SITUATION REPORTS on Architecture and Urbanity is a New York City-based “design tank” dedicated to the study of Architecture and Urbanity.
We operate Summer Design Studios and publish our work as SITUATION REPORTS.


SITREP stands for Situation Report. Following its military origin, a Situation Report not only describes a given situation, but also proposes specific courses of action to address its underlying problems. aims to produce Situation Reports on Architecture and Urbanity.

Summer Design Studios operates 3-week, intensive Summer Design Studios, with public lectures, workshops, and seminars. Our studios are designed for advanced students and graduates of Architecture or Urban Planning. Let us know if you would like us to organize a studio in your city!


July 13 – August 02 : The ISCTE-IUL is hosting our 3-week Summer Design Studio featuring: collaboration with CIUL and the Municipality of Lisbon, public lectures, dedicated design studio, intensive workshops, and public exhibition. Enrollment is limited; 6 ECTS course credits available.

Participe no nosso primeiro Design Studio de Verão em Lisboa, Portugal! LISBOA 2015  ambiciona desenvolver metodologias de design que envolvam directamente a “Urbanidade”, ou software, da cidade. O Studio será localizado e em colaboração com o ISCTE-IUL, e irá também colaborar com o CIUL-CML no Projecto “Uma Praça por Bairro” na municipalidade de Lisboa. O curso será leccionado pelos professores Carla Leitão, Philippe Baumann, Michael Su, Nuno Guimarães, and Alexandra Paio. Inscrições limitadas. (6 créditos europeus, ECTS.) LISBON 2015 : July 13 – Aug 02

Urbanity of Civic Forums

LIsbon Team
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APPLY NOW LISBON 2015 : Applications extended to June 14

Limited enrollment / Dedicated studio / Lectures / Workshops / Exhibition

Join us for our first Summer Design Studio in Lisbon, Portugal! Lisbon 2015 aims to develop design methodologies for explicitly engaging the “Urbanity”, or software, of the city. The studio will be hosted by ISCTE-IUL, collaborate with the CIUL on the Lisbon Municipality’s “One Plaza per Neighborhood” project, and instructed by Professors Carla Leitão, Philippe Baumann, Michael Su, Nuno Guimarães, and Alexandra Paio. Studio enrollment is limited, and ECTS course credits are available. 

In contrast to designing the Architecture, or hardware, of cities, designing for Urbanity infers specific design skills and research techniques to account for changing and changeable datasets (consisting of both variables and functions), such as those of time-dependent architectural programs, top-down urban manifests with integrated bottom-up resistance, and patterns of discrete and collective behaviors and preferences. The form and performance of the informational-social complex of public spaces, or forums, comprise just such a dataset. This studio will therefore develop its methodologies through the case study of transforming Lisbon’s public spaces into Civic Forums. 

READ MORE… LISBON 2015 aims to:

  • Collect and analyze the changing and changeable data of Lisbon, thereby creating novel datasets consisting of both variables and functions.
  • Re-contextualize Lisbon’s architectural and design problems in terms of urban hardware and software, or Architecture and Urbanity.
  • Identify concepts and examples related to the topic, e.g. – GIS, geolocation, spimes (physical-digital objects embodying their own histories), ambient intelligence, ubiquitous computing, augmented reality, virtual reality, cybrid environments, interactive space, multimedia space, the internet of things, and smart materials.
  • Analyze and test elements, sites, and design strategies for the potential to expand the permeation and accessibility of informational-social complexes, specifically, those of Lisbon’s public spaces, in order to transform them into Civic Forums.
  • Propose specific architectural and urban design solutions in terms of both their performative and transformational potential towards this end.

World's Urbanized Population (Billion) :

Rapid Urbanization

Rapid urbanization is happening worldwide, with 75% of the world’s population projected to become urban in 20 years. As a result, urban problems are quickly escalating in complexity and scale. In order to deal with these emerging, potentially devastating problems, architects and planners must fundamentally rethink the way cities are planned and designed. Specifically, we distinguish between the Architecture of the city as its visible, tangible Hardware and the Urbanity of the city as its invisible, ephemeral Software. As such, our work is motivated by the idea that the unprecedented complexities and scales of our rapidly urbanizing cities require shifting the domain of design and planning from hardware to software, or from Architecture to Urbanity. is a New York City-based “design tank” founded to create novel, nuanced, and ultimately effective strategies for dealing with these problems. We create these strategies through the operation of intensive, onsite Summer Design Studios at cities worldwide, and aim to publish our findings and proposals for public distribution as Situation Reports – SITREPs.

SITREP Terminologies Chart

SITREP Site Analysis

SITUATION REPORT on Architecture and Urbanity

Following the term’s derivation, a Situation Report on Architecture and Urbanity not only describes the specific situations, contexts, or conditions of a given city and site, but also incorporates proposals for actions that can be taken to resolve its underlying problems.

In particular, a typical SITREP (pictured left) consists of:

  • LOCATION – Determination of a given Situation’s systems and methods.
  • ACTIVITY – Descriptions of the nature of these systems.
  • EFFECTIVE – Descriptions of the nature of these methods.
  • DISPOSITION – Extrapolations of their current trajectory or timeline.
  • REFERENCE – Establishment of an alternate, preferred trajectory or timeline.
  • INTELLIGENCE – Collection of information required to realize the Reference.
  • OPERATION – Proposals to alter the Situation, including precise Deliverables.
  • LOGISTICS – Organization of the Operation, including Personnel and Connectivity.
  • PERSONNEL – Descriptions of specific components of the organization.
  • CONNECTIVITY – Descriptions of the relationships intrinsic to the organization.


20 Cities with over 10 Million inhabitants
22 Cities with 5 to 10 Million inhabitants
370 Cities with 1 to 5 Million inhabitants

Architecture and Urbanity

As the largest collection of non-natural objects, cities are intrinsically complex. However, their composition may be generalized to possess only two temporal qualities: the long term and the short term. We therefore define ARCHITECTURE as the long-term, more rigid part of a city, such as its buildings, infrastructures, and constructed environments, and URBANITY as the dynamic, more fluid part of a city, such as its people, communities, and cultures.

In structuralist terms, then, we are treating cities as SYSTEMS consisting only of OBJECTS (Architecture) and METHODS (Urbanity). Or, in more popular terms, we may even construe cities as massive devices built from HARDWARE (Architecture), but operated by SOFTWARE (Urbanity).

At, we believe the recent, and accelerating, urbanization of cities requires a commensurate shift of the domain of design from Hardware to Software, or away from Architecture and towards Urbanity. To accommodate this shift, designers must be able to account for the dynamic and variable, or even the invisible and unpredictable. As a result, entirely new skill sets and methods are required, which are just what aims to develop through our intensive, onsite Summer Design Studios.


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Summer Design Studio