WEEK 8 Oct 22, 2014


The Earth is our lover. We are madly, passionately, and fiercely in love, and we are grateful for this relationship each and every day. In order to create a more mutual and sustainable relationship with the Earth, we collaborate with nature. We treat the Earth with kindness, respect and affection.



We discussed a number of current strategies in the "state of the art" /

  1. culture-led urban regeneration opportunities, post disaster, and/or towards unpredictable climate events.  e.g. Christchurch: FESTA; ministry of awesome; Gapfillers all use participatory engagement, civic innovation to reclaim and explore the rebuild. Can they generate the support, financial and political, to get beyond the ephemeral event towards revising infrastructure?
  2. Biophilic cities initiate: enlisting mayors to create campaign and development platform
  3. MONA, like MASSMoCA, massive cultural institutions that create economic development but more importantly put a place on the map. creates a destination. GASP, while part of the MONA-effect is exemplary of culture-led waterfront development
  4. "the spectacle of adaptation": how birds, and other nonhumans are adapting to urban environments. Look for examples and continue to take photos of budding, flowering or interactions bt pollinator/plant or any natural phenomena in the city that captures your attention.
  5. Ecosexuality: an inclusive framing that outs us, any of us who take any sensual pleasure in nature, as ecosexuals. (cf identify politics)
  6. these engagement strategies were discussed in contrast with the legal, legislative and policy strategies that dominate the environmental imagination; that culturally "suing deep pockets" is not the only and maybe not to appropriate way to focus on  many current environmental challenges; how soul deadening environmental law can be/is.


WEEK 4: Sept 24, 2014

Discussing who and how can interventions happen in shared public space… continued, off shore, onto the street and in the future.



  1. Chris Woebken : Future scope. 99c futures. playing with the future.
    Impatients: what concrete product would u like to see in your near future?
  2. Colleeen Flanigan: biorock, performing lifestyle experiments.
    Impatients: what persona would u develop?


For Discussion:  

What was yr favorite image from Peoples Climate March? Did u participate? Why/how or why not? How does the rousing presence of so many remains present…on the streets and in the public imagination?  Is it possible to transform the ephemeral crowds into social movement?


Readings on the TREExOFFICE, a Public Experiment:

WEEK 3: Sept 17, 2014

Discussing who and how can interventions happen in shared public space… continued, off shore and onto the street.



  1. Chris Ryan: Urban Acupuncture
  2. Alec Applebaum: role playing; strategic pedagogy to develop civic interventions and self determination of youth




How Stuff Is Made initial discussion:


Start making list of products/goods

WEEK 2: Sept 10, 2014

This week we will discuss how to represent social movements using the example of Barrez-vous | Facebook and the youthonomics of Felix Marquadt/ Might this project reorient political energy on youth concerns? Would you move to another country to work for a year or several after graduating? What would you like to see covered in the index that would make international cities attractive to you?


Ted Byfield:

  • Introduction to Visualization: the politics and perils of charts, images and dynamic graphics.
  • Selection from Byfield manuscript
  • Review visualization strategies.
  • Identify visual representations of quantitative and social phenomena.


Discussion: what are the proxies for the common good. Networks for review:

  • feraltrade.org : the trade of goods through social networks
  • ourgoods.org : barter networks for the creative production


Intel Galileo and Intel Edison and the construction of a Maker Community:


Please identify “maker projects” of interest to you.

WEEK 1: Sept 3, 2014

In the first class the student/impatient will be ask to articulate what they would like to learn and how they would like to participate in this course. This will be an explicit barter. Please consider the following questions: what can I offer to improve our shared environmental health and my own living environment? Can I be an agent of change? Am I IMPATIENT to improve my own environmental health? How would I do that? What would it take to organize and validate other people to act as well? Can any or each of us, individually collectively or institutionally improve environmental health and performance?


To explore these questions students become ‘impatients” in the Environmental Health Clinic (xClinic)—impatient to create desirable futures.   

  1. what are the proxies for the common good? (in the lived urban environment)
  2. how do u represent your “networks”? (1 x quantitative, 1 x visual)

Also watch:  Revolution of the Present

XCity course description

XCity, aka Environmental Art Activism, aka Socio-Ecological Systems Design (xDesign)

An anti-MOOC on the participatory redesign of our urban environments towards improving our shared Environmental Health with a special emphasis on material visual and quantitative representational strategies.



Environmental Health Clinic(xCLINIC); Impatients; Civic innovation; Messy Cities; institutional critique; critical making; tangible media; contestational robotics; public experiments; lifestyle experiments; structures of participation; howstuffismade and howitcanchange (HISM); critical realism; Anthropocene; visualization; crisis of agency; mutualistic systems design; proxies for the common good


The Climate crisis revealed the more insidious crisis: the crisis of agency--aka: what to do in the face of shared, uncertain environmental threat. How do we re-imagine and redesign our shared urban environment?

This class examines how we might respond, not only with concern, research, legislation, but the creative imaginary. Can and how do our individual actions become a force of social and environmental transformation? How do we, and how do we decide to produce a desirable future? What agency do I have? Do I have any capacity to change my local urban environment?  This is a fundamental challenge to our (individual and collective) political agency, our cultural imagination and our scientific and economic understanding. We will use complex urban ecosystems as our primary object of analysis. Therefore we ask: What is a smart city? Can we seize the opportunity that new technology provides to change our relationship to natural systems, to improve public health, cultural resources, productivity and environmental performance? What can we learn from “big data” that we didn't already know?  Can a city be responsive and to whom and what should it respond? What is a citi-hackers or impatient citizen? This course provides an introduction to the wicked problems involved in the socio-technical design of cities and of our own lives.

Is this too complex? Who is qualified to intervene; to participate in designing their local environment, their city; scientific and technical knowledge? What kinds of changes do our cities need to undertake to increase environmental performance, improve public health, develop and incentivize economic and entrepreneurial opportunities?  What are the limitations of market-based participatory democracy for addressing shared environmental health?



Individual assignments:

  1. a visual essay for the encyclopaedia including quantitative representation: How Stuff is Made and How it Can Change.  See assignment handout.

  2. a personal lifestyle experiment to explore how to improve local environmental performance in a specific and measurable way in your local habitat.


In addition to two individual assignments you will participate in one or more public experiments, aka, xClinical trials that explore one’s own agency in producing social and environmental change. 

FALL 2014 xclinical trials include:

  1. PHENOLOGICAL Clock: mapping local urban ecosystems re-presenting time in space.

  2. FARMACYxFLOWERING; LIFExCYCLE; SIGNSofLIFE implementing xClinic Farmacy, a distributed urban flower farm and associated urban food experiments and events; street advertisting 2.0

  3. xBRIDGE: can physical infrastructure be design to improve shared environmental health?


These assignments--Public Experiments, HSIM, lifestyle experiments--can be combined in some cases. These public and lifestyle experiments involve visual essays (critical realism) and quantitative representation; documentation, including but not limited to video blog, real-time data feeds, maps or similar to suit the project, and incorporate experimental paradigm. Visual, spatial and quantitative representations are required in all projects.