In 2008 an unprecedented global demographic transition occurred, the majority of us now live in cities. There is a growing concensus that over the next century existing and developing urban environments are going to mushroom to population levels incomprehensible just a few decades ago. In light of this emerging reality, societies around the world are beginning to re-evaluate the traditional relationships between public and industrial zones within urban territories to accommodate and sustain an increased level of demand for social space and utility services.
For centuries boundaries have been developed between industrial activities and the societies they serve. These boundaries intended to address the social anxieties and health concerns associated with industrial activities. And while many of the early industries were in fact destructive to social and ecological communities, many of their descendant industries do not pose a similar threat. We find ourselves now with the responsibility to re-examine these territorial boundaries and begin to identify evolving industrial technologies and/or landscapes that can be integrated or recalibrated to serve future infrastructural networks that imagine new relationships with the public and local ecology.
Architects communicate by drawing through spatial problems, and our ability to think through these challenges often requires a conversation between our mind and hand to organize our thoughts and critically think through the ideas. This process, grounded in centuries of instinct and practice, began to erode as digital tools evolved in the late 20th century to facilitate both the visualization and construction documentation of an architectural project. While the digital interface revolutionized architects’ ability to interrogate space within a virtual reality, a time lapse developed between the medium being produced to investigate the idea and the person who was critically thinking through the design process. As a result, what was gained from digital documentation in terms of speed, precision and editability was at the expense of critical thought at every intersection of the design process. (Read AD Magazine Feature)