Learning to Deal with Entropy

My second class today was called Barcelona: City of Cities in a Global World. The course focuses on the city and on urban design. Or as my professor, Victoria Garriga, says it's about "understanding the global need growing cities have to sew the modern and traditional city through a redesigned public space."

In the next four months we will each do the following:

  1. Create our own Barcelona
  2. Find a way to take it with us
  3. Find a way to share it with others

What exactly does this all mean? First, we will gather information about the city through sketching, photography, collage, and other observations. We'll look at the various designed elements of the space like signage, architecture, and infrastructure, as well as how people interact with the space. Then, we will analyze the information and try to interpret the city in a way that is meaningful to us. Finally, we will create some kind of artifact that is yet to be defined (maybe a book, website, video, map, who knows) that presents our understanding of Barcelona to others.

Does this sound like a bunch of designer nonsense? It does a little bit to me, too. The truth is, no one really knows exactly how this class will develop, including our professor. It is more about exploration than trying to reach some predefined solution. Victoria wants us to learn to deal with entropy, to “learn how to survive and enjoy the uncertainty during the creative process.”

To help us better understand how we should approach this class, Victoria used the example of Picasso. For four years, Picasso educated himself about art by copying other artists. Only after he internalized all of their styles and techniques could he create something new. We will do the same thing only in a much shorter period of time and with a focus on the urban design of Barcelona.

This class will be a great way to get to know the city at a deep level and personalize my experience. Off to take pictures now!