Apr 18, 2015
UTL researchers Daniel Ibanez and Grga Basic recently contributed to a symposium on "Arctic States" which was hosted by the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia (UVA). The event was organized by UVA professors, Matthew Jull and Leena Cho, directors of the Arctic Design Group and recent graduates of the Harvard GSD. The symposium included contributions by a wide range of scholars, architects and designers who are concerned to understand and shape extreme, remote and contested territories such as the Arctic. The symposium provided a forum for generating and discussing ideas, conceptualizations and projects in and around the Arctic region.
In his lecture to the opening panel of the symposium, Daniel Ibañez reported on the work that the Urban Theory Lab has been developing on the Operational Landscapes of Urbanization, with particular reference to UTL studies of the Arctic region by Grga Basic, Ali Fard and Ghazal Jafari. In his contribution to the event, Grga Basic presented two posters derived from that collaborative research which synthesized our work in progress on the Arctic's thickening urban fabric.
Mar 17, 2015
The Urban Theory Lab recently opened their exhibition "Operational Landscapes" at the Melbourne School of Design (MSD). The exhibition asks: In what sense do we today live in an "urban age"? Frequently invoked by scholars, policy-makers, planners, designers, and architects, usually with reference to the proposition that more than 50 percent of the world's population now lives within cities, such a question provokes further questioning: Can the nature of our urban world be understood and mapped exclusively with reference to the growth of cities and their populations?
The exhibition turns this proposition upside-down and inside-out by speculating on a radically alternative mapping of contemporary planetary urbanization. What happens to our cognitive map of the global urban condition if we focus not on the global cities or megacities of the world, but on the wide-ranging sociospatial and environmental transformations that are currently unfolding in supposedly "remote" or "wilderness" regions such as the Amazon, the Arctic, the Gobi desert steppe, the Himalayas, the Pacific Ocean, the Sahara desert, and Siberia, and even the earth's atmosphere? To what degree are such zones now being integrated within a worldwide fabric of urbanization? How are they being restructured and enclosed to support the energy, water, material, food and logistics needs of major cities?
Through speculative cartographies of these emergent "operational landscapes," the exhibition aims to illuminate the radical transformations of land-use, infrastructure, and ecology far beyond the city limits that have made the contemporary formation of planetary urbanization possible.
With support from: Office of the Dean, Melbourne School of Design; Office of the Dean, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University; Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; Milton Fund, Harvard University Medical School