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Reprogramming the city

18 June - 30 August 2015

What if you could go skating on cycle paths in the winter? Or get some light therapy while waiting for the bus? Experience the city in ways you never did before.

Reprogramming the City is a global concept created by the American urban strategist Scott Burnham. The aim is to find various ways of reprogramming the city, to show how design and architecture can contribute to solving urban problems.

The exhibition features more than forty projects, all of which investigate how it is possible to “hack” the city’s design and functions. The idea comes from Scott Burnham’s conviction that the city is full of unutilised opportunities, which with imagination and initiative can be transformed into concrete solutions based on the existing environment.

Insect farm, skating rink and a billboard that produces water

The Reprogramming the City exhibition brings to life solutions to the challenges that society is facing – and will face. These creative projects include UTEC Water Billboard in Lima, Peru, where the technology uses the high level of humidity to produce drinking water in one of the world’s driest regions. The “Freezeway” project in Edmonton, Canada, which makes use of the Arctic climate and offers residents the opportunity to skate on the city’s cycle paths during the winter. And what if an urban insect farm could provide Stockholm with self-sufficient protein production? The exhibition gives you the chance to experience a specially built version of Belatchew Arkitekter’s “Buzz Building”.

Reprogramming the City is the result of a global research project, and the exhibition was previously displayed at the BSA Space Gallery, Boston, the Virginia Center for Architecture, Richmond and DAC, Copenhagen.

See ArkDes Talks: Reprogramming the City on ArkDes Play 

Images from the exhibition


Sauna made from recycled material. The mooring facility in the Port of Gothenburg is an unutilised resource. As part of a greater vision, Raumlaborberlin wants to design a bathing culture in Gothenburg with a sauna built at the mooring facility in the port. The sauna is designed and built using a high proportion of recycled material. Photo: Jonathan Fernström.

Sauna made from recycled material. The mooring facility in the Port of Gothenburg is an unutilised resource. As part of a greater vision, Raumlaborberlin wants to design a bathing culture in Gothenburg with a sauna built at the mooring facility in the port. The sauna is designed and built using a high proportion of recycled material. Photo: Jonathan Fernström.

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

Light therapy while waiting for the bus. People’s well-being and health are dependent on light, even during the dark months of the year. Umeå Energi offered light therapy from special fluorescent lamps in 30 bus shelters around the city. Fluorescent lamps were installed at one end of the bus shelter, where there are usually advertisements. The ultraviolet light was filtered out and no sunburn was created, in other words it was harmless. The brightness was equivalent to a cloudy summer day. Photo: Matti Östling

Light therapy while waiting for the bus. People’s well-being and health are dependent on light, even during the dark months of the year. Umeå Energi offered light therapy from special fluorescent lamps in 30 bus shelters around the city. Fluorescent lamps were installed at one end of the bus shelter, where there are usually advertisements. The ultraviolet light was filtered out and no sunburn was created, in other words it was harmless. The brightness was equivalent to a cloudy summer day. Photo: Matti Östling

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

Photo: Matti Östling / ArkDes

More images

Read more about the exhibition

Reprogramming the City is a global concept created by the American urban strategist Scott Burnham. The aim is to find various ways of reprogramming the city, to show how design and architecture can contribute to solving urban problems.

The exhibition features more than forty projects, all of which investigate how it is possible to “hack” the city’s design and functions. The idea comes from Scott Burnham’s conviction that the city is full of unutilised opportunities, which with imagination and initiative can be transformed into concrete solutions based on the existing environment.

Insect farm, skating rink and a billboard that produces water

The Reprogramming the City exhibition brings to life solutions to the challenges that society is facing – and will face. These creative projects include UTEC Water Billboard in Lima, Peru, where the technology uses the high level of humidity to produce drinking water in one of the world’s driest regions. The “Freezeway” project in Edmonton, Canada, which makes use of the Arctic climate and offers residents the opportunity to skate on the city’s cycle paths during the winter. And what if an urban insect farm could provide Stockholm with self-sufficient protein production? The exhibition gives you the chance to experience a specially built version of Belatchew Arkitekter’s “Buzz Building”.

Reprogramming the City is the result of a global research project, and the exhibition was previously displayed at the BSA Space Gallery, Boston, the Virginia Center for Architecture, Richmond and DAC, Copenhagen.

See ArkDes Talks: Reprogramming the City on ArkDes Play