Voices defining a new field

In Journal No.1 Editorial by Itai Palti

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the inaugural issue of the Conscious Cities journal.

The launch of this publication follows up on the growing interest and involvement of an interdisciplinary community focused on improving the built environment. The release of the Manifesto for Conscious Cities (August 2015) followed by a conference of the same name (March 2016) kickstarted a debate on the need and potential for redefining our relationship with the spaces and places we inhabit.

Conscious Cities proposes a radical shift away from the last few decades’ prioritisation of efficiency over more people-centric considerations. Research emerging at the intersection of architecture and neuroscience is opening up new channels for observing and creating. Over time, this will change our definition of what counts as an effective environment. Not only can we inform design through a better understanding of ourselves, we can now use technology to inject awareness of those understandings into objects and spaces; creating conscious design.

This journal is a platform for the growing community of researchers, thinkers, and practitioners now defining the new field of conscious cities. We have identified five focus areas for this and future issues (though some pieces address more than one):

  • The Philosophy of Conscious Cities – Consciousness, Artificial Intelligence, Ethics.
  • Methods of Observation and Analysis – Understanding forms of expression and their meaning, Big Data, Social media.
  • Research – At the intersection of the Built Environment and the Behavioural Sciences.
  • Drivers for Design – Methods for informing Architecture and Urban Design. Guidelines, Novel approaches, Case Studies, Technology.
  • Making an Impact – Policy, Governance, Decision making.

This issue includes writing by architects, planners, scientists, and thinkers joining the already varied perspectives emerging from related events and publications. We look forward to developing this platform, and welcome the submission of pieces for future issues.

Many thanks to this issue’s contributors, and readers.