Urban Systems

I was just reading an article from The L Magazine about the upcoming Festival of Ideas for the New City, a major collaboration in New York City this May started by the New Museum.

One line in the article by Benjamin Sutton caught my attention:

“the thrust of the festival is… to think about and act upon ideas for improving this city and urbanism as an everyday and professional practice with particular regard to four essential, overlapping aspects of the urban system: the heterogeneous city, the networked city, the reconfigured city and the sustainable city.”

I’ve always been interested in the study and strategy of “cities” as ever-evolving organisms. In 2005, urban areas made up about 2.8% of the earth’s surface, but were home to about half the earth’s human population. In other words, people should be putting their heads together to make cities function as healthy ecosystems. In the book Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends, the argument is made that urbanization is not inherently bad for the environment– in fact, sprawling suburban areas can be much worse for ecosystems.

The future lies undoubtedly in creating the perfect city. I’m not sure what exactly falls under Sutton’s four essential aspects of the urban system, but I can’t wait to find out!

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