PKN: Hackable Infrastructures – Recap


Thanks to everyone who came out to Pecha Kucha Night last week at Crosstown Station.  A crowd of over 300 people attended,  and 10 presenters shared their thoughts and work. It was great to see some familiar faces, and meet some like-minded designers and supporters from the KC arts community.  Special thanks to Young Architects Forum for inviting us to share our work.

AGENCY presented its ‘Hackable Infrastructures‘ initiative.  Copied below is an excerpt of our presentation:

There is a long history of innovation in informal environments, where populations make do with what little resources are made available to them, often “hacking into” existing infrastructural systems, and inventing new systems independent of formal frameworks.

Learning from these examples, how can we as architects and designers plan for the unplanned? 

How can we embrace the unexpected? 

Can we find a way to concede control of even a fraction of our built environments, so that they may be used in ways we as designers could never foresee?

How can we open up a space for the informal, the marginalized, the displaced, and the underadvantaged as we design for the comparatively privileged?

AGENCY has developed a series of speculative projects for the contemporary, global city.  Projects that we call “Hackable Infrastructures”, where new urban improvements are designed to create such a space.  A space of opportunity.

By identifying sites of potential exchange between formal infrastructural improvement, and the needs of an informal or marginalized community, we tactically propose solutions that would bridge the gaps. Gaps between prescribed uses, and potential appropriation.  Gaps between today’s needs, and tomorrow’s emergencies.

As developed countries around the world race to upgrade their national networks of energy, transportation, telecommunications, and water distribution, we, as designers, will be called upon to decide the image, and the reality of such progress.  In our efforts, and in our designs, we should not forget the local and global communities on which that progress depends.