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On Urban Architecture

Cities are the future. By 2050, 70 per cent of the world's population will live in an urban environment. Historically, architects from Leonardo Da Vinci and his Vitruvian man to Le Corbusier with his Modulor were interested in human-scale design. Northern Chinese architecture, with its hutongs (alleyways) and siheyuan (court yard houses) conceptualised scale within the context of a human universality, mindful human beings need community to exist.

The pace of globalisation and modern urbanism has meant this is lost.  96 per cent of Dubai's population are foreign born. Our dislocation from the environment means that people are withdrawing from communities. 'Bowling Alone', to use the words of Robert Putnam, the Harvard sociologist. Our urban isolation is  compounded by technology as millennials interact online rather than share common spaces. Pop economics into the mix, telling us crowded cities create a zero-sum game mindset due to competition and we have all the ingredients for a future urban dystopia.

How can architecture rejuvenate community? Through better design? Better architecture? Redesigning our cities? Or helping us rediscover/redefine what it means to be human? These are some of the questions we will consider in this salon. 

Robert Sadleir, Director of Bureau Haus Ltd. will join us as speaker. 

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Fra Carnevale [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier Event: September 28
The Philosophy of the Self
Later Event: January 13
On Nihilism