As if on an assembly line driven by market protocols, city after city around the world has stamped out the same inevitable pattern of urban development: Industry out (port, factory, mill), developer in (condo, housing, boardwalk, marina complex). We have relied on the predictable fluctuations of the market to tell us what to do, where to build, and what to design, but we have suddenly lost our beacon.
Without emerging markets, without money, without incentives, architects around the world are now without prospects. Is it hopeless, or can we imagine new models of development in the wake of near economic collapse?
Can we use this crisis as an opportunity to break away from our current tendencies, to escape from urbanism autopilot? This could be just the thing our cities needed.
Right now, the projected five tallest buildings on each of the five continents are on hold.
Based on: A. Stern, ‘Global recession stalls skyscraper construction’ Reuters UK (March 2009).
In: Visionary Cities.
Graphics credits: João Amaral