Interfacing Genk: Citizen Participation and Critical Urban Intelligence

Ginette Verstraete, Liesbeth Huybrechts

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Urban interfaces are often understood as straightforward media to foster a standardized customer engagement of citizens with and in smart city processes. In contrast, in this essay we take Johanna Drucker’s humanities approach to interfaces as a starting point to redefine the urban interface as a critical zone of relations between multiple frameworks and embodied users. Our aim is to explore the merits of this approach in an urban development project around an old railway track in Genk (Belgium). Here, a low-tech urban interface—a leather carpet—was gradually developed as different people and institutions gave shape to their surroundings, and a more embedded and critical urban intelligence was realized in a process of democratic participatory design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLeonardo Electronic Almanac
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


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