March 6, 2018
by Canadian Architect
Curated by the renowned architect and urban planner Joan Busquets, the Barcelona, the Metropolis of Cities exhibit has been on display all over the world, stunning audiences with its insightful, innovative approach to modern city planning and design. Starting in Barcelona, the exhibit made its way from Harvard GSD to the University of Illinois, and will now rest at Ryerson University.
The School of Urban and Regional Planning is promoting this wide-ranging planning exhibit that showcases how contemporary issues of the 21st century give shape to new urban forms. Concerns for the environment, energy, sustainable mobility, and social equity all require new urban strategies for the function and transformation of modern cities.
This exhibit tackles a wide range of questions relating to the state of our world’s cities. What is the future of the traditional city and the modern districts constructed to date? What new urban forms are accommodating emergent innovative economies? What is the potential influence of the hypermobility increasingly promoted by global centres? What forms of economic and urban development are outside the extensive growth (of infrastructure and residence) that was the model in the 20th century?
Barcelona, the Metropolis of Cities forces audiences to confront the necessity of urban planning initiatives that create and repurpose infrastructures in modern cities; city infrastructures need to consider social urbanism, sustainable transit, and the repurposing of deindustrialized spaces. In doing so, contemporary cities have the means to seize hold of modern planning possibilities, directing the urban flow of life through urban nodes while growing innovative centres, connections, and spaces. Successful city planning in the 21st century is about creating a meeting of modes that facilitate new centres within cities while encouraging a network of citizen participation and access. In order to achieve global relevance, modern cities must challenge current perceptions of what cities can be and look towards sustainable future developments.
Now with arching international contexts, the exhibit builds on a case study undertaken in the 1980s that presented a series of critical studies of attempted urban transformations. The 1980s study is newly contrasted with issues emerging in the global disciplinary debate about urbanism today. The contrast between a specific case study and the urban reality in which these materials are now exhibited offers an open field of reflection about the disciplines involved in designing and managing cities, including various scales, environmental territories, and social issues. Barcelona, the Metropolis of Cities represents an open, multidisciplinary discussion in which the exhibition’s capacity for intervention extends to new spaces.
The exhibit provides cogent examples of urban projects and strategies that engage contemporary planning challenges from a wide host of cities. For cities poised on the edge of modern development, this unmissable exhibit forces audiences to ask themselves, what is the future of cities?
Joan Busquets will be delivering a guest lecture preceding the opening of the installation. Following his lecture, Busquets will introduce the exhibit and the gallery will be declared open. More information is available via Ryerson DAS, linked here.