Visual Spaces of Change is the first stage of an Architecture, Art, Image, and Innovation (AAI2) Project, which has a significant component of Contemporary Photography combined with complementary research in Space Syntax and Information Technology. Building on earlier research from the Center for Communication and Spatial Representation (CCRE), this project will investigate the conditions for the creation of a network of public and collective spaces capable of catalyzing emerging dynamics of urban change in Oporto Metropolitan Region (AMP). The territory of this study is simultaneously used as the laboratory for empirical experimentation and as the stage for visual representation of the agents and processes of urban change. This research project will produce visual synthesis of these dynamics in order to render visible aspects of its interconnected nature and historical singularity, which are difficult to perceive without the purposeful use of image and photography. This project breaks new ground in proposing an original combination of visual research methods and spatial analysis, departing from the identification of a set of strategic city spaces and pathways connected by network points (VSCNP) identified in the urban grid. These network points are calculated by using syntactic measurements, which allow for the identification of the location of optimal interaction between public and collective spaces. Contemporary Photography Projects (CPP) will be developed and implemented in the selected locations, conceived as visual narratives that intentionally interfere with the metropolitan territory in a self-reflective representation of its own process of change.
This network of public and collective spaces will constitute an Open Museum within the metropolitan area, allowing for the piloting of experimental curatorial actions, which will stimulate artistic and cultural institutions to extend their reach to a larger public audience. By articulating material and immaterial resources, which together give more visibility to ongoing urban change dynamics, this project aims to alter public perceptions about the transformation of the public space and to collectively, transform imaginings of the city at the metropolitan scale. The strategy for promoting this articulation is based on the identification of physical properties of integration, connectivity and synergy between public and collective spaces, which are potentiated by the development of online facilities for virtual interaction at multiple scales. A digital platform will be developed in order to insert visual data into a georeferenced system with several temporal layers in 4D (space & time), allowing for the accessibility, diffusion, monitoring, and sharing of visual information. This platform will also enable an active dialogue between researchers, institutions, and the public, contributing to the identification of opportunities of co-evolution between citizens, institutions, and the urban environment.