizati- on proceed. Rather, it suggests that the urban can be entirely rethought around the body , with the body itself treated as a medium of urbanization— as a site through which both macro and micro processes of accumulation, consumption, circulation, control, and subjectivation are mediated. RBD is a pragmatic response to the reality of climate change and its promise for more extreme weather to come. As an initiative of the Ro- ckefeller Foundation, in coordination with municipal, state, and national agencies, RBD has brought together ten teams of architects, urbanists, engineers, marine ecologists, climate scientists, and economists to propose a new approach to design in the age of climate change. Peddled as the

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