Advisor: Joel Kerner

The next generation of architects must tackle the expanding list of contingencies that bear upon the contemporary metropolis. Designers must become increasingly nimble and ready to respond to interwoven systems that exist in constant states of flux. With an increasing number of disruptive technologies and precarious social, economic, and political tensions on the horizon, how will our cities adapt? How will autonomous vehicles and the gig-economy change the physicality of our cities? What lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic will leave a lasting impact on the spaces of our cities and our new constructions? In an increasingly globalized world, what lessons about city-making cross international borders? Could urban tactics in Mumbai also work in New York City or Tokyo? How can we preserve character, tradition, and community as the advancing blanket of bland, homogenous urbanization peeks over the horizon? As the effects of climate change render themselves increasingly palpable, as resources diminish, as urban centers flux with demographic changes, as transportation shifts from individual to collective, as technology challenges anachronistic modes of spatial and social gathering—how will architects readjust their approaches? In the midst of global urbanization, one thing seems to be clear: our cities must become more malleable, adaptable, and resilient.

In a marked departure from the top-down, fixed-state modernist urban planning of the twentieth century, twenty-first-century urbanists are approaching the city with more malleable, nuanced, and adaptable solutions. As architecture, infrastructure, and the public realm become increasingly entangled and inseparable, these projects propose new forms of city-making that challenge the modernist legacy through increasingly nimble and responsive interwoven systems that sustain constant states of flux. How can we preserve character, tradition, and community as bland, homogenous urbanization peeks over the horizon? How can buildings become programmatically flexible and resilient to increasingly precarious climatic conditions? How will architects adjust their approaches as the effects of climate change render themselves increasingly palpable, as resources diminish, as urban centers adapt to demographic changes, as transportation shifts from individual to collective, as vehicles become autonomous, and as technology challenges anachronistic modes of spatial and social gathering?