Letter |1 November, 2016 

Voices Defining a New Field

Cite this article

Palti, I. (2016). Voices Defining a New Field. London: Conscious Cities Journal No.1 ISSN 2514-0914

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.

The prominence of ‘visual consumption’ and its influence on design strategy.

Urban transportation can affect the quality of the experiences that shape the developing brain— for good and for bad. It affects access to healthy food, healthcare, childcare, and other key...

How has electric light defined the nocturnal urban condition and in turn shaped our culture and behaviour?

What is it that makes these spaces more comfortable, both psychologically and physiologically, for some people more than others?

Policy makers, stake-holders and academics alike all share the common interest of understanding our collective behaviour.

How can embracing tranquillity fundamentally change the way we behave and interact with cities?