Interactive Urban Simulator

31 May 2007/31 Jul 2007

Interactive Urban Simulator

Year – 2007
Lisbon Architecture Triennale
Chief curator – José Mateus
Exhibition curators – Cláudia Taborda, Catarina Raposo
Location – Lisbon, Portugal

Partners – Albuquerque Goinhas, Augusto Marcelino, Cristina de Mendonça, Luis Baptista, Nuno Griff, Pedro Patrício, Sofia Antunes

Human Geography –  José Manuel Simões

Game Tecnology –  InMotion Media Studios (Vasco Mendes de Campos, Rui Silva)

3D Animations – Rui Martins, EMBAIXADA

Video –  MTG (Mercês Tomaz Gomes), Luis Baptista, Sandra Ribeiro e Georgie Uris, Karim Sulemane

Photography – MTG (Mercês Tomaz Gomes), Cláudia Taborda, EMBAIXADA

In 2007, embaixada was approached by the curators of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale to develop a formal urban proposal for a “future void” on the site of Lisbon Portela Airport. The rationale behind the project was the strong probability that the current airport will have been relocated by 2050, leaving a unique opportunity for the city of Lisbon to consider its expansion into this huge new vacant area.

More than seeing this as a design opportunity, the position of the studio was to see this as an opportunity to listen to visitors and map out their vision and desires for the city. It was decided that it would be much more interesting to allow visitors to take part in the discussion and to develop the design themselves.

Establishing a participatory process that is less mediated by technicians and politicians, P-2050 is an interactive tool conceptually supported by game theory and developed through multidisciplinary collaboration with Merces Gomes (Video Direction), Rui Martins (3D Animation), and InMotion MediaStudio (Multimedia). P-2050 makes use of virtual reality technology and allows the screen to be controlled by simply executing movements in the air. With these movements and a simple set of virtual tools, the game begins.

The game consists of two levels:

Stage 1
Various examples of urban meshes can be compared, such as downtown Lisbon, the New York grid, the Casbah of Algiers and the blocks of Barcelona. Through an exercise of memory and comparison, it is possible to understand the dimensions and potential of this empty terrain in Lisbon, making it possible to map out possibilities with an awareness of well-known examples.

Stage 2
The visitor has the opportunity to generate his own city model by selecting and combining various elements such as infrastructure, buildings, vegetation and urban blocks.
The direct idealisation of the city by its own citizens allows them to demand higher standards and builds a data base outlining their own ambitions and motives. Through simple combinations, we sought to encourage free thought among citizens and to map their complex ambitions.

At the end of the design process, each visitor could save their customised city proposal. The two-month-long exhibition period made it possible to gather a huge collection of designs, generating a data set that can be analysed and worked on in the future.

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