A Call for the Specificity of Cities

by Tom Verebes

The legacy of cities in the last century begs new paradigms with which to guide the current era of the greatest project of urbanization ever to occur. Given the vast speed and extent of urbanization, and the risk of building cities devoid of specificities, new technologies are enabling an important transition away from an industrial paradigm of mass production to increasingly bespoke and mass-customized systems, spaces and experiences. The context of today’s emerging methods of non-standard production will be explored in this conference paper presentation, with an emphasis on elucidating the design repercussions of this new paradigm at the urban scale. Given the diverse cultures surrounding, within, and against technology, this paper will confront the difficult issues of the expression of identity in late capitalism, through a discourse which negotiates oppositions such as globalization and locality; positivism and nostalgia; and, heterogeneity and homogeneity. The notion of an interactive urban model, is proposed as the basis of embedding intelligence into city design, through the capacity to produce deeply structured variants of highly specific design outcomes. A series of projects by OCEAN CN, within the disciplinary categories of Master planning, Urban Design and Landscape Urbanism, will serve to explicate some of the urban repercussions of computational design and production technologies.

Back to the program…