Learning Cities + Smarter Regions / How do Cities Learn?

Architecture + Urban Design

Fall 2012

Mojdeh Baratloo, coordinator, Lee Altman, Jerome Chou, Dongsei Kim, Christopher Kroner, Sandro Marpillero + Justin G. Moore, critics, with Celine Armstrong, Dan Dobson, Sagi Golan, Ryan Jacobson, Kevin Le + Jun Peng

“The illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
Alvin Toffler (paraphrasing H. Gerjuoy)

From agrarian to industrial, post-industrial and now global-technological societies, the city and its greater region have always been reflexive physical manifestations of society. In a recent lecture at the London School of Economics, Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Joseph Stiglitz articulated a single critical factor that influences societies’ ability to adapt to changes in the global environment. He poses “learning societies” as a critical model that helps develop effective positive change in social, economic and political dynamics and thus impact the urban environment.

The studio addressed the question: if a society can and does learn, then what can a city/region learn? Does a region learn to better manage its resources? Can a city learn how and where to grow? What are the ways in which a city or region can acquire learning skills, as opposed to reaching a static condition of being ‘smart’ or ‘sustainable’? The studio practiced “learning by designing” to explore how cities learn in the shorter term, and how regions can become smarter in the long run.

Andrew Leung, Xiaoyun Mao + Elaheh Kerachian A
Ankita Chachra, Eiman Alsakha + Ryan Jacobson B
Celine Armstrong, Sagi Golan, Ryan Jacobson + Kevin Le C/D
Elham Morovvati, Amritha Mahesh, Daniel Dobson + Wang Gu E
Ishita Gaur, Sagi Golan, Janice Tan + Kristina Ricco F/G/H/I
Scott Archer, Vanessa Espaillat, Carolina Montilla + Jun Peng J