NYU Urban Seminar Series: Equity, Design, and Climate Change
Cities today are growing quickly. The UN projects that continuing population growth and urbanization will add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban centers by 2050. Even as our cities expand, unprecedented climate events flood our urban spaces, redraw shorelines, and devastate infrastructure. In the face of these twinned challenges of rapid growth and climate change, how do we design our cities so that they are inclusive, and remain centers of economic growth and creative dynamism that integrate new arrivals, while at the same time becoming more resilient to climate change? How do we ensure that our design approaches promote equity in our cities, and address climate change impacts that are most often felt by the economically vulnerable populations and areas of our cities? How do we create a design process that is inclusive, represents the needs of different urban constituencies, and draws on the creativity of all residents as we address emergent climate shifts? The 2018 NYU Urban Seminar Series will include urban planners, designers, researchers, practitioners, and artists whose work explores the intersection of equity, design, and climate change.
Cynthia Smith will discuss the exhibit, "Design with the Other 90%: CITIES," featuring 60 projects, proposals, and solutions that address the complex issues arising from the unprecedented rise of informal settlements in emerging and developing economies. The exhibit is divided into six themes—Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper, and Access—to help orient the visitor. It shines a spotlight on communities, designers, architects, and private, civic, and public organizations that are working together to formulate innovative approaches to urban planning, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, nonformal education, public health, and more.
In 2015, the United Nations announced a document known as ‘Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, which is built around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda stresses the need to change our development path. Indeed, the existing development models do not fit this new agenda, and several alternatives have been proposed. Among those, the discourse of “green growth” has gained ground in governance deliberations and policy proposals. It is presented as a fresh and innovative agenda centered on the deployment of engineering sophistication, managerial acumen, and market mechanisms to redress the environmental and social derelictions of the current development models. But can the green growth project deliver environmental sustainability, social justice and the achievement of economic life upon a materially finite planet? This presentation tries to answer several questions. First, what explains modern society’s investment in the green growth idea, why has it emerged as a master concept in the contemporary conjuncture, and what social forces does it serve? Second, how do we evaluate the results of a series of prominent green growth projects? Finally, it weighs up the merits and demerits of alternative strategies and policies asking the vital question: If not green growth, then what development models we need for the 2030 Agenda? How can we transform our development model and policy making to take into consideration planetary boundaries? The presentation by Jose A. Puppim de Oliveira will bring examples of cities and focus the discussion on alternative models of urban development.
What can cities do about climate change? How can they help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create more sustainable forms of collective life? How can they protect vulnerable people and places from the outbursts of extreme weather that are becoming evermore likely to arrive? And can they adapt to global warming without making the world even more unequal? Drawing on original research and his experience as Research Director of the federal government’s Rebuild By Design competition for rebuilding after Sandy, Klinenberg will examine innovative urban climate projects across the planet and offer surprising solutions for some of the most challenging problems of our time.
Professor Natalie Jeremijenko directs the Environmental Health Clinic, and is an Associate Professor in the Visual Art Department, NYU and affiliated with the Computer Science Dept and Environmental Studies program. She will discuss design experiments for the rebuilding of Houston and how to create porous cities.
Thomas Fisher, a professor and Director of the Minnesota Design Center at the University of Minnesota, will discuss the fracture-critical nature of many of the systems we have put in place since the mid-20th century, how such systems are especially vulnerable to catastrophic failure, and what we need to do to create more resilient, affordable, and equitable systems in the future. He will show how fracture-critical failures follow a consistent pattern and how we can spot the vulnerability of systems and prevent their failure.
This lecture by Alfredo Brillembourg will explore the work of ETH Zurich Urban-Think Tank (U-TT), an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design on a variety of subjects concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism. U-TT was co-founded by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, who previously co-taught at Columbia University in New York before joining U-TT in 2010. U-TT has been awarded the Ralph Erskine Award, the Holcim Gold Award for innovative contributions to ecological and social design practices, and the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture Golden Lion.