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James Conley ARC ���_Thesis Preparation

Crisis City:

Architecture as Economic Initiative

Primary Advisor: Anda French Secondary Advisor: Ted Brown Crisis City Primary Faculty: Julia Czerniak Anda French Brian Lonsway Brendan Moran, Francisco Sanin

It is the intent of the Crisis City Collaborative to seek out defined or perceived crises within our cities and propose ways in which architecture’s role can be mediated or transformed to offer alternative systems and modes of thinking as a means to mitigate these present, impending, and emergent issues. As our global population rapidly resettles, increasingly more of the world has become dependent upon urbanization and the processes which support the city. Advancements in technology and infrastructure, have broken cities’ need for direct access to natural resources, and have further abstracted the relationship between humanities’ natural processes and settlement conditions. Now, more than ever before, urban settlements are being influenced by economic forces over all other conditions. Leading cities to be influenced more by ‘who’ is there rather than ‘what’ is there; favoring talent, innovation, production, existing human capital and built infrastructures over ecological services and conditions. Diminished awareness towards environmental benefits, and failure for corporations to gain loyalty to place, has lead to a decline within certain urban areas in favor of cities which offer greater perceived or actual economic benefit. With the global economy cities have become increasingly fluid. Barriers such as transportation, communication, tariffs, etc. have largely been overcome, helping to produce what Thomas Freidman refers to as a ‘flat world’ condition. The sense of corporate responsibility to place has diminished to concerns of global competition, and without an incentive or tangible benefit, volatile market conditions will persist. In order for cities to offer stability and growth there must be a constructed sense of identity and improved affinity to a location in order to attract and retain development. It is the matter of opportunity, production, perceived and actual value of an area which is at the crux of the problem. Decreasing level of a cities ingenuity, invention and new local industry development will prevent the existing city to remain resilience. The failure for a city to adapt and retool leads to gradual decline and lead them to be matters of obsolescence within the global economy. Gradually propitiating the rate of disinvestment, loss of jobs, poverty and urban blight. A city is in crisis when it fails to function as a viably sustainable economic entity, incapable of serving the widespread financial needs of its inhabitants. With this, and in recognizing the city as an economic construct and that its existence is contingent upon economic processes, my thesis will explore the ways in which architecture can engage with the vital capital process. This process suggests rebuilding and retooling our existing cites rather than promote continued excavation of post industrial regions. Through implementing program which encourages entrepreneurial activity, and attracting talent from local universities, economically underappreciated cities can develop themselves to heightened levels and provide once again for their residence. Through economic speculation, based on local assets, the project will look to encourage growth by exploring the realities of industrial development which can offer high multiplier effect to effectively stimulate job growth. The implementation of branding techniques and studies or marking strategy will look to uncover how to develop brand loyalty, and use these techniques to encourage loyalty to place. And will promote ecologically sustainable processes through designing a site which places greater reliance upon natural systems rather than automated infrastructures.


Post Establishment

local urban/industry development

Areas of Mutation (innovation)

Density and development of region

Volitility to loss through global markets



“as part of a historical cycle, crisis singnals the end of a continuity or historical development, inaugeruating unbridgable histroical rumptures, jumps, illogics” - Peter Esienman, 2009

Process of Economic Resets* 1 New Technology [Innovation]

*as claimed by Richard Florida in “The Great Reset”

2 Transportation 3 Production Patterns 2 Industry 4 Housing Options 5 Landscape

Education Systems

Bibliography Bishop, Bill. 2008. The Big Sort. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Companies. Political studies which analyses how America has become increasingly ideologically polar between regions and what this might mean for our country and communities moving forward. Florida, Richard. 2009. The Great Reset. Discusses how the economy will reshape after our current recession. Through analyzing past economic ‘resets’ Florida discusses the phenomenon of geographically transformative capital that lead to moments of economic prosper, analyses different city industry bases and what the future might hold for them. Florida, Richard. Who’s Your City?: How the creative economy is making where to live the most important decision of your life. New York: Basic Books, 2008. Florida has created a city rating system, considering opportunities, entertainment, job offerings, cost of living, etc. and complies this data to help determine desirability of cities in the US. These factors offer helpful criteria for valuation. Florida, Richard. Rise of the Creative Class. New York: Basic Books. Florida famously discusses the importance of young, educated, creative individuals and how their talents are working to reshape geography around America. Fainstein, Susan. 2005. CITIES AND DIVERSITY Should We Want It? Should We Plan For It? New York: Columbia University. Analyses the importance of visual and cultural diversity within our cities and tries to determine the extent to which thee are beneficial, as well as analysis several community types in terms of resilience and economic productivity. Ingels, Bjarke. 2008. YES IS MORE: An Archicomic Architectural Evolution. An architect who uses iconography and simple branding as a means to address a larger audience. In his discussion regarding his work it is clear that he has a fairly well versed knowledge of building development principals and gladly accepts those into the design. His mode of working attempts to appear controlled at times but its reality is that it is often contingent. Jacobs, Jane. 1969. The Economy of Cities. New York: Random House. Sets the stage for an age of urban theorists to recognize that is it cities, rather than nations what are the true generators of wealth. Her notions towards import replacement and city growth have made a strong impact on economic theorists and remains influential to this day. Jacobs, Jane. 2000. The Nature of Economies. New York: Random House. Discusses the similarities between ecological development and economic development, encouraging the discipline to recognize these factors are in sync with one another and therefore compatible. Koolhass, Rem. 2006. Found In Translation. Ubiquitous China. Koolhass, briefly discusses the financial process of the architectural process of working to get bids and how to follow through with clients. Till, Jeremy. 2009. Architecture Depends. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Looks at the Contingency of architecture and how the profession makes attempts to constantly appear to clean things up and have a smooth linear process. Architects tend to want to ignore the outside forces at work instead of working with them. Willis, Carol. 1995. Form Follows Finance: Skyscrapers and Skylines in New York and Chicago. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.