Our group visiting with Designit (a strategic design consulting firm) in Madrid
In City as Text, the city was our laboratory and our classroom - an extended text not limited to what is housed in a library. Rather, we "read" its stories and pondered possible future directions through direct encounters with the city's public places, neighborhoods, and hidden histories. Each day provided opportunities to explore the city as socio-cultural system. The city is a source and outgrowth of innovation and creativity. We delved critically into how each city has sought to brand its image, and what constitutes genuine tradition versus touristic or nationalistic myths. We considered the social and political histories of both cities by actively examining the design of urban spaces - from prominent works of art and architecture to narrow alleyways and unexpected treasures. Babson students collaborated in small teams, exploring designated sectors as social scientists - closely observing the character of neighborhoods, the social dynamics, the economic environment and infrastructure, challenges and opportunities.
A group of Babson students on the first day's scavenger hunt - in Corte Ingles
The narratives and images below are assignments undertaken by the students during their 8 days in Madrid and Barcelona. Each team of students highlighted a specific sector or aspect of cultural production and expression - food, markets, fashion, youth culture, sustainable living, as just a few examples. They also worked on alternative ways of "mapping" culture, not just through traditional 2-D maps, but more imaginative modes of conveying pathways, trends, and changes over time.