There are many cities whose life expectancies have survived the government, civilization or kingdom that founded them. According to Saskia Sassen from Forbes magazine, this is due to the “incomplete” nature of cities, which allows them to be reconsidered and modified on countless occasions in order to adapt, not to the governments that regulate them but to the people who inhabit them, experience their streets, nooks and stages of developments.

The term “Open-Source”’ —used by informatics communities— refers to “software we can use, read, modify and redistribute freely”––an extremely open exchange. In this sense, applying the same term to describe urban planning implies rethinking the city from the perspective of its inhabitants: considering the individuals as responsible for the small changes that gradually evolve a space. The changes imposed by the times must be dealt with: large buildings, the replacement of small family-owned businesses with luxury malls or the quick expansion of public transportation networks.

The main advantage of an open-source city, besides its adaptability, is the insightfulness of the changes made by the community and not external agents. This type of city, unlike the so-called intelligent ones, controls technology in order to achieve changes that will benefit its inhabitants. Open-source thus sets forth the idea of an urbanism where knowledge systems are opened so that inhabitants can contribute to the development of their city, working side by side with governments and urban planning firms to benefit everyone.

Streetmix, a website that enables users to create their dream city, is an example of open-source. As playful as it sounds, the program is a brilliant invitation that decentralizes urban planning and includes the knowledge and experience of those who transit through a city’s streets. People Make Parks is another example of how the emotional appropriation of a city can be used to transform it. When projected through tangible changes, this internal knowledge is a determinant factor for Sassen, who asserts that “Open-source is an antidote”, one that counteracts the coldness and inefficiency of political agendas.

In sum, open-sourcing cities is an urban revolution that seeks to give the community the run of the streets. The knowledge and initiative of a single individual can determine the future of a city, can channel fortunate changes that can contribute to a city’s image, transforming it into an adaptable fortress, one that is politically innovative and economically active.

There are many cities whose life expectancies have survived the government, civilization or kingdom that founded them. According to Saskia Sassen from Forbes magazine, this is due to the “incomplete” nature of cities, which allows them to be reconsidered and modified on countless occasions in order to adapt, not to the governments that regulate them but to the people who inhabit them, experience their streets, nooks and stages of developments.

The term “Open-Source”’ —used by informatics communities— refers to “software we can use, read, modify and redistribute freely”––an extremely open exchange. In this sense, applying the same term to describe urban planning implies rethinking the city from the perspective of its inhabitants: considering the individuals as responsible for the small changes that gradually evolve a space. The changes imposed by the times must be dealt with: large buildings, the replacement of small family-owned businesses with luxury malls or the quick expansion of public transportation networks.

The main advantage of an open-source city, besides its adaptability, is the insightfulness of the changes made by the community and not external agents. This type of city, unlike the so-called intelligent ones, controls technology in order to achieve changes that will benefit its inhabitants. Open-source thus sets forth the idea of an urbanism where knowledge systems are opened so that inhabitants can contribute to the development of their city, working side by side with governments and urban planning firms to benefit everyone.

Streetmix, a website that enables users to create their dream city, is an example of open-source. As playful as it sounds, the program is a brilliant invitation that decentralizes urban planning and includes the knowledge and experience of those who transit through a city’s streets. People Make Parks is another example of how the emotional appropriation of a city can be used to transform it. When projected through tangible changes, this internal knowledge is a determinant factor for Sassen, who asserts that “Open-source is an antidote”, one that counteracts the coldness and inefficiency of political agendas.

In sum, open-sourcing cities is an urban revolution that seeks to give the community the run of the streets. The knowledge and initiative of a single individual can determine the future of a city, can channel fortunate changes that can contribute to a city’s image, transforming it into an adaptable fortress, one that is politically innovative and economically active.

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