Genetics of the Wild City
A research project by the STEALTH Group.
In contradiction with static mapping techniques, Genetics of the Wild City presents the development of a set of tools and a specific methodology for the dynamic mapping and visualisation of complex urban processes and transformations. This project started from the reality of Belgrade, the 2 million inhabitants' capital of Yugoslavia - a city that experienced the abrupt change from a centrally conducted to an atomized growth, steered by individual needs. The project draws its metaphors and parallels from studies of genetics and computer viruses.
Genetics of the Wild City presents the development of a set of tools and a specific methodology made to enable reading and intervention in urban environments with a complex, non-linear behaviour.
This project started from the reality of Belgrade, the 2 million inhabitants' capital of Yugoslavia - a city that experienced the abrupt change from a centrally conducted to an atomised growth, steered by individual needs. A recent decade of crisis, brought by isolation, made institutions incapable to carry on cities' primary systems. This created an enormous impact in the domains of trade, housing production and public services, which reads as another physical layer that superimposes the existing structures and enters the public space. The conditions of extreme domination of (grey) market forces and the decline of institutions, show that the transformations in Belgrade are by no means isolated examples, but make them a relevant and extreme test case for examining the urban impact of macro or global forces.
In the research conducted on the transformations of Belgrade, the methodology, tools and the observation techniques have been (experimentally) developed to understand the forces that determine the character of changes and discover their hidden potentials. This required inventiveness in developing knowledge in the field of dynamic mapping tools. The basis for it was the use of officially nowhere registered transformation processes like street trade, 'wild' building, petrol selling, etc.
Dynamic mapping tools enable architects and planners to describe the characteristics of spatial and organisational urban transformations during time. In contradiction to the usual static mapping techniques, this gives the possibility to visualise, monitor and to a certain level predict complex urban processes.
On the strategic and political level, this project examines the role of the architect as one who confronts restrictions in urban design. The paradigm of the 'wildness' emerged through non-planned and barely regulated processes. In urban domain, these processes bring innovation and therefore open possibilities for redefining institutional participation in creation of urban space. On the conceptual level, it shows the city that acts as an incubator of new urban forms. This part of the project draws its metaphors and parallels from studies of genetics and computer viruses.
Genetics of the Wild City is a collaborative project of Ana Dzokic, Milica Topalovic, Marc Neelen and Ivan Kucina. It has been developed both through a research at the Berlage Institute, Postgraduate Laboratory of Architecture, and as a part of STEALTH group, Rotterdam. The project was presented at the Mutations exhibition in Bordeaux, Urban Drift conference in Berlin and as an alternative proposal to the City Planning Department of Belgrade. Genetics of the Wild City is the content of the DataCloud 2.0, currently developed by V2_ Lab and ArchiNed.