Designing the Future – Speculation, Pragmatism, and the City of Tomorrow


Speculation, Pragmatism, and the City of Tomorrow

Addressing the immense challenges facing New York City in the coming decades — climate change, dramatic population growth, aging infrastructure, poverty, and more — will necessitate significant interventions in the built environment. Real progress will require highly creative thinking on the part of designers, government officials, concerned citizens, and many others.

To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of its New York office, Arup put out a public call for blue-sky ideas about the future of the city. On December 3, a panel discussed some of the responses, as well as the possibilities and limitations of this kind of exercise. Can speculative thinking bring value to the day-to-day design process? Are some kinds more useful than others? How can designers and clients — public, private, and institutional — better reconcile the need to think big with the need to work within strict project constraints?

The event was moderated by Architizer founder Marc Kushner. Panelists included Eric Ho, architect and founder of made in Lower East Side; Kevin Findlan, associate director of New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy; Zak Kostura, structural engineer at Arup; Kaja Kühl, founder of research, design, and planning practice youarethecity; and Brad Samuels, partner at Situ Studio.


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