SCI-Arc Future Initiatives, Postgraduate Program

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Public Forums

Future Initiatives’ Public Forums provides a means for increasing public interest in the outcomes of the Program’s inquiries into the nature of cities and urban development. Each semester the program sponsors a public forum aligned with the program’s academic interests in order to generate debate and dialogue around the future of cities and urban regions.

The City after the Economy/Fall 2008: This symposium explored the urban consequences of the fiscal downturn by asking a panel of presenters and respondents to consider what urban design opportunities it might open up. The status of urban growth and redevelopment was viewed in light of effects regulation of financial markets might have on real estate, development, urban culture, planning and architecture. An often singular conversation around issues of capital and its movement was expanded to a multivalent one embracing cultural production, aesthetics, ecology and social movements. The panel included presentations by David Bergman (The Credit Crisis and the City); Amale Andraos and Dan Wood, founders and principals of Work AC, New York, (49 Cities); and Rene Peralta, architect and founder of Generica, Tijuana, and associate professor at Woodbury University, (Mimetic Acts of Urbanism). Guests invited to offer response to those presentations were Joshua Decter, director of Public Art Studies Program at USC Roski School of Fine Arts; Eric Owen Moss, director of SCI-Arc and principal at Eric Owen Moss Architects; Kevin L. Ratner, president of Forest City Residential West, Inc., and Stephanie Smith, founder of Ecoshack. Moderating the exchange was Peter Zellner, SCIFI coordinator.

Neville Mars: From Book to Buildings/2009: China-based Future Initiatives Network member Neville Mars addressed the potential and problems of the practice of architecture in China. Mars, director of the Dynamic City Foundation in Beijing, presented a range of projects, from commercial architecture and urban design to documentaries, art installations, urban research and creative writing. Throughout, his presentation at SCI-Arc, Mars shared his passion for China’s evolving metropolitan centers. The Dynamic City Foundation specialized in rapidly changing environments in an effort to combat what he has called “the present dream and the future nightmare” of people-packed mega-cities in China.

Midtown Detroit / April 2009: At the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, SCIFI students led by faculty member Andrew Zago presented new urban visions for the city’s Midtown. Following introductory remarks by SCIFI Program Coordinator Peter Zellner and Zago (the architect who designed the MOCAD building), three student teams shared their proposals for the development of a four block stretch of Woodward Avenue. A public discussion followed the presentations and the students’ work was exhibited at MOCAD.

From Mumbai to LA / September 2009: In a roundtable discussion, Indian urbanist Prathima Manohar detailed the infrastructure and transit issues Mumbai is experiencing in the face of dramatic population growth and escalating poverty. Manohar is founder of The Urban Vision, a Mumbai-based foundation furthering thinking on sustainable urban development. The discussion included a comparison of urban development in Mumbai and Los Angeles, focusing on the re-densification of sprawling cities, the challenges of implementing mass transit in established urban zones, and the effects of megacities on climate change. The discussion was presented in partnership with the Architect’s Newspaper.

Other new Urbanisms / November 2009: Organized by SCI-Arc’s Future Initiatives program, the Other New Urbanisms Symposium explores the possibilities and pitfalls of innovative and contemporary approaches to city making. As the second in a series of planned SCI-Arc Future Initiatives (SCIFI) symposia, this event aims to broaden the discussion of the “new” in urbanism, with the hope of discussing a range of contemporary approaches to urban design that integrate new attitudes towards cultural production, aesthetics, and ecology.

SCI-Arc's SCIFI is an intensive research-based, post-professional degree program and think tank dedicated to generating pertinent examinations of contemporary civic design, city formulation, and urban regulation.



Program Calendar

September 2018
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