Chapter

Cities for Smart Environmental and Energy Futures

Part of the series Energy Systems pp 23-53

Date:

Rethinking Urban Landscapes: Self-Supported Infrastructure, Technology and Territory

  • Mitchell JoachimAffiliated withTerreform ONENew York University Email author 
  • , Melanie FesselAffiliated withTerreform ONE

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Abstract

The tide of environmental decline is a multilayered dilemma in qualitative architectural research. To some extent, architectural directives have struggled to reverse this environmental decay. That is not to say the desire and aspiration to positively contribute to an ecological society is omitted from the design discourse. In fact just the opposite, an immense consortium, both formal and informal, of architectural thinkers are absolutely devoted to the task of sustainability. For at least this past decade the dominant meta-theme of a majority of architectural research has been the promise of sustainability. Architects have reflexively launched themselves into the center of the environmental polemic as both its source and resolution. This eco-crisis demands robust solutions on a considerable scale to deal with an imminent collapse. At this point, the radicalization of sustainability is widespread. As a principle it is the politicized mainstream agenda for most design procedures. How can you contend against platitudes like; ‘save the planet’? The architectural responses range from fantastical feats of geo-engineering to low-flush toilets, all in service to assuage our fears. It’s vital to concede that sustainability will happen in every shade of green. For if the mission fails, we will not be here to say otherwise. Therefore, we must shift beyond sustainability alone and its associative rhetoric. What are the latest comprehensive models within design research that can expedite a greener and grander shift? We need to prepare the next generation of innovators to be self-reliant in a world that requires regeneration. We also need to expand a discourse that continues an arc of humanitarian and technological assertions after sustainability is achieved.