Reshaping the city – reshaping ourselves


The fact that urbanisation is expanding is no news for anyone. The focus is now on how to make cities better, smarter, greener. The ideas are pouring: from a „simple“ sustainable art-work such as a wall that purifies the air around it to elaborated constructions such as an entire city for kids, more and more creative projects are in the making.

Carlo Ratti speaks in his beautiful TEDtalk about architecture that senses and responds. The city becomes a living organism that reacts.

This year’s TEDprize was won by the City2.0 – a wish that enables people to transform their cities. Be it transportation, health, housing, food, safety, public space, art or education, the ways in which the cities are transformed are multiple.

Argitecture / archiculture – bringing the village in the city

A trend that occurs more and more – covered also in one of our past blog posts – is urban farming / urban agriculture. What started as an experiment now is extending into a more elaborated concept: agrictecture/arhiculture. The hybrid concept (architecture & agriculture) brought by Wang Hui from Urbanus explains the vision of a new Beijing where the image of cultivating land surrounded by cold concrete buildings is the central focus. The aim is not only to improve the access to healthy food, but also to revitalize communities. The idea sustains the possibility of bringing together two long time segregated spaces: the city and the village.

In London, a new form of ruralism which translates into contaminations by the life in a village, has been identified:

„Everywhere you look, the countryside has crept into cities and towns – the way we shop, eat, read, dress, decorate our homes, spend our time. Street food is sold out of revamped agricultural trucks, or from village-delivery style bicycles.“

“Changes in the environment change the brain, and therefore they change our behavior.”

…says neuroscientist Fred Gage. Humans shape the environment. And it seems that also the vice versa is valid. Why do people feel more comfortable in one space than another? This is one of the key questions that a group of neuroscientists & architects wants to answer. Both fields might have more in common than it was thought. The bridge between these two disciplines would mean a new paradigm for building our cities.

Connecting the dots the question easily pops up: what does this say about us? We imagine cities with an idyllic village life, cities that resonate with us, spaces that encourage interactions, removing walls and bringing people together. Do we transform the alienating city in history?

Header Image(s) from Pixabay & Gratisography

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