Architectural Communication Master’s Thesis
We inhabit cities that have been designed by a few and based on outdated concepts and priorities, which turn public spaces into inhospitable places. However, we all have opinions and wishes on how we would like the city to be or what we need from the public space. This situation causes frustration to users and degradation in the city, as citizens do not feel these spaces meet their needs, and therefore they feel they are not part of a home to care for. This problem involves damage to the social fabric, largely based on the relationships we establish in the public space.
Participatory urban planning has an impact on these problems and tries to solve them, but how can society participate? The urbanite meme emerges as a communication proposal for the active and collaborative participation of the different parts of society. It is an alternative based on an extremely powerful communication – the meme, which can generate debate and achieve a completely cross- cutting dissemination. This project studies the practical applications of memes in citizen participation processes, analysing communication in a specific process carried out in Madrid. The results of the analysis show that participatory design processes lack a code adapted to large sectors of society, and therefore, fail to generate a constructive and truly participatory debate. However, the meme has long been used as a means to channel and generate debates on many social themes.
This project intends to address a problem that is common to all – the lack of social communication. It is based on the hope that we will live in better cities in the future by improving communication and decision- making systems. Such cities will be fairer with everyone and more sensitive to social changes. The urbanite meme opens the way to digital social dialogue, to a debate that should not be based on technicalities but on the sense of humour that characterizes social criticism and our coexistence as citizens.