Techno-friendly or Techno-lazy

A guest post by Luis Suárez, contributing to the second Ecological Urbanism discussion hosted by Annick Labeca, Taneha Bacchin, dpr-barcelona and UrbanTick.

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Technology is the wise use and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts systems or methods for our own benefit. Technology is more than cool gadgets it is local ancient knowledge. Since and due to the industrial revolution society started relating technology with the machine and the comfort that this new found technology could bring us. So now we fill our lives with gadgets that will make our lives easier and more pleasant, and in a way they do. We are now more “connected” and “inform” than ever. The question is, if we are using these new technology for our advantage, or, are we becoming numb and lazy.

Our generation has been blessed with great changes. A couple of years ago I had my first encounter with the GPS, my first time driving on the other side of the road was guided by this feminine voice coming from a screen that would tell me were to turn, and what to do. This sensual mechanical voice made my driving experience much easier and safe in London. The best part was that I didn’t had to ask for directions ever again. It took me a couple of days to realize what was happening. Not only I was missing the whole London experience, I had become numb. Completely dependable of my new female friend. I wasn’t thinking anymore when I was behind the wheel, I lost my sense of direction and I was willing to wait for a machine to tell me what to do next.


Time Square, New York. Publicity in cities must loose terrain to information and knowledge. Photo by Luis Suárez.

We are allowing modern convenience to do all the heavy lifting which is not bad, but it must be controlled. On my first post of ecological urbanism I talked on how citizens must control consumption and greed, instead, we must become more active, healthier and involved with the city. This second series of ecological urbanism brought the debate on how gadgets can help turn our cities greener. I think they can make our lives more sustainable, but we cannot allow ourselves to become unconscious consumers of unnecessary gadgets. The way to use technology to our advantage is by increasing our local knowledge towards sustainability. Knowing and comparing ourselves, our communities and our cities with others is the best way to understand and control our environment. If we understand how big is our footprint compared to others we will have a grasp of the problem. The main concern is that we all as citizens have been already told what to do to protect our environment, but no one really understands the consequences of a positive or negative action until it is compared with data from others.


Balloon helps Parisians breathe easy By Jim Bittermann. Source: CNN September 20, 2010 9:15 p.m.

Public spaces can become spaces of knowledge, spaces that with the aid of technology and data they can maintain the citizen informed on sustainable key indicators. This way the habitant will understand, will think, and will become more involved on real solutions. Technology must inspire our creativeness, and why not healthy competition on the path for the most sustainable environment.

Citizens must know and learn on a daily basis what to do, and be involved in this change. Publicity in cities must loose terrain to information and knowledge. This way we will consume less, we will be less vain brighter and healthier… why not?

Public spaces are ones for the people to enjoy and live. A successful public space is one were the habitant owns the place and becomes an active user. The space must be design for the habitant to learn about the city or the community and nourish it. We must become creative in order to propose new alternative ways for a sustainable city instead of waiting for someone or something to tell us what to do.

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Luis Suarez from Estudio ArQ was born, in Bogotá, Colombia and graduated from The
University of Florida in design, construction and planning in 2005. He received a master in science of urban design from The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Bioclimatic Architecture from The Isthmus School of Architecture for Latin America and the Caribbean. He is designing and building multiple projects in South and Central America with his established firm, Estudio ArQ.


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