City Circles is a multidisciplinary design-driven research tool which provides a cross-section of urban spaces –a circle with a diameter of one kilometer. The project aims to unlock, disclose and inspire fresh perspectives and ways of looking at cities. A group of explorers – designers and researchers – delves into a number of topics, allowing for the complexity of an urban area to take centre stage. A City Circle project will give a comprehensive overview, a cross-section, of an urban setting. The findings, in all its forms, are shared and presented at the centre of the circle during an event with a focus on the visual, tangible and experiential reflection of the data uncovered. Each City Circles project is also added to the City Circles online archive, making it possible to compare different circles.
As a bottom-up system of unraveling part of the city, the tool aims to uncover that which is often overlooked. To make the invisible visible and the mundane become insightful. Even locals, those most familiar with the area, should be surprised by the findings. It is the project’s intent to create an awareness, to provide people with a new oblique way of viewing urban settings, as well as that specific circle. City Circles is a KETTER&Co initiative.
The concept of City Circles found its origins at artist Irene Fortuyn who works to improve social and urban spaces with her foundation KETTER&Co. The foundation initiates and implements projects, asks questions and brings together parties from different disciplines and backgrounds to find connective solutions. For City Circles, KETTER&Co collaborates with Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE), where Irene Fortuyn is the head of the Leisure department.
It is a well-reported fact that more than half the world’s population now lives in cities (UN, 2014) and that this number will only continue to grow. In order to facilitate and manage this growth we need to have a thorough understanding of how cities function, how people operate within them and what elements influence them. With City Circles we attempt to capture this from within by providing a zoomed in look at these growing spaces, finding a greater story in the study of the local and mundane.
In each City Circle we work with a given set of topics. Each participant researches one of eight given topics which are all fundamental to human life. There is a certain amount of flexibility in how explorers can interpret the topics, ensuring the City Circles concept stays flexible and can truly portray the local area by responding to local situation. The topics at stake are: craftsmanship, economy, flora and fauna, food, health, human interaction, learning, materiality and as a special topic flow. The research methodology is not given and each participant can develop his/her own method. We do provide some guidelines to ensure coherence between the different City Circle projects. In each City Circle project we collaborate with students from a local University, and we use the special topic “flow” for a collective workshop connecting the students.
You can find more information about each topic by going on their page via the links on the right. The topics are conceptual and therefore can have overlapping areas of interest. There are certain contexts that overlay all research areas, such as cultural, historical or political elements. These were not compartmentalized into their own topics because they cannot be contained within one field but should rather be incorporated within each of the set topics when relevant.
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