Master in City & Technology 2019/20 – Term III
Workshop Name: Urban Panopticons – Ubiquitous tracking in the age of pandemic surveillance
Total Hours: 20 hours
Faculty: Aldo Sollazzo
Faculty Assistants: Soroush Garivani & Iacopo Neri

Credits: Rear Window, Alfred Hitchcock

Course Abstract

To track is a technological rather than merely social or cultural bias.

In the era of digital surveillance, tracking has been boosted by the emergence of stronger technologies from location-detecting smartphones to facial recognition cameras. Today, we have the potential to track movements, communication, sports activities, economical transfers and health conditions. Ubiquitous surveillance is inevitably here.

No State, yet, has combined all tracking streams into a massive system of data surveillance. Few laws and regulations moderate the access and combinatory danger of such associative data power.

Nonetheless, emergency conditions recall emergency decisions.

In a time of pandemic uncertainty, data restrictions are being overshadowed by multiple governments in the name of public health. As a result, public spaces become restrict territory to all their citizens.

Entering the health emergency, mobility limitations have been applied in many cities, converting pedestrian into monitoring targets of a new surveillance system centralized by State forces. In this quarantine, a new distributed behaviour emerge throughout every building window.

Like in a new urban panopticon machine, citizens become controllers and controlled, monitoring from their houses streets activities, traffic, pedestrian movements.
This seminar will introduce image tracking technologies, mapping streets usages and behaviours through computer vision and machine learning algorithms.


Aldo Sollazzo is a technologist, with expertise in robotics, manufacturing, and computational design. At IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, he is directing the Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction focused on the emerging design and market opportunities arising from novel robotic and advanced manufacturing systems.

Since 2011, he is the director of Noumena, leading a multidisciplinary team towards the definition of new design strategies informed by tech-driven applications. He is also the Director of Reshape – digital craft community, a distributed platform promoting cutting-edge ideas merging design and manufacturing. In the same institution, Aldo is also directing the Global Summer School, since 2015. Aldo has been part of the Fab Academy program as a mentor of Fab Academy Paris and Frosinone from 2015 to 2017.  In 2018 Aldo has received, from the Italian President of the Republic, the title of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy for the promotion of national prestige abroad as a recognition of his projects and activities.

Soroush Garivani
is an architect and researcher, interested in the multidisciplinary and multiscalar approaches in architecture. He holds a Master in Advanced Architecture (2018) followed by a Master in Advanced Robotics and Construction (2019) from IAAC, Barcelona. His research explores the integration of new fabrication methods, intelligent material systems, and computational tools. He has collaborated as Computational designer with Appareil, Barcelona and The Alliance, Tehran.Currently, he is working as a roboticist at Noumena.

Iacopo Neri
’s research lies at the intersection between architecture, computer science and urban planning. He holds a Master of Science in Architecture with Distinction at The Polytechnic University of Milan, and attended a Master in City and Technology at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IaaC, Spain) after presenting a paper about Swarm Intelligences for crowd-based analysis during the Responsive Cities Symposium (2017, Barcelona). He has been involved as a teaching assistant since 2015 at the University of Florence, later, at The Polytechnic University of Milan, and finally at IAAC where he is currently part of the City and Technology computational research team. He also works as a computational designer at External Reference Architecture Bureau, Barcelona.