Social and political processes are becoming increasingly digitized and restructured by and through digital aspects. Beyond the various narratives about the “hybrid” or “smart” city, between dystopian visions and cyberromantic ideals we are looking at the certainty of a rising significance of technological mediation and transformation of our urban realities.
Terms such as DIY networking, Offline Networking or Community Wireless Networking refer to possible alternatives to popular narratives about our urban-technological futures, about the tales told predominantly by a handful of multinational tech companies. These alternative systems unfold their agency outside the commercial internet paradigm and are owned by their potential users. They can be set up in a DIY manner and are often constrained in their reach to a local space,connecting only those in physical proximity, thus unfolding novel possibilities to think and to perform hybrid public spaces.
The EU-funded research project MAZI (CAPS/H2020) and, within it, the Berlin-based partnership between the Design Research Lab (UdK Berlin) and the Neighborhood Academy/Prinzessinnengarten (Common Grounds e.V.) is exploring the relationships between network technologies, civic action, digital commons and informal learning processes. MAZI means “together” in Greek and the goal of MAZI is to provide technology and knowledge in order to
• empower those who are in physical proximity, to shape their hybrid urban space, together, according to the specificities of the respective local environment
• generate location-based collective awareness as a basis for fostering social cohesion, conviviality, • participation in decision-making processes, self-organisation, knowledge sharing, and sustainable living
• facilitate interdisciplinary interactions around the design of hybrid space and the role of ICTs in society
Our European partners are: NITlab/University of Thessaly, the Zurich-based NFP Nethood, Edinburgh Napier University, Open University UK, INURA Zürich Institute, SPC in London and the nomadic group UnMonastery.
The “Laube”, home of Neighborhood Academy at Prinzessinnengarten. Collage: Blanca Dominguez.
The MAZI zone with different modi of connectivity. Illustration: Andreas Unteidig
The MAZI toolkit with different levels/components. Illustration: Andreas Unteidig