Magazine article Geographical

FUTURE CITIES: Architecture and the Imagination

Magazine article Geographical

FUTURE CITIES: Architecture and the Imagination

Article excerpt

FUTURE CITIES: Architecture and the Imagination

by Paul Dobraszczyk

* Reaktion Books

* [pounds sterling]18 (hardback)

* As mankind attempts to grapple with its own impact upon the planet, and ever more of us pour into already-bulging cities, these metastasising megalopolises could clearly use some bold rethinking. But Paul Dobraszczyk, teaching fellow at London's Bartlett School of Architecture, says the discussion is too much about 'mitigation rather than adaptation', and, per Freud, that we must first accept the problem, and then work through it.

Excoriating the edifice complex of the modern world's 'landmark' cities, and rejecting 'greening', 'zero waste' and other solutions as little more than sticking plasters, he bemoans the 'poverty of the contemporary imagination' in helping us 'incubate radical responses' to impending (if not already-present) problems such as climate change, waste disposal, and social division. He then leads us on a tour of novels and eco-artworks, speculative architectural drawings and computer games, from the 19th century to the early 21st (JG Ballard features heavily, as does a lot of talk about 'poetics', 'sign' and suchlike), exhorting us that this is how our embattled world should think about the 'cities of the future'--be they submerged, floating or flying; up or down; ruined or recycled --as a scientific, liveable reality, not just artistic fantasy: 'to ground these imaginary cities in architectural practice', either through use of adaptive biological materials, 'dynamic coexistence', or repurposing of our waste products. …

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