amsterdam is code

I've previously argued on this blog that architecture is code. Today I ran across an insightful piece "On Dog Shit and Open Source Urbanism" by Merijn Oudenampsen at metamute.org. Merijn explores how the neoliberal remaking, of the city, in this instance Amsterdam, recodes individual behaviors in specific ways. Two other articles by Merijn:"Extreme Makeover " and "Back to the Future of the Creative City" form a series on the topic.

Hmm… this makes me think that an essay on architecture as code is coming sooner rather than later. It seems increasingly urgent to understand that an entire generation of urban "heroes" from Jane Jacobs to Guy Debord to Reyner Banham to Gordon Matta-Clark were either directly involved or have been refigured as the intellectual justification for a neoliberal urbanism that purports to turn the city into a pseudo-cultural theme park in which the everyday is remade in the image of Williams-Sonoma. Since so much of this came as backwash to the U. S. from the Netherlands (think of the Right-wing "post-critical" young Dutch urbanism of the late 90s), it would be great to imagine that American urbanists would listen to this criticism too. Nor is Merijn's article merely critical, it advocates an open source urbanism, still vaguely defined, but I suspect we will hear more soon. Worth reading now.

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