Exponential growth, the erosion of public spaces, growing inequality, the development of slums and the destruction of the environment are just some of urbanisation’s consequences.
Building cities for a billion people over the next decade is an opportunity to plan to get things right by accommodating future growth, or to get them wrong by imposing inflexible solutions.
Research in 186 cities shows that the population has more than doubled, but their footprints have increased almost five-fold in just 25 years.
The 21st century is the century of urbanization: The percentage of humans living in cities is constantly growing. Today, extend and pace of this development are faster than ever. The exhibition “Conflicts of an Urban Age“ focused the consequences of rapid urban growth, especially between 1990 and today, and showed how cities react to the immense challenges.
„Conflicts of an Urban Age“ has been developed in the Urban Age program of Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and LSE Cities. Urban Age is an international research program investigating the dynamics of growing cities.
Between June 21st and July 29th 2017, approximately 1300 visitors attended the exhibition at BOX Freiraum in Berlin-Friedrichshain – during this period, an extraordinary place for exchange and free thinking about the future of our cities.
The exhibition was based on the special exhibition of the same name at the Architecture Biennale 2016 in Venice, enriched by analyses of the development of Berlin. By means of seven cities – Addis Abeba, Berlin, Istanbul, London, Mexico City, Mumbai and Shanghai, the extraordinary growth and its effects within the last 25 years were compared. “Conflicts of an Urban Age” also demonstrated how these cities are organized, planned and administered and thus react to processes of urbanization.
While the exhibition showed urban challenges on a large scale, Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and LSE Cities additionally hosted Urban Talks with different guests each Wednesday. The Urban Talks aimed at discussing participatory and sustainable planning approaches from different angles.
The first Urban Talk on June 28th focused Berlin as a city of change. Journalist Niklas Maak, FAZ, took the occasion to ask how, in the future, new rooms can be created to move work and life closer together again, to enable new forms of encounters, to make community, generosity and hospitality valuable again.
During the second Urban Talk, psychiatrist and stress researcher Mazda Adlia and futurologist Ludwig Engel discussed, referring to Adlis book STRESS AND THE CITY, questions like: How does our brain react to living in a city? When does citylife make us sick? And why is it still good for us?
The third Urban Talk was chaired by Ute Weiland and commented on by Philipp Misselwitz. With the title "Co-Designing Cities: architecture + informal intelligence" it discussed the issues participation and urban design. Based on the assumption that cities are the results of collective efforts, selected related projects of the urbanXchanger program were presented. Marcos L. Rosa, curator of this year’s Architecture Biennale in Sao Paolo, presented urbanXchanger projects from Sao Paulo and Mexico-City and his new publication „Co-Designing the City“.
In the presence of the participants from Columbia, the project Urban Lab Medellín I Berlin was presented on July 19th at BOX Freiraum. The Urban Lab Medellín I Berlin, planned as a Think&Do-Tank, connected students of architecture, urban design, architects and planners with the local population in Columbia and Germany. The Urban Lab was initiated by Albert Kreisel, Maximilian Becker and Tobias Schrammek in cooperation with the Habitat Unit Berlin, Prof Dr. Philipp Misselwitz, in 2016 and was successfully finished with the Berlin SummerSchool in July 2017. The project was supported by Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and carried out with the support of the ‚Arch+ Verein zur Förderung des Architektur- und Stadtdiskurs’.
The final Urban Talk discussed how the transformation towards sustainability, as demanded by the Agenda 2030 of the UN (Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs), could be reached within the context of urbanization. Moderated by Philipp Misselwitz, the panel discussed different perspectives.
Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft
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The Urban Age Programme
„Conflicts of an Urban Age“ was developed in the Urban Age Programme of Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and LSE Cities at the London School of Economics (LSE). The Urban Age Programme is an international investigation of the spatial and social dynamics of cities centred on an annual conference amongst others - also in 2016 in Venice during the Architecture Biennale.
More information on the Urban Age Programme can be found here.
Exhibition and Urban Talks
In cooperation with BOX FREIRAUM
Boxhagener Straße 93, in the courtyard