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The urban environment is in a constant state of change, a constant state of ‘becoming’. Each period in history has had its specific driving forces for change and corresponding solutions for directing change towards the city imagined and desired at that time. But our current era differs dramatically from earlier epochs as it faces seemingly overwhelming forces like the depletion of fossil fuels and climate change with their unforeseen impacts on the urban. Through the framework of the scenario-thinking and research carried out within the Resources programme at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, this book embarks on a journey of understanding contemporary urban transformations in three cities – Shanghai, Los Angeles and Pune – each representing not only three major world economies, but three specific urban contexts. Looking beyond the crunch of climate change and depleting fossil fuels, the book brings together a multidisciplinary group of major thinkers and practitioners alongside Resources participants to offer scenarios and visions for a complex yet hopeful picture of an urban future in common.
Henrietta Palmer ( Ed.) is Professor of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. She is the founder of the Resources programme which she has been running as an inter- disciplinary research space since 2005, with a particular focus on the cities of the global south.
‘This book is a must read for all those engaged in managing the future of our cities in ways which are resource efficient and which improve the lives of urban citizens. Based on three years of research and project work at the Royal Institute of Art, the book offers innovations for visioning and managing our urban futures in the context of the global challenges we face today – depleting resources, climate change and rapidly expanding urban populations. Its core thesis is that change and uncertainty are both conditions for ensuring sustainability in urban development. The book offers tools and methods with which to explore the dynamics of urban change through progressive and incremental transformations rather than wholesale redevelop-ment. The authors, in their different ways, give new meaning to the idea of development, a term which they argue has been appropriated and distorted by markets and the power elite. Its text is radical, unsentimental and optimistic, its methods grounded in the experience of everyday practice and the diversity and resourcefulness of informality. It is both scholarly and practical.’
Nabeel Hamdi, Architect and Professor Emeritus, Oxford Brookes University. Author of Small Change, The Placemaker’s Guide to Building Community and The Spacemaker’s Guide to Big Change.