A series of urban interventions carried out in the early seventies at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are presented in this paper. The aim of the proposals was the regeneration of some degraded areas of the city. The initiatives made use of technology to assist architects, artists and engineers that worked collaboratively and participatively with citizens to improve the city environment; a whole premonition about the ways the cities are being designed nowadays. The CAVS was created with the objective of developing research in the field of art, architecture, and urban planning to demonstrate the viability of new technologies as a creative tool, and their application in collaborative projects on an urban scale that involved citizens, seeking to reduce the environmental impact produced by the rapid growth of modern cities. The works tried to demonstrate the viability of using technology as a creative tool; the fruitful interaction of artists, scientists and engineers in the development of projects; the possibility of linking technology to a diversity of devices and the relevance of collective participation in shaping the city. All of them have greatly influenced interactive architectures and intelligent environments that began to materialize in specific proposals already in the eighties, less marked by the cybernetic than by the digital, and that today are helping us to visualize and raise awareness among citizenship on negative parameters that may affect our urban environment in the context of the current smart cities.
Covadonga Lorenzo is a Doctor in Architecture (PhD) and faculty member at Madrid-based CEU University, Spain, where she teaches in the Department of Architecture and Design since 2006. Since 2014 she is the Fab Lab Manager at Fab Lab Madrid CEU, the digital fabrication laboratory based at CEU University, where she is the Director of the Master in Digital Fabrication for Architectural Design. She worked for six years in Arquitectura Viva & AV Monographs Magazines as an editorial assistant and for seven years as Editor in Chief of the Architectural Journal Constelaciones. She has worked as assistant editor at the following books: Atlas, Architectures of the XXI Century, Global Architecture, Architectures for a sustainable planet and Architecture, more for less.