Investigating the polycentric configurations of the global city, diagnosing and projecting new kinds of urban experience that are stimulated by the interactions of local sites and trans-local networks
Globalization has had a profound impact on the shape and dynamics of cities. This impact can be felt at the historic urban centres and on agricultural peripheries alike. While recognizable city centres might remain, in many cases they are now supplemented with multiple centres, hubs and nodes. Typically, these centres are drawn together in a network of communication infrastructures (rail, road, air, internet) to form complex polycentric urban systems that extend far into once rural hinterlands. The scale, reach and networked quality of these urban configurations have generated both positive and negative urban experiences at the local, regional and global levels.
This module examines this emergent urban condition by focusing on those sites that are seen to concentrate spatial, economic, social and cultural experiences to positive effect. It is interested in the new kinds of intensity of urban experience that are stimulated by the interactions of local sites (topographically) and trans-local networks (topologically). It pays particular attention to the catalytic circumstances or, specific conditions of possibility that give rise to new, productive and sustainable forms of urban experience. In doing so, the module will focus on two significant urban conditions: at the neighbourhood scale it examines specific generative nodes in the urban fabric or, ‘urban breeding grounds’; and at the regional scale it studies the airport as the driver of a particular kind of urbanisation. The module grounds its research in specific sites in Amsterdam, Zurich, Singapore, and Shanghai. Combining projective (scenario based simulations) and analytical (documentation, inventories and evaluations) approaches the module will expand the methodological and knowledge bases for doing urban research in the context of global flows.