Narrating Urban DATA

  • Mark Balzar Department of Energy Design, University of Applied Arts Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria
  • Zeynep Aksöz Balzar Department of Energy Design, University of Applied Arts Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Keywords: urbanism, architecture, energy, climate change, arts-based research


Vibrant Fields is an artistic research project that seeks to explore the impact of climate change through an artistic lens. The project’s central hypothesis posits that urban nature is a dynamic amalgamation of biological and human-made technological elements, interconnected in a symbiotic life cycle within the urban environment. By meticulously observing and deciphering these intricate relationships, we aim to construct a comprehensive portrayal that sheds light on the influence of climate change. Our research focuses on understanding how atmospheric effects influence both living and non-living entities in the urban realm, and conversely, how these diverse particulate matters affect the climate. The project’s objective is to present a holistic depiction of climate change and its impact on urban nature by elucidating the intricate relationships among the diverse interacting entities. The Vibrant Fields team consisting of Zeynep Aksöz Balzar, Mark Balzar, Galo Moncayo Asan, and Bernhard Sommer is based in the Energy Design Department at the Institute of Architecture at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and endeavours to transform human perceptions of their immediate urban environment by creating digitally mediated narratives, offering an accessible and tangible perspective on climate change through the lens of energy flows. To achieve this, we employ high-resolution surveys of urban environments under extreme climatic conditions, utilising custom-developed multi-spectral sensing machines. By mapping the dynamic exchanges occurring within urban environments, we investigate the interplay between natural and artificial elements within the urban realm, focusing specifically on energy flows. Integrating these instruments into immersive experiences, the Vibrant Fields team provides an alternative viewpoint that transcends the human sensory spectrum, generating an interactive environment that enables visitors to engage with and influence energetic exchanges, perceiving the built environment and its inhabitants as vibrant matter (Bennett, 2010). Through their mere presence in the same space as the sensors, participants can actively shape the environment by interacting with sensory tools. This transformative space becomes a site for interacting with environmental information beyond our conventional senses, offering novel embodied experiences. 

How to Cite
Balzar, M., & Balzar, Z. (2023). Narrating Urban DATA. UXUC - User Experience and Urban Creativity, 5(1), 19 - 36.