Finding Centers in our Lives Through Architecture | Walter Stover | TEDxLingnanUniversitySalon

Technology has enabled us to construct an urban environment large enough to house more than half of the world’s population. It also, however, allows us to construct unnatural forms, resulting in built environments that can cause stress and restrict human action. This extends to society as a whole, which has become more connected–but also more fragmented–through technology. To help balance these new possibilities offered by technology and ensure we create a built and social environment that nurtures rather than works against the human spirit, we should turn to Christopher Alexander’s conception of architecture and space in terms of centers.

Centers allow us to measure the life in different spatial arrangements and enable us to create a more alive environment–and by reflectingon centers outside of us, we also begin to see the connectedness between things and understand our own role as centers in living society. I am a recent college graduate with a degree in economics and an interest in public policy, complexity theory, architecture, and artificial intelligence. I focus my research on multidisciplinary approaches to addressing social problems such as economic growth and technological change, balancing market dynamics and social welfare, and long-term policy planning to address ‘wicked problems’ of poverty and climate change.

I also have an intense interest in the role of art and architecture in daily life and combining the humanities with technological and scientific skill sets. I want to try and help society embrace the fruits of our technological labor, while also finding value in balancing modern life with the arts, nature, and philosophy. I myself hope to find a career as an economist and data scientist in the public policy field, but I am also dedicated to developing philosophical and aesthetic ideas that can help us navigate and find happiness in our increasingly complex world.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

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