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2005 11 16
One-Quarter Million Slums
imageMike Davis, author of City of Quartz, teaches urban theory at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Sometimes criticized for his dark view of the future, Davis recently published an essay for the New Left Review titled "Planet of Slums."

For Torontonians worried about the shadow of high-rise towers sweeping across Nathan Phillips Square, Davis's observations about the one-billion people now living in urban slums around the world may be too much to absorb. Avoidance and denial aside, deteriorating urban conditions in other parts of the world reinforce the need for an educated, experienced, and effective cadre of planners and designers who can take on these macro-urban forces and ameliorate them.

This group would have to know as much about economics and business as they do about setbacks and Frank Gehry. Is there a school issuing degrees in something like, "Masters of Economic and Architectural Development for the Environmentally Designed Metapolis." I doubt it. The design education community seems to have abandoned big urban issues to economists and policy makers. After all, it's easier to create designer buildings with exotic, rain forrest stripped hardwoods than it is to take on the much more challenging and intractable issues of 21st Century Urbanism.

Image from http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=2059

[email this story] Posted by R Ouellette on 11/16 at 11:43 AM

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