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180 Varick Street, Suite 1220
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Loophole Planning & Infrastructure Making in Mumbai

Elisabeth Weiman

At the Institute for the Humanities, University of Chicago, Vyjayanthi Rao presents her ethnographic work looking at the planning process and its implications for understanding relationships between land use planning and politics as it unfolds in contemporary Mumbai. She draws on years of fieldwork to examine citizens’ confrontation with new developments, resulting from a series of policy loopholes that changed the definition of development and the way social and material infrastructure are increasingly linked to practices of speculation.

The talk situates the relationship between planning, citizen-driven, iterative infrastructure making and new forms of political engagement in an age that demands a creative embrace of uncertainty.

For more details about the event, check out Institute for the Humanities' event page.

City Service: Making Homes Permanent, No Longer Provisional

Elisabeth Weiman

Terreform responds to the notion that the current refugee crisis is a temporary one, and in fact, looks to the length and permanence at which people have been displaced and unsettled. Through their new project City Service, Terreform and its partners jump into the tumultuous actions and critical discussions on the use of temporary, mid-term, and semipermanent placements in camps.

"Our goal is to provide ideas and expertise to help mobilize the human resources of refugee populations, to make productive use of the environments in which they find themselves, and to marshal contributions from both relevant governments and NGOs and from private enterprises that directly produce the resources necessary to build and sustain the physical city."

Read more on the project at City Service.


On Tanks & Berms: Our Response to the Open IDEO Challenge

Elisabeth Weiman

Working with Spatial Ethnography Lab, we made it to the final stage of the Open IDEO Challenge!

The brief: "How might urban slum communities become more resilient to the effects of climate change?"

Our response: a home-grown system of tanks and berms developed by coastal slum residents to address water contamination and flooding.

Check out the challenge-in-progress: Tanks & Berms: Estuary as Resilience Engine.

Meeting the Former President of Turkey

Elisabeth Weiman

During Abdullah Gül University's opening in Turkey, Michael Sorkin inspired the audience by speaking on the critical issues facing urban landscapes and the future of cities. There he met with the 11th President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, who also presented at the ceremony on the importance of interdisciplinary education. 

2015 Young Scholar of the Year

mariacecilia fagel

Terreform principal investigator, Damiano Cerreno, was awarded the Young Scholar Award by ESRI. Check out his research project, A Sense of Place, commissioned by the City of Turku, Finland. The project studied how Location Based Social Network data can be used in urban and transportation planning. The resulting maps visualized various scenarios including the effects of a proposed new tram line. Cerrone presented his project at UC San Diego (video).

Cerrone is also a founding member of the academic research collaboration, SPIN Unit. Their map was awarded 2nd prize in ESRI's 'Most Unique Map of the Year'. See it here



Seeking Partners: Waste Note, A Segment of the New York City (Steady) State Project

Elisabeth Weiman

Recognizing the importance of waste as a global issue, Waste Not, a forthcoming volume of the New York City (Steady) State project, investigates the creation of a system without waste. Beginning in New York, we are trying to imagine a world without waste.

Looking systematically at the city’s styles and outputs of waste, our study focuses on changing consumption habits that are based on disposability, on the creation of products and practices that induce a looping, “cradle to cradle” approach, and on the potential morphological changes in the city that will be the outcome and support for this vision.

We are looking up and down the waste chain, seeking to clear streets from piles of garbage bags, to eliminate the need for landfills and disposal, to end the toxic processes of extraction, manufacture and delivery and to radically reduce the pernicious “externalities” of the global net of negative production.

As part of this study we are “crowd-sourcing” solutions at every scale with applicability to New York. How, for example, might a city block function if one lane of every roadway were to be taken from the automotive realm and devoted to new forms of sustainability. What apparatus could be designed and added to support recycling and re-use, composting, assembly and distribution, education and broader forms of environmental management. How might such systems be scaled up to neighborhoods and down to buildings and apartments? How will the post-waste urban landscape look, feel, and perform? We welcome visions both modest and extensive for the encyclopaedia we are compiling.

Waste Not: Crowdsource: We invite contributions in the forms of texts, designs, and documentations that address issues at the intersection of cities, design, urbanization, and sustainability. 

New Project, Second Growth, Calls for Ideas & Contributors

Elisabeth Weiman

As the world’s cities are expanding exponentially and new growth is visible everywhere, Second Growth is a project to think about patterns of succession for these ubiquitous environments, whether found on the vast peripheries of the cities of China, in new developments in India, or in the mass housing projects that checker Europe and America.

We all know the pattern: the disengaged, uniform, towers, employment at a distance, a life without streets, no culture, minimal infrastructure, boredom, estrangement, the concrete denial of neighborliness. Therefore, we focus in particular on those that are the legacy of modernist writ, spaces of single use, designed for cars, often standing in alienating isolation, and informed by the powerful fantasy of individual buildings afloat in fields of green.
Second Growth is a speculation about strategies for transforming these places into sustainable, humane, equitable, and beautiful environments. The ambition of the project is not to investigate this too general condition but to propose–with aspirations both practical and polemical–forms and directions for its transformation.

Second Growth Crowdsource: We invite contributions in the forms of texts, designs, and documentations that address issues at the intersection of cities, design, urbanization, and sustainability.

Imagining a Sustainable New York

Elisabeth Weiman

In New York City, 66 year old Michael Sorkin – architect, urban planner, and critic – runs Terreform, a non-profit devoted to architecture that is both urban and green. Two years ago, Terreform began a project called New York City (Steady) State, which investigates the possibility of “urban self-reliance.” Its goal is to figure out what a sustainable New York might look like.

By imagining an ideal city, the thinking goes, you make a better one more likely. How would such a city function? And what would it be like to live on its leafy and fruitful streets?

Read the full article here.