The Contest Urbanisms of Abandonment
MARIA ARQUERO DE ALARCON, MAde Studio in collaboration w/ Professor Martin Murray, Ph.D. and Olaia Chivite Amigo
Track A: 8:45 AM - 9:45 AM
The successive cycles of urban transformation in industrial regions during the last century have created uneven, asymmetrical landscapes consisting of scattered abandonment interspersed amongst nodes of concentrated activity. This presentation examines the case of Detroit through a finely-grained account of the disparate narratives chronicling existing realities and projected futures, their representation and mediation in three city neighborhoods. We argue that traditional land use planning approaches overlook the residents-led processes of vacant land repurposing, or the significance of improvisational, temporary regimes of occupation and shared ownership, failing this way to project alternative, more just city futures.
While focusing in Detroit, the presentation will trace relationships with similar processes of urban transformation present in Chicago and other legacy cities in the region, where land vacancy is presented as an opportunity to advance innovative green agendas. While the official narratives of ecological and productive innovation embody the quest for a more sustainable future, the overwhelming presence of blight and chronic lack of investment speak of very different priorities. Despite this lack of official support, the project reveals how this legacy of neglect have nonetheless instigated the emergence of contested, alternative urban imaginaries. In their own terms, ordinary citizens have taken it upon themselves to reshape the environment in which they live and, in the process, to imprint their own vision for the future of their neighborhoods.
Autonomous Futures: Beyond "On To 2050"
Track B: 8:45 AM - 9:45 AM
New technology, shifting demographics, and evolving consumer preferences are driving changes in where and how we choose to live and get around. New services like Uber, Lyft, to technology like today’s electric scooters and tomorrow’s connected and autonomous vehicles, are providing new mobility options. Demand is growing for dense neighborhoods with access to transit, while affordability of these places is going down. Our population is aging, and fewer people want to drive. Autonomous vehicles could lead to more vibrant, mixed use places, or to spread out communities and long commutes. How might these changes affect the region’s transportation and development patterns in the coming years? This talk will build from ON TO 2050 – the region’s comprehensive plan – and more recent research to talk about what this future might look like and what strategies we can pursue to promote livability, mobility, and equity.
The Urbanism of New Mobility: How the Transportation Revolution can Transform Chicagoland
Track A: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Profound changes in the ways we get around raise new possibilities for urban form. Demand for walkability drives real estate and economic development, while new transportation options proliferate, from bike and scooter sharing to ride-hailing to on-demand transit, with autonomous vehicles on the horizon. What do these changes mean for greater Chicago? What are the possibilities for a more equitable region, healthier neighborhoods, and a reinvigorated public realm? This talk explains the new realities of mobility at street level in relation to urban design policies and goals. It looks at how communities across the country are re-thinking transportation and development to leverage new technologies to their advantage. It explores potentials in reshaping neighborhoods around daily needs, reclaiming streets for people, and the role of diverse mobility in good city life.
"Listening for change in the [re]developing city : Aural-spatial connections in the Mega-region."
Track B: 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Ian Hoffman is an architect, acoustic designer and educator whose teaching, research and practice examine the complex sensitivities of architectural and acoustic design, bridging the technical and creative, calculated and perceived, aural and tectonic. He designs and consults on buildings and spaces intersecting both visual and aural participation. This includes buildings for the arts, primarily, but also spatial/urban conditions. Specific to this Think Tank, Ian is concerned with how aural-spatial connections, at various scales, contribute to place, mobility and the human condition. Ian serves on the faculty of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he leads a small graduate program in acoustics. His teaching spans many subjects in the aural domain, including architectural acoustics design and analysis, measurement, modeling, noise control and psychoacoustics.
Raising the Bar: Equitable Urban Planning in Chicago
Track A: 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM
site design group, ltd. (site) is an award-winning landscape architecture and urban design firm who was been transforming under-utilized spaces throughout Chicago and the Midwest for more than 29 years. As designers, creative thinkers, and engaged citizens, their work addresses social, economic, and environmental challenges through innovative public spaces that contribute to healthy, sustainable, and resilient communities. Founder and Principal of site, Ernie Wong, will describe the firm’s mission, their process, and some of their most notable green spaces, riverfronts, and play spaces. Projects such as Mary Bartelme Park, Ping Tom Memorial Park, Pullman National Monument, Riverwalk East and Space to Grow Schoolyards continue to raise the bar for urban design and are contributing to establishing a more equitable built environment for all.
Resilience in Design: Lessons from Lafayette
STEPHEN J. ORTEGO
Track B: 11:15 AM - 12:15 PM
In today's changing political, cultural, and ecological climate, new urbanization patterns are not only increasingly desired from a real estate and development perspective, but increasingly necessary and essential from an ecological and social lens. Practicing architecture in Louisiana, a state which intimately deals with climate change, coastal erosion, flooding, and man-made disasters, requires one to see policy as inherently spatial and space as inherently political. Policy and space tangibly converge at the scale of the building. This lecture will contemplate the spatial nature of Louisiana's recent environmental history and politics through the lens of Stephen Ortego's time as both a legislator and architect. A special focus will be given to his firm's mixed-use and multi-family projects in Lafayette, Louisiana.
The Urban Fix: City as Solution
Track A/B: 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
"The Urban Fix" will connect 4 dots in new ways. Dot 1 is CC itself, with special focus on the deleterious role that the sprawling built environment plays in this global phenomenon. Dot 2 is the UHI, a lesser known and misunderstood local phenomenon, which is heating up most cities twice as fast as their surrounding countryside or as the planet as a whole. Coupled with CC, many cities suffer extreme heat. The UHI has been surprisingly underplayed in the climate literature and public discourse about CC, and to date it has remained unclaimed by any environmental group as their clarion call. Dot 3 is excessive, unsustainable population growth in developing countries, combined with excessive consumption and carbon footprints in developed countries. The first three dots are challenges. Dot 4 is the city itself, which is a solution, or at least a strategy that offers very effective social and structural ways to address the challenges represented by the first three dots. Cities have experienced a stunning turnaround, one in which they are no longer seen as a problem, as they were a half century ago.
Toward an Comprehensive Rail and Bus Passenger Transportation System for the Megaregion
Track A: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Schwieterman will offer a "big picture" perspective on the planning and investments underway to to enhance bus and rail passenger service through the megaregion. He'll describe recent breakthroughs in commuter and intercity rail expansion as well as some of the projects being contemplated that could dramatically reshape mobility in the region, including those to improve ground transportation to major airports in Chicago and Milwaukee. This presentation will show that, despite funding shortfalls, there is reason for optimism about strategies for promoting alternatives to private vehicle travel.
Hydrological Assets: Lessons from the Detroit River
Track B: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
This talk presents two design projects that foster the imaginative capacity of visions for Detroit’s future urbanism by understanding the city through the lens of water. Located in one of the most polluted watersheds in the Great Lakes Region, the Detroit metropolitan region is in a unique position to challenge the course of its inherited system of water infrastructure. Currently, the Detroit River is identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as an Area of Concern and the region’s combined sewer infrastructure is considered a significant contributor to the ongoing challenge of water pollution. Lying at the crux of this environmental challenge are Detroit’s patterns and materials of urbanization which produce a highly impervious hydrological landscape that quickly inundates the City’s outdated waste water infrastructure with nearly every rain storm. Within this context, our design work brings together regional analyses of the systems of water infrastructure, and the physical, regulatory and cultural forces that shape Detroit’s contemporary urban condition in order to speculate on and contribute to urbanism as imagined through the lens of water.
Liquid Planning Detroit
Liquid Planning Detroit explores the agency of urban design in the redefinition of permeable development practices, and fosters the imaginative capacity of visions for Detroit’s future urbanism. Visualizing the largely invisible relationship between land use regulation and construction practices, resource-conservation, and pollution reduction, this research considers urban storm water management as a key tool for generative design strategies that encourage nested, scalar approaches and interdisciplinary collaboration. With this ambition, Detroit serves as a productive ground to test the relevance of more transparent transitions between data and design, and better illuminate design agency in the process.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) is an anchor art organization in Southeast Michigan and is the only contemporary art museum in Detroit. MOCAD acts as a nexus for educating the public about current arts and music while also playing a critical role in helping regenerate the City through the arts. This project will transform the existing outdoor grounds of MOCAD into a vibrant, community public space that provides a link between area greenways and the Q-Line on Woodward Avenue, and utilizes green infrastructure elements to improve the experience of the space as well as its environmental performance.
Green infrastructure plays a centrally important role in MOCAD's renovation work in two ways. First, by improving the overall stormwater flow and capture on site, the long term financial sustainability of MOCAD's ability to provide innovative programming improves as money can be spent on art that is saved by reducing stormwater fees. Second, by integrating visible stormwater infrastructure elements (rain gardens, porous pavers, etc) within a revitalized, urban plaza space, arts activities and water systems visibly support each other. Plantings that absorb water also create soft edges and places to rest. Porous pavers allow water to flow and also signal that the plaza space can be used either for cars or as open event space for pedestrians, food carts or exhibits. Each element of stormwater design enriches the experience of occupying the revitalized outdoor space of this important arts institution.
A Schematic Design of the Economy
Track A/B: 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM
We have over built almost everything this past century, partly the result of an economy measured mainly by growth, partly the result of regulations that prescribe single uses, and partly the result of a mindset that has focused on scarcity rather than abundance and on win-lose rather than win-win outcomes. Those factors have helped produce a landscape full of empty parking lots in fully built-out communities, commercial buildings vacant all night long with the homeless sleeping just outside, and acres of underused space in the midst of unaffordable housing and rising construction costs. The sharing economy has begun to turn that situation on its head, leveraging the untapped capacity of people, places, and property and allowing us to use our abundance for more productive, equitable, and sustainable ends. That will affect not only how we live and what we build, but also what we value and how we measure wealth.