Viewpoint #40

CITY FUTURES

If you thought urban life was already stressful, crowded and unremitting, then get ready for even more complex city futures. Fifty years ago, less than a third of the world’s population lived in cities: in fifty years time, that figure will have more than doubled to 70 percent as changing agricultural patterns force rural dwellers into urban migration.
The challenges and issues facing governments and urban planners are exponential – future energy and food sources; environmental and health systems; sustainability issues; transport mechanics for people, goods and data; housing and renewable building materials; a new welfare capitalism; and complete connectivity… to name a few!
The trouble is that in many areas, especially in the West, we have been late confronting the problems of our own very cities’ futures. For many years, cities were seen to be victims of economic decline and hotspots of social breakdown and environmental decay. De-industrialisation, poverty issues and downsizing were thought to be eating away at communities and civic structures. Cities were seen as dinosaurs, extinct leftovers of the Industrial Revolution.
Now, we see everything in a new light. A new urban narrative is taking hold with cities portrayed as centres of economic dynamism and huge melting pots of cultural and ethnic diversity that will nourish innovation, foster productivity and provide the amenities and opportunities to attract the talent to generate solutions and better standards of living of our future cities. In fact, it’s already started. Cities are in fashion once again amongst consumers, tourists and physical transformation already visible on renewed industrial land sites and waterfronts.
As Hester Lacey so clearly points out in The Evidence, “Humans are masters of adaptation and city dwellers are fast evolving to meet the challenges brought on by our shift from rural to urban and finding opportunities within our new habitat.” And changes there will be, as words like “micro”, modular”, “multi-generational”, “collective”, “multi-generational”, “virtual” and “remote working” really take hold.
THE EDIT
The creative industry roundup featuring the new design, retail, lifestyle, material and technology stories that you need to gen up on.
THE BIG IDEA
The 40th issue of Viewpoint explores the socio-cultural macro trends of urbanisation and the mass movement of people to cities, unpacking how these will a effect the spaces in which we live, work and play.
THE TOOL KIT
Introducing the designers, architects and other creatives who are fast evolving to meet the challenges posed by our shift from rural to urban, and nding opportunities within our new habitat. They are applying skill, craft and innovation to transform the cityscape — Adam Nathaniel Furman / Space Encounters Studio Ilio / Storefront / Something & Son.
THE VISUAL ESSAY
A visual essay featuring the work of photographer and sculptor Lorenzo Vitturi, who documents the changing face of the city through collected urban debris.
THE OPINION
Interviewing industry leaders to get their take on The Big Idea — Daan Roosegaarde / Gerard Greene Jing Liu / Thomas Ermacora / Charlie Green.
THE TRANSLATION
Designers and architects of all kinds are rethinking and reshaping the urban landscape, one ingenious project at a time, from engineering nature into our homes and workspaces to harvesting the very pollution our cities create.
DESIGN NOTEBOOK
Reporting on emerging behavioural and attitudinal lifestyle trends that are shaping the design world — The Now Age / Conscientious Commerce / The Femme Sex Tech Revolution / The Myth of Middle Age / Open Minds.
INNOVATION
A rundown of the need-to-know new technologies, materials, approaches and working methods a ecting the creative industries — Voluntary Prosthesis Compostable Consumption / Adaptive Beauty Tech Brain Training / Functional Biophilia.
THE TALENT
A directory of names that you should know. From typographers and photographers to a still-life surrealist, we identify the idea-makers of today — and tomorrow —
Das Leben am Haverkamp / GGSV / Marta Velasco Alexandra von Fuerst / Laurence Leenaert / Lucy Hardcastle Clemence Seilles / Sakaria Studio / Adji Dieye