Pinching the Network: The Potential of the CTA L Station

Pinching the CTA Network: The potential of the L-station

Most feel that our built environment is passive—
Probably because the general population’s depth of interaction with it is only skin-deep—using it only as a backdrop for society’s movements.

I propose that this interaction vector is flipped, instead of people acting on the built environment, the built environment acts on them.

In theory, this is already happening in public transportation with a simple object in the system:

You can think of the turnstile as an object to be acted on, but I propose that the turnstile acts on the users, filtering and funneling each individual that walks through it with a finite shared experience (same fare, same space, same activity, and so on).

Thus, for a moment a civic, democratic space is created with the exact same constraint or input, the turnstile.

Users are entering a network both figuratively and literally in which the input constraint is the same; but the end nodes are infinite.

(But, the potential space is often undermined by uncomfortable environments, which harbor noise and air pollution, security risks, lack of personal space, disorienting paths, etc. )
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I think this “civic space” condition and network infrastructure could and should be transposed to any built environment.

While the actor is the turnstile in this specific example; an actor can embody any media or process including spatial structure, materiality or responsive systems, etc.

If an active space can be created which manifests a unique finite, shared experience, maybe the infinite societal network can become parallel; fostering a socially efficient space which provides agency to users in addition to utility, program, and aesthetics.

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