Thursday, January 27, 2011

At the Skyscraper Museum near Battery Park there are proposals for the green integration of skyscrapers into the urban fabric of New York as high rise production platforms. Since the flight of global capital to markets elsewhere, the idea of various forms of productivity utilising existing structures has remerged. The exhibition charts the evolution of this form of industrial processing from the early vertical cotton mills of the eighteen hundreds through to the likes of the FIAT factory in Turin with it's rooftop test track and utopian designs such as the cotton processing geodesic dome developed by Buckminster Fuller and his students. This is seen as a way of reinvigorating the vacant vertical spaces of New York, providing employment and income.

As a further note, check out for some very interesting ideas about how the future city might be 'designed'. It features ingenious and creative solutions as to how large concentrations of people could live in a more symbiotic relationship with the natural environment.

The only thing I would question is: What are these populations co-existing to serve through the functioning of the city? Is this re-design simply a mutation of the technology that is already engaged in the constant reproduction of the machine which entraps the human organism in the cycle of consumption? Will it be for the perpetuation of the hegemonic global capital system? Or is it possible to re-imagine these solutions as part of the progressive evolution of the human project of enlightenment? Can happiness be achieved through these means?

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