Marking the beginning of OfficeUS’ last issue Bullets Without Ideology, OfficeUS targets some of the projects Partners will develop in the future present. PARK is an investigation on corporate social responsibility and the way it shapes the future of our cities. It analyzes a contemporary product, Disney Citizenship, through the case of Walt Disney World theme park design. Disney Citizenship is a branding strategy and internet portal that materializes the commitment of Disney corporation to promote “the happiness and well-being of kids and families.” Working its way through Disney’s supposedly microcosm, PARK unfolds how Disney Citizenship is a testbed for Wireless Body Area Network (WBAN) technology and the shifts it promotes in the spatial organization of the architecture of entertainment, accommodation, transportation, eating and shopping facilities.
The strategies in which the architecture of Disney Theme Parks induces visitors circulation; prevents disorientation and fatigue; and prompts decisive decision making in choosing walking paths, are a fundamental example for the organization of space as a logistical field. The way to achieve these goals has been through Hub and Spoke architecture, and in particular the Disney Roundabout, a device for crowd control that arranges the layout of Main Street USA and the Disney fairy tale Castle as landmarks in each one of the 6 Disney Resorts all over the world (California, Florida, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Shanghai). In 1955, the same year Disney opened its first park, the Hub and Spoke logistic system was introduced by Delta Airlines, which rearranged all their flights through node-airports. PARK maps the new modes of architecture and governance Disney Theme Parks execute through information design, WBAN technology and Magic. Promoted as “the magic of healthy living” two recent inventions have revolutionized the way theme parks operate: a short and long-range radio transceiver bracelet named Magic Band and a certificate for healthy food named Mickey Check.
The Magic Band is a personalised multi-functional magnetic bracelet that works as an e-ticket to the theme park, as a key for your hotel room, as a credit card to shop and eat in restaurants, as a link to send your photographs automatically into your online profile and as a locational device to track your movements through the park. The Magic Band is marketed as a way to collect knowledge in order to improve the user’s Disney experience. Different to iphones targeting advertising, or Nike sports bracelet advising on personal health habits, the Magic Band is the only device in the world that can track 24 hours of all realms of human life in a certain controlled space, as if the person was in a micro-city. The fact that the park functions as an enclave with a single entrance and residential and recreational facilities inside allows for a unique source of anthropological and biopolitical data that reflect on global infrastructure and monetized technologies.
Another aspect of Disney Citizenship has been the creation and integration of the Mickey Check. The Mickey Check is “a tool that makes it easier to identify nutritious choices in stores, online, and while on vacation at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. The Mickey Check can be found on select kids’ meals and fruit carts throughout Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, on various Disney-licensed food products sold at grocery stores across the US, and on qualifying recipes at Disney.com/tryit and Spoonful.com.” The new dietary guidelines that the corporate giant has introduced also include the end of any advertising of junk food in Disney Channel and the end of Disney toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals. The Mickey Check guidelines were officially legitimised with the assistance of Michelle Obama to the public launch of the brand.Disney Citizenship therefore creates a seamless environment where the notion of well-being codifies architecture, nutrition and the human body into new space of data management.
While OfficeUS is getting ready to pack up Venice headquarters there are brainstorming scripts towards Orlando, Florida, to document the effects of The Internet of Things on architecture and the human body for 21 days.