What do future cities look like? Something out of post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, or something equally imaginative, but biologically sustainable and ecologically renewable? The Biological Urbanism exhibition on now until February 22 at the Onsite [at] OCAD University gallery blends architecture, landscape, urban design, biology, engineering and art to explore possible futures.
In planning the exhibition, the gallery’s curator Lisa Deanne Smith looked at the relationship of design to the topic of sustainability, and one organization kept coming up in her research. She got in touch with Terreform ONE [Open Network Ecology], a non profit architecture group for smart city design, ecological planning and public art based in New York City and began planning a design exhibition with the designers there.
“We feel privileged to be presenting this work in a gallery and to be merging design work with fine art,” said Nurhan Gokturk, Director of Innovation at Terreform ONE. “It’s important to bring these ideas into the public purview and widen the discussion.”
The ideas driving this exhibition are of the dramatic, overarching ilk — world population growth, megacities, climate change, renewable energy generation, healthy living. The intention of the research and works on display is to explore the consequences of radical changes to global cities, explore how the world is adapting to address these changes and imagine what could happen in the future.
In talking about the exhibition, Smith said the complexity of the ideas presented in the exhibition required a shift in her thinking, but when she talked to her 11-year-old daughter about it, her daughter immediately absorbed the concepts and became captivated by it. Whatever your views on globalization and the future, the 3-D works in the exhibition are designed to question, probe global concerns, posit solutions and provoke a reaction. Visit the exhibition and you’ll see:
-A large-scale “Bio City Map” that uses mathematical interpretations of the future together with petri dishes of bacteria and “bacteriography” (bacterial photography) to forecast the world population distribution in the next 100 years.
-A model of the 38,000 tons of waste New York City produces every day, with a vision for how cities can reuse and repurpose to radically shift the relationship of waste to supply.
-A large-scale model of Brooklyn in 2110, as a city of the future producing everything it needs to sustain itself within its physical borders.
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