RIBA Norman Foster Travelling Scholarship
University of Edinburgh-2015/
Western society is currently experiencing a social, political and economic inertia. Governments are ineffectual, economies are faltering, and there is growing inequality both within and between our cities. Is it time to investigate different ways of utilising the city, new methods of living and fresh economic models which could revitalise the stagnant western metropolis and its continued relevance to the world?
The metropolitan areas of the emerging economies of India and South East Asia exhibit unique characteristics which offer new paradigms for the modern city, new relationships between citizens and their urban environments, alternative economic models and hybrid architectural typologies which all contribute to rapid growth and prosperity across the continent. With 70% of the inhabitants of these cities working within informal unregulated economies, the phenomenon of the Para-City [two parallel cities operating as one] challenges our notions of urban living and provides a rich landscape for investigation and research.
How can the typologies, networks and spaces created within these parallel societies and economies help us to reimagine our current approaches to architecture, infrastructure and planning? Can the innovative hybrid networks of the informal city be utilised and integrated to develop a more dynamic metropolitan vision and aid in the creation of more attuned architectural propositions within the region?