Worlds of Planetary Urbanization
17th International Venice Architecture Biennale
May 22–November 21, 2021
The exhibit Worlds of Planetary Urbanization is open at the Venice Architecture Biennale until November 21, 2021. The digital version has now been launched within the research initiative New Agendas under Planetary Urbanization. The project is a collaboration between the Urban Theory Lab led by Neil Brenner and a team from the ETH Zürich D-ARCH and the Future Cities Laboratory, led by Christian Schmid and Milica Topalović.
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Worlds of Planetary Urbanization
Urbanization has become planetary. The boundaries of the urban have been exploded. Novel patterns of urbanization are crystallizing not only through the expansion of metropolitan regions, but in agrarian and extractive hinterlands, in zones of apparent wilderness, and even in the oceans. These developments challenge inherited conceptions of the urban as a bounded settlement type.
This exhibit proposes a radical rethinking of our understanding of the contemporary urban world. The interdependencies between urban areas and the metabolism of planetary life lie at the heart of contemporary urbanization. This project explores such interdependencies— between agglomerations and hinterlands, political-economic and biogeophysical processes, and local, national and global scales. It aims to stimulate reflections on “living together,” not simply within a world of cities, but under conditions of planetary urbanization.
One stream of the exhibition, presented by the Urban Theory Lab, explores how different conceptions of the urban yield divergent visualizations, and ultimately disparate visions, of an urbanizing world. It juxtaposes city-centric representations to those that connect the world’s urban regions to the broader operational landscapes supporting the metabolism of urbanization.
A second stream, presented by the ETH Zürich, grasps urbanization in an extended framework, adopting a decentred perspective on transformation across the entire territory, transcending the rural-urban and north-south divides. The patterns and pathways of extended urbanization are portrayed in six world regions, foregrounding the contemporary urban struggle: Eastern Amazonia (Brazil), Arcadia (Greece), Pearl River Delta (China), the West African Corridor (Benin), the North Sea, and the Midwest Corn Belt (USA).
These critical investigations have resulted from collaborations between urban theorists, social scientists and architects. They highlight the urgency of formulating new theoretical and cartographic perspectives of the urban beyond-the-city, encompassing all spatial scales, and both built and unbuilt environments.
New Agendas Under Planetary Urbanization
A new initiative for critical urban research and action stimulated by the perspective of planetary urbanization, has just been launched in a website showcasing a digital cast of the exhibition. Hosted by the ETH Zürich Department of Architecture, the site enables the communication and documentation of projects and initiatives, bringing together long-standing collaborations, work-in-progress, and emerging positions. It aims to inform and support transdisciplinary research and pedagogies in urban studies and design in response to the political, social and environmental urgencies of planetary urbanization.
Urban Theory Lab: Grga Bašić, Neil Brenner, Mariano Gomez-Luque, Daniel Ibañez, Nikos Katsikis, and Adam Vosburgh, with Clay Lin and Wenjia Zhang
ETH Zürich D-ARCH and Future Cities Laboratory: Christian Schmid and Milica Topalović, Philippe Rekacewicz (cartography), Rodrigo Castriota, Nancy Couling, Alice Hertzog, Nikos Katsikis, Metaxia Markaki and Kit Ping Wong
New Agendas website
Christian Schmid, Milica Topalović, Nancy Couling
[Views of Worlds of Planetary Urbanization, Venice Architecture Biennale, 2021. Photos: Bas Princen, 2021]
[Post reblogged from E-Flux]