Within the series of lectures “Urbanists Talk”, part of the program of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2012; on May 3 came to visit the NAi Jeffrey Inaba, founding director of the Columbia Laboratory for Architectural Broadcasting (C-Lab) in which is also editor of Volume magazine, and founder of the architecture firm INABA (Los Angeles).
His speech was preceded by a presentation in the media that highlighted the term city 2.0, and how it is formed by the convergence of technology, automobiles, higher education and political strategies.
This could have created a little confusion at the end of the lecture amongst the ones looking for a presentation showing examples of hyper-technological cities or projects based on the “city of the future.”
Personally I think the terms city 2.0 and smartcities (and I believe Inaba would agree) are misleading when working and analyzing our current cities, in addition of being so heavily used that its meaning has been diluted and is very difficult to actually define what involve ( is a subject I will treat in depth in subsequent entries).
Instead, Jeffrey Inaba presented a number of methodologies for analysis and interpretation of the world, mainly based on questions about the architect’s relationship with their environment, the nature and the future of the profession, the use we should be given to the amount of information that today we can afford to collect, and if the fact of having that information itself create an intelligent city (which it doesn’t).
He described the paranoid-critical method which they use in Volume magazine to stretch the perception of the world through connections between things that apparently are not connected, and showed very interesting concepts over territory and borders, linking urban planning and politics.
The most confusing point, under my point of view, was the layout of the presentation. Wishing to show the variety of scales treated in the work displayed it came a time when it was difficult to follow the speech, something probably caused by the different origin of the projects showed.
Apart from this, the speech threw a number of issues that I find very interesting for the discussion of the future of Urbanism, such as the concepts “Countercity”, “City as business” or “Urban-User Interface”; pointing out the importance of the urban designer in the process of assimilating and using all the available information and making a great contribution to the Biennale discussion on Making City.
To see Jeffrey Inaba’s work visit www.inaba.us and http://c-lab.columbia.edu/