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Media technologies and architecture for the city

Final Activity Report Summary - MEDIACITY (Media technologies and architecture for the city)

The MEDIACITY project explored different approaches to its core question of how media and urban space interact and intended to achieve a transfer of theoretical knowledge and experiences relating to opportunities to implement information and media technologies in an urban environment.

The project focused on the issues of:
1) a knowledge-based economy and society for cities in countries of transition;
2) the use of new media in the practice of urban planning, land use and architecture; and
3) the necessary political and social framework to ensure these technologies are embedded in a socially balanced manner.

The project realised these objectives by following a work plan in several phases. It consisted of three major parts:
a) survey of basic knowledge;
b) realisation of pilot projects; and
c) evaluation and institutionalisation.
In order to realise the attempted transfer of knowledge, eight international experts in all three related issues (knowledge industry, media architecture, urban studies) were invited to work within the project at Bauhaus-University Weimar, the host institution.

The work of the MEDIACITY research group was strongly supported by an international scientific committee which guaranteed the scientific excellence of the project. As a first step, four very experienced scientists (> 10 years of research experience) transferred their knowledge about the already existing international research on the topics of MEDIACITY. Within six months, they established an innovative research concept in using media science and architecture as tools for the knowledge industry. From this basis, the succeeding research fellows (experienced scientists with 4-10 years of research experience who worked within the project for 24 months) agreed on a series of different pilot projects.

They decided to focus on a study of three aspects:
- the role of media in enabling communication and interaction within urban settings, and its transformative possibilities for the experience of the city;
- the existing forms of social involvement in a specific urban context that may be supported, enriched, or hindered by the use of media and technologies;
- the interactions between spatial mobility and the formation of communities in urban settings considering the nature of mobility in the contemporary city as a consequence, they organised common research around three key themes: situations, practices and encounters.
This research investigated the types of settings for interaction, the processes which people adopt and develop to mediate social experience, and changing behaviours in public space.

The means of dissemination of the research results included among others:
- a high level of participation by the fellows in a range of teaching activities including the MEDIACITY lecture series and various individual activities;
- two conferences as part of the project (2006, 2008) and a MEDIACITY workshop within the internationally renowned Bauhaus-Colloquium (2007) - a considerable number of publications by the research fellows on the MEDIACITY topic including three publications on the project findings and the proceedings of the MEDIACITY conferences.

The MEDIACITY project enabled the transfer of leading international knowledge to intensify the research of the Bauhaus-University in the interdisciplinary field of media studies, architecture and urban studies and to establish a new research centre on media, architecture and the city. The transferred knowledge has been successfully integrated into a sustainable form of future research and education, mainly through the foundation of the new Masters course 'Media architecture' at the host institution. Furthermore, this institutionalisation will result in an international graduate course on the subject of 'Media urbanism' which is currently under preparation.