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Circular Prototypes for Urban Futures: The Fab City and Recursive Interventions within Infrastructures

February 17, 2021
07:00 pm

Osaka STS scholar Atsuro Morita will join us from Tokyo. This presentation is based on a paper he co-authored with the Fab Lab activist Kazutoshi Tsuda. By taking up the Fab City Global Initiative that aims to make cities self-sufficient, they explore the role of the circular as figured in grassroots efforts to reconfigure urban infrastructures. Circularity serves as the central imaginary in these forms of activism for sustainability from permaculture to the maker movement. These movements commonly feature the practice of Do-It-Yourself “making” as a basis for realizing a circular society. This paper analyzes a key challenge within the Fab City movement by focusing on the recursive nature of grassroots redesign of infrastructures. While the Fab City aspires toward reconfiguring urban infrastructures by devising various prototypes, their activities inevitably draw on existing infrastructures, which they aim to replace in the first place. They examine this recursive trap and characterize the Fab City as a particular kind of inquiry of the condition of its own existence by means of making.


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