Research: UrgentCity – Towards a New Vocabulary of Terms

UrgentCity – Towards a New Vocabulary of Terms is a research project and activities program that investigates the role of language in diverse disciplines that contribute to contemporary citymaking. Curated by Amateur Cities (NL) and New Generations (IT), UrgentCity aims to understand the words that define the contemporary inter-disciplinary vocabulary, and that will work as a basis from which to address urgent urban matters.

As an urban habitat, cities offer abundant opportunities, but at the same time, they face many challenges on many fronts, such as the environment, economy, technology and society. In the near future, citizens, governments and NGOs will need to be actively involved in the urban discourse, and to approach city planning collaboratively. By crowdsourcing ideas from a variety of contributors, Amateur Cities and New Generations aim to co-create a multidisciplinary epistemological framework of existing and new terms, and to take several crucial steps towards a new, accessible, urban vocabulary.

The project has engaged the public at three different stages. The first phase was based on an “open call” for terms, in order to crowdsource information about the current state of urban vocabulary. To delve deeper into this mission, the curators took a closer look at the possibility of a shared discourse, by producing twenty video interviews with experts from different disciplines. A public event concludes the research phase, gathering the general public, experts and local government representatives to discuss the four main topics of New Ecologies – regarding the relationship between urban environments and nature; Urban Assets – regarding the structure of our cities; Digital Toolkit – regarding digital governance and eLearning; and New Collectives – regarding the growing population and community sentiment.

Check the UrgentCity website for full access to interviews and research or the UrgentCity Facebook page for the latest project updates.

The initiative, curated by Amateur Cities (NL) and New Generations (IT), is supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL, the Dutch Embassy in Rome and the General Consulate in Milan, the Board of Architects of Florence, and FAF – Fondazione Architetti Firenze.