“Roma 20-25: New Life Cycles for the Metropolis” is an international design workshop and exhibition organized by the MAXXI Foundation and the Urban Planning Department of the City of Rome. Drawing from the 1978 “Roma Interrotta” exhibition, the project calls schools of architecture to envision Rome’s urban future by superimposing a virtual grid to a new map of Rome’s metropolitan area. Rather than dividing the city based on the Nolli plan’s twelve sections, Roma 20-25 generated a new map of Rome by identifying the territory where most of the social and economic activities currently take place. Twenty-five different areas were defined and assigned to participants, who were asked to both analyze and re-design their given territories.
This research-based studio revisited the tradition of imagining a city from scratch. In developing countries (where the bulk of population growth is occurring), the existing urban infrastructure is simply incapable of supporting high levels of growth. Rather than accommodate that population growth in already stressed urban centers, we proposed that a more viable strategy would be a series of “Start-up Cities:” small yet diverse cities characterized by innovative design at both the architectural and urban scale. These proposals explore new conceptual frameworks opened up by complexity theory and ecological thinking. We paid close attention to the ecological impact of these new cities. Finally, given that the iterative and serial nature of urban form is well-suited to computational design, we were able to profit from these new design methods.
The rapid pace of urbanization over the past two decades has produced megacities of staggering size and complexity. The Microcites research project at the CAUI suggests that architects and urban thinkers might more profitably turn their attention to the opposite scale of urban development: successful small-scale cites with a productive regional presence.
The United States Office of Management and Budget has defined 536 micropolitan statistical areas: urban aggregations of between 10,00 and 50,000 population, with at least one urban core and a positive social and economic integration of core and surrounding area. At a time when the small size and agility have become watchwords for innovation, it seems bizarre that architects would persist in their preoccupation with bigness. This research sets out to document and understand viable small cites in the US and abroad as a basis for alternative design propositions.
The object of this research is to produce a comprehensive proposal for the contemporary city: a speculative update of the Athens Charter. We will use Seoul as a paradigmatic case of the contemporary city to test different proposals in a specific urban environment. In this way we manifest the physical and spatial implications of technology on social organizations, urban events, or institutional and economic formations, once applied to an existing physical infrastructure.
Members of this research group will collaborate with authorities in Seoul Metropolitan Government and other institutions. Students will develop an innovative network of recycled spaces for Seoul through architectural means. The work will be aimed at envisioning viable reuse of these infrastructures for programs which are created by and for new urban technologies.