Realizing Fast-Forward Urbanism

Top-down and bottom-up planning are brushed aside in favor of the concept of a middle ground approach in the new book "Fast-Forward Urbanism: Rethinking Architecture's Engagement with the City". It could work, according to this review.
June 14, 2011, 10am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Fast-Forward Urbanism is based on the proposition that change today occurs as a series of jump-cuts, with effects appearing as if out of nowhere, without any sense of how we got there. The result is a fragmented urbanism that is only understood in retrospect, when historical narratives help piece together the disparate events. The editors propose eight principles of the fast-forward urbanism that call for a "rejiggering" of existing behaviors, encouraging an accumulation of interventions as a means of catalyzing change, and demanding a renewed connection to the local political economy.

The manifesto builds upon the infrastructural outlook of landscape urbanism but articulates a concern for the limited progress that the field has made in urban settings. At a time of unstable economic horizons, the grand gestures of a modernist tradition fail to address specific conditions, while "everyday urbanism" rejects the top-down flow of capital and all-too-readily relinquishes the role of design in shaping cities and stimulating their recovery. Fast-Forward Urbanism seeks to fill in the city's weak spots not with unique projects but with systemic transformations that are neither top-down nor bottom-up and instead negotiate a middle-ground through applied research and the direct interaction of architecture with commercial and political spheres."

Such a prospect could take years or decades to prove itself, but the reviewer finds much hope in the prospect.

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Published on Thursday, June 9, 2011 in The Architect's Newspaper
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