The largest cities in the world were planned when it was hard to foresee the number of people that would eventually concentrate there. Nowadays, making one’s ways to work may involve losing a lot of time in traffic or in inefficient public transportation —to mention but one of the current problems. While these types of rituals have become part of our everyday life, nevertheless, urbanites are there because we both love and suffer, in equal amounts, our city.

Culture, however, changes much faster than infrastructure, and we could definitely use a change in our customs. Cities are precisely that: an amassment of customs within a given space. With this in mind, an organization called Adaptive Metropolis pretends to reformulate urbanism’s roots in order to match the inhabitants’ needs with the space they inhabit. In order to do this, it is essential to awaken the dweller from his usual slumber, and invite him to participate in the reconstruction of urban reality. Blaine Merker, one of the organization’s co-founders, calls it ‘user-generated urbanism,’ or ‘collaborative city-making.’

This implies that ideas formulated by architects, engineers and landscape architects are adapted and promoted by local people, who are familiar with the issues in their areas. Merker describes some of these models:

Open Source

One of the main examples of the Open Source model is an event called Park(ing) Day that takes place in San Francisco. In 2005, a group called Rabar inserted two hours-worth of coins in a San Francisco parking meter but, instead of parking a car there, they planted grass and placed a bench. Eight years later, this open source movement has gone global and has inspired hundreds of people to relax, sit down and experiment their neighborhood from a new perspective.

Peer Network Design

These plans focus on traffic jams and individual economy. Just as they did in Egypt, the organization set up a network for carpooling for people who are going to the same destination. Zip Car and City Car Share are significantly reducing traffic in some cities that are saturated by cars. Their motto is “Access instead of ownership”.

While undoubtedly these endeavors are brilliant ideas, time will have to pass before they can make a real difference. What they do show, however, is that there is an underlying social responsibility, and that the beginning of everything is oneself, one’s car, one’s neighborhood. The type of debates these types of projects have fostered is already part of a movement. They are putting the dialogue on the table and therefore the seeds of a new urban paradigm are beginning to germinate.

The largest cities in the world were planned when it was hard to foresee the number of people that would eventually concentrate there. Nowadays, making one’s ways to work may involve losing a lot of time in traffic or in inefficient public transportation —to mention but one of the current problems. While these types of rituals have become part of our everyday life, nevertheless, urbanites are there because we both love and suffer, in equal amounts, our city.

Culture, however, changes much faster than infrastructure, and we could definitely use a change in our customs. Cities are precisely that: an amassment of customs within a given space. With this in mind, an organization called Adaptive Metropolis pretends to reformulate urbanism’s roots in order to match the inhabitants’ needs with the space they inhabit. In order to do this, it is essential to awaken the dweller from his usual slumber, and invite him to participate in the reconstruction of urban reality. Blaine Merker, one of the organization’s co-founders, calls it ‘user-generated urbanism,’ or ‘collaborative city-making.’

This implies that ideas formulated by architects, engineers and landscape architects are adapted and promoted by local people, who are familiar with the issues in their areas. Merker describes some of these models:

Open Source

One of the main examples of the Open Source model is an event called Park(ing) Day that takes place in San Francisco. In 2005, a group called Rabar inserted two hours-worth of coins in a San Francisco parking meter but, instead of parking a car there, they planted grass and placed a bench. Eight years later, this open source movement has gone global and has inspired hundreds of people to relax, sit down and experiment their neighborhood from a new perspective.

Peer Network Design

These plans focus on traffic jams and individual economy. Just as they did in Egypt, the organization set up a network for carpooling for people who are going to the same destination. Zip Car and City Car Share are significantly reducing traffic in some cities that are saturated by cars. Their motto is “Access instead of ownership”.

While undoubtedly these endeavors are brilliant ideas, time will have to pass before they can make a real difference. What they do show, however, is that there is an underlying social responsibility, and that the beginning of everything is oneself, one’s car, one’s neighborhood. The type of debates these types of projects have fostered is already part of a movement. They are putting the dialogue on the table and therefore the seeds of a new urban paradigm are beginning to germinate.

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