Well, here it is, long overdue--the expanded version of the Guidelines for PHREE_Urbanism. I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to leave any comments, complaints, and suggestions you have.
1. From “Towers in the park” to “Tower IS the park.”
PHREE_Urbanism the modernist concept of towers hovering over and/or around a civilized park (best epitomized by Corb’s famous perspective view showing a luxurious terrace from which the ‘primitive’ nature is to be contemplated) has been superseded by an attempt to turn the tower into a wild, unkempt vegetal structure (that same luxurious terrace now becomes a place to inhabit that ‘primitive’ nature). This narrative excludes FLW’s Broadacre City, an agroUrban conception that is only now, 70 years later, becoming a seriously considered approach to urban design.
Edouard Francois, and of course, Ken Yeang.
Vertical Farming here as well.
2. Fill the Void aka Green is the New BlaNk
MAD proposes to fill one of the largest urban voids in the world, Tian'Man Square, BeijingPatrick LeBlanc style and grow some plants on it! Have a boring asphalt roof above your head? Grow a garden! Have an empty lot in the alley next to you? Throw some seeds in it! Through tactical maneuvers such as guerilla gardening (1, 2) and seed bombing today’s PHREE_Urbanists are taking back the streets and alleys and returning them to Mother Nature. Joni Mitchell would be proud.
3. If you can’t beat them, DESIGN them.
1, 2, 3, 4) here on _URB_, so we don't mind that architects are designing structures that mimic daisies (see Public Farm post), trees (Guallart), or even venus fly traps (Lynn). In fact, we encourage it. Below is one of my recent faves, a hexi-sexy geometrical riff on a flower by Plan B Architects.
Orquideorama / Plan B Architects + JPRCR Architects
4. Eat Your Home.
just grab some fruit from the ceiling.
“But I’m not really into fruits and veggies” you say. I know. Me too! That’s why I built my guest house out of ginger bread. It tastes great AND it’s biodegradable!
For those carnivores out there, if we can grow ears on the back of a mouse I’m sure it will be no time before scientists create a self-generating, self-replicating bovine protein that can become building blocks for a ‘carne a casa’. Just look at this In Vitro Meat Habitat found on Mitchell Joachim’s blog. A ‘slab of beef’ takes on a whole new meaning.
Note: I actually wrote this last part before I wrote last week’s piece on bioengineering, but now I can think of at least one more thing for bioengineers and architects to explore together.
5. Start a Flood.
Micah Morgan - Park SpaceWater has been reenergized as a performative design element in PHREEU. Rethinking the role of hydrological infrastructure as a civic space, such as the concrete creeks in LA and Houston, the increased use natural wetlands in landscape design, and the water-logged parking lots of Micah Morgan’s thesis at Rice University are further examples and opportunities for what I have previously termed aquaUrbanism.
6. Get a Pet.
Soon to be seen in classifieds:
WANTED: SWF in search of PUS* for protection against free-ranging zoo animals in adjacent superblock. MUST be big, strong, and ferocious, but cuddly and pettable. Grizzly Bears and Lions preferred. Cats and Dogs need not apply.
*PUS, now unheard of in the classified section, will soon be a commonly seen acronym of the classifieds section meaning “Pets of Unusual Size”
All jokes aside, as Stefano Boeri wrote in “Down from the Stand,” increasing the biodiversity of our cities means experimentation with the cohabitation of different animal species. How this cohabitation occurs is still in question.
Is it through a Jumanji style rewilding of our cities? Perhaps abandoned areas of shrinking cities are turned into experimental zoos: Can you imagine performing a Matt-Clark inspired deconstruction on parts of Detroit to create interesting spaces for wild animals throughout abandoned pancake slab structures and then constructing a Team X/Archigram inspired elevated walkway (surrounded in glass like those used in aquariums to be sure) winding through this forgotten quarter to produce one of the most amazing psycho-geographic-zoological experiences ever??!? The aforementioned City Zoo project by Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today is an example of this kind of proposal.
City Zoo - Tomorrow's Thoughts TodayOr is it through an increase of agrarian livestock in our cities? This is the more likely scenario as it is actually happening. According to a recent NPR segment the American Planning Association has fielded more questions about changing zoning codes to allow chickens than any other issue over the last six months. City life resembles Front Studio’s Farmadelphia proposal more and more every day. We no longer have to move out of town to Green Acres, we can bring Green Acres to us.
Front Studio - Farmadelphia