All posts filed under: Heritage

How to model our future cities?

The novel Frankenstein written by the English author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley describes the creation of a poor wretch. The premise is that a sum of organs could create a human being. Shelley wanted to write the best horror story and she succeeded. “Smart” buildings, “intelligent” transportation systems and “smart” airports are all isolated projects (managed by independent departments) which leverage the use of technology to create new urban value in a city being modernised and often called a “smart city”. Like Frankenstein, the sum of isolated “smart” urban projects creates a so-called “smart city”! A city is not a sum of things. Vibrant cities are a complex system of systems (and not a set of sets) which rely on economic, social and environmental interconnected values with the goal to support urban sustainability. In the history of ideas, Aristotle was probably the first to point out that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Blaise Pascal wrote in Pensées 72, “since everything then is cause and effect, dependent and supporting, mediate and immediate, …

MOMA, New York City

Museums and Time

“Why are museums associated with the past?”, asks Pietro Clemente, Anthropology Professor at the University of Florence, Italy, in a paper focusing on Heritage. Perhaps because of the Muses, or Egyptian, Etruscan and Roman museums. When you think about these ancient people, you think they are in a fuzzy and remote time, not in the ‘real’ time of our knowledge of them: but then archeology is one of the most modern and computerized subjects of the humanities. Of course, there is still some room for romantic gestures and visionary insights, but the last word is based on computed tomography. Collections are a relatively recent phenomenon, and for certain categories (objects of ordinary people, calling cards, modern art) it is constantly changing. The ICOM (International Council of Museums, a UNESCO related NGO) was founded on science museums and civilization museums, like archaeological and ethnographic ones, that have more than 150 years, and are constantly updating their communication and multimedia technology. In this sense there is nothing more up-to-date, postmodern, and technologically advanced of a museum. Especially …