NEW YORK, NY.-
Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities, a 14-month initiative to examine new architectural possibilities that address the rapid and uneven growth of six global metropolisesHong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York, and Rio de Janeiroculminates in an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art
from November 22, 2014, through May 10, 2015. In recent years, tactical modes of urbanism have arisen in the form of everyday, bottom-up approaches to local problems as a counterpart to a classic notion of top-down planning. Uneven Growth asks how current practices of architecture and urban design can learn from such developments by presenting design scenarios based on this type of urbanism, while also mapping emergent modes of tactical urbanism around the globe. The exhibition features design visions comprised of drawings, renderings, animations, and videos produced by six interdisciplinary teams of local practitioners and international architecture and urbanism experts, each focusing on a specific city. Uneven Growth is organized by Pedro Gadanho, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, in collaboration with the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK), Vienna.
Tactical urbanism is a highly pragmatic movement that applies to a spectrum of designers, from those who perform guerilla interventions of short-term change to those who seek to prod, provoke, or stimulate the political process toward incremental realization of fragments of what might be larger networks. To further explore these ideas, the Museum has published a book and created a user-generated Tumblr blog that collects examples of emerging modes of tactical urbanism happening in the six cities.
Mr. Gadanho states: The exhibition features design scenarios for future developments that simultaneously raise awareness of the prevailing inequalities in specific urban areas and confront the changing roles of architects vis-à-vis ever-increasing urbanization. Each team in the exhibition was asked to consider how emergent forms of tactical urbanism can respond to alterations in the nature of public space, housing, mobility, spatial justice, environmental conditions, and other major issues in near-future urban contexts.
For the workshop phase of Uneven Growth, six interdisciplinary teams of international architecture and urbanism practitioners and experts studied megacities in diverse world regions. The choice of these urban conglomerations was determined by the way in which they display different degrees, stages, and conditions of urban inequality. Because of the scope of problems presented by each of these specific urban conditions, each team included participants who have an intimate knowledge of local circumstances and are embedded in their object of study. Experts in urban studies at an international level where brought in to provide a collaborative, transgeographical design chemistry that could respond adequately to the complexities of the themes. Following an initial workshop at MoMA PS1 and subsequent workshops at The Value Factory in Shenzhen, China, and at MAK in Vienna, the collaborating teams produced responses to the theme and developed new projects under the curatorial and critical guidance of MoMAs Department of Architecture and Design and an advisory board that includes Saskia Sassen, David Harvey, Ricky Burdett, Neil Brenner, Nader Tehrani, Michael Sorkin, Marc Angélil, and Teddy Cruz.
Uneven Growth confronts the global threats of accelerated income discrepancy and a polarization of wealth and poverty that are manifesting in various ways due to rapid urbanization. The exhibition is a laboratory experiment devoted not only to bettering life in the expanding city, but also to defining an effective, activist role for architects in the wake of two generations of disinvestment in public projects from housing to urban infrastructure. The design scenarios presented in Uneven Growth counteract the dystopian outcomes that can be expected of the progression of current urban trends, both in terms of spatial segregation and of socioeconomic inequality. Even if offering only acupunctural outlooks on how to change for the better, they present visions that are intended to advance public discussion and suggest models to be applied to diverse urban contexts.
Uneven Growth is the third in a series of exhibitions at MoMA called Issues in Contemporary Architecture, which focuses on timely topics in contemporary architecture, with an emphasis on the urban dimension, in order to increase public dialogue about critical issues in architecture. The series was launched in 2009 with Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront, a major initiative that brought together teams of architects, engineers, and landscape designers to instigate a debate on New York Citys relationship to sea level rise and to provide ideas and images that might help activate debate for the millions of people worldwide living in floodable zones. In 2011, Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream used the same approach to address the challenges of the urban fringe of five American cities that were hard hit by the subprime mortgage crisis and the tsunami of foreclosures that came in its wake.