Since 2012, in the AVALANCHE research group,
architectural and urban design offices TVK and Anyoji - Beltrando, step aside from the ordinary
urban study in order to investigate the changes of the world urban phenomena, through
a transdisciplinary and dynamic approach that owes much to the journalistic
methods of interview and does not ambition to constitute a monolithic
scientific corpus of knowledge.
Since the early 21st century, the progressive
worldwide urbanization process has never ceased. Today, the extension and the
impact of this phenomenon are clear to all: our world is currently inhabited by
a predominantly urban population. If one-third of world population lived in cities in 1950's, by 2030 urban areas
will host the 60% of all mankind. Urban growth is both the condition and the
consequence of a path which begins at the turn of the XIX century, with the
growing interdependence of development and demographic explosion. This dynamic
rapidly reached a massive scale with world population increasing from 2 billion
units in 1930 to 7 billion in 2011. Following the dynamic of this transition we
should reach an overall population of 10 billion people by 2100.
From now on, cities
will be the predominant form of settlement, and the urban concentration seems
to become the prevailing device to organize a massively populated world. A new
global framework is already emerging, in which new polarizing and networking
relations grow autonomous from spatial and distance limitations. In the urban
age of human race cities will play a key role in defining global evolutions.
Environmental shock - Chilean strategies
Chile, a country in which extreme geographic conditions convoke urban modernity and its defining socio-economical patterns to a major transformation, giving interesting insights on emerging innovative urban design strategies. Our exploration of the Chilean context brought us to interview a series of witnesses of the environment related urban transition. We collected testimonies and experiences directly linked to a series of key “Chilean episodes” showing possible conflicts between extreme, archetypical urban conditions and environmental shocks. We oriented these testimonies towards emergent planning issues. Sometimes divergent or controversial, they all question the way Chile's urban future can be conceived.
“Fture will be about moving backwords, to simple things and not towards complicatedness. We’ll need to move towards things that are irreducible, that can’t get simpler…”
Interview March 2014
“We’ve experimented a totally new process for decision taking in spatial issues; a process in which everybody could find it’s own interest.”
Interview March 2014
“Getting to know how local communities work and function can make us understand the major role the may play in the near future.”
Interview March 2014
Three urban archetypes, three extreme geographic conditions facing extreme environmental challenges.
Chaitén, 42° 55′ 00″ South 72° 42′ 00″ West, Los Lagos Region a fishermen’s village suffering a major lack of connectivity next to a major national volcano.
Constitución, 35° 20′ 00″ South 72° 25′ 00″ West, Maule Region a forestry specialized urban settlement set on a Tsunami sensible coastline.
Calama, 22° 28′ 00″ South 68° 56′ 00″ West, Antofagasta Region one of the largest copper-extraction cities of Chile, in the most dusty and arid desert of the world.
Stories on collapse and urban narratives
By the yardstick of modernity and as frenetic rhythms of construction are imposing urbanisation as the predominant form of human settlement, popular culture is continuing more than ever to predict the scourges and collapse of urban formulae. Films, literature and TV series abound with narratives exploring or anticipating the risks, threats and catastrophes inherent in the contemporary city, now largely linked to environmental determinisms.
The Habiter le Grand Paris and Systèmes Métropolitains du Grand
Paris studies conducted by the AIGP (Atelier International du Grand
Paris) clarify the vision behind the current phase of metropolis’s development
and define new tools for directing this transition.
paradoxical gulf between ambitious plans and actual capacities (the aim of
SDRIF 2013 is to build 70,000 homes each year whereas only 30,000 are currently
being built) and the harmful autonomisation of the aims of various sector-based
policies, illustrate the increasing distance between the ineffectiveness of
urban planning implemented by local authorities and the fluid, uncontrolled
transformations taking place on the ground.
metropolis’ specificity seems to lie more in intermediary conditions than in
the multiple centres that urban planners would like to spread around the
agglomeration as an all-purpose solution. Living in metropolitan systems in
fact means combining scales and transport modes, promoting new types of
community life and new morphological systems.
The task is
to understand with which tools one can bring official policies into sync with
these discreet transitions and how they can turn the metropolitan growth
process into a contextual transformation. More than by a new plan, now
completed for 2040, the ongoing development of the metropolis, with all its
vagaries, uncertainties and latent ambitions, needs to be imagined as an open,
retroactive scenario involving multiple actors that will enable us to
collectively envisage the next episodes in the Greater Paris story.
out for the City of Paris and the Ile-de-France Region, the prospective study
of the integration of the boulevard
périphérique – Paris's ring road – has enabled an overview of the question
and contributed to a shift in the frame of reference: the outer ring is no
longer seen as a demarcation line, but rather as a key element in the panorama
of urban situations that characterise the centre of the metropolis. The ring
road is now 40 years old and still a relatively unknown quantity. Sixteen
territories make up "Périphérique City" in as many intermunicipal
sequences, each of which has an identity marked not only by obvious malfunctions,
but also by real possibilities: the various nuisances and hazards should not be
allowed to obscure the range of resources. Metropolitan thoroughfares like this
one are vectors for urban continuity and represent a variety of present and
potential flows and interconnections.
method adopted for the study was both thematic and territorial. In the first
phase, four major themes were addressed: the different images attaching to the
ring road; mobility and transport; the relationship between the périph' and the metropolitan area; and
planning programmes, density and the environment. At the same time earlier
studies and projects were inventoried and put into perspective, and a
"local quality of life" checklist was drawn up with a view to
clarifying perceptions of the ring road and its environs. In the second phase
six sites were chosen as targets for transformation strategies. These urban
scenarios are part of an exploratory approach, with suggestions for innovative
solutions opening up new avenues for change and broadening the scope of
discussion with the consultation partners.
La ville du périphérique (the ring road city) – Tomato Architectes (Flore
Baudelot, Yannick Beltrando, Toma Damisch, Marie Degos, Martin Etienne, Nicolas
Fonty, Rainer Härtlein, Joachim Lepastier, Carine Merlino, Julie Michaud,
Alexandre Thériot, Pierre Alain Trévelo, Antoine Viger-Kohler).
the metropolitan Paris of 1900 and that of today, the coming of the boulevard périphérique – the ring road –
and freeways not so long after the demolition of the last of the ramparts, represents
the metropolitan area's most significant transformation. Initially a foreign
body within the city, the ring road now stands as the most eloquent expression
of Paris's deep structure: by endowing the perimeter with a material existence,
the ring road reaffirmed the circle as the eternal definition of Paris. It
follows the administrative boundary between a city-centre and its suburbs, but
paradoxically the territorial perception it generates seems to cancel out this
situation: experienced from a car the périph'
appears not as an agent of separation, but rather as an entity given substance
and coherence by the way it is apprehended.
On each side the cityscape seems oriented
towards the ring road, which thus emerges as virtually the sole binding force
for a part of the metropolis visibly evolving in its own specific way. The
upshot is a distinctive interstitial "Périphérique City" which is
neither Paris nor its suburbs. It is not the outcome of any project, yet it has
sprung up around an infrastructure that was part of an overall project on the
Paris boundary. It functions as an overlaying of sometimes contradictory
rationales and strategies, and the relationships it generates are often
conflictual: its juxtaposition of the local scale (permanency) and the global
scale (movement and relocation) can trigger painful frictions for the city and
its residents. Périphérique City does not speak with a single voice.