Vishaan Chakrabarti: How we can design timeless cities for our collective future
Vishaan Chakrabarti's book, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America," makes the case that a more urban USA would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous and socially mobile nation. Full bio
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in cities around the world:
of Paris and Shanghai;
of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro;
six continents in the 20th century.
have any of the charming characteristics
on six continents in the 20th century.
any of the lyrical qualities
that we cherish the most?
I'm just being nostalgic --
sameness besetting our planet?
most people around the world
could well determine
who live in transit-rich areas,
is if you love nature,
going to attract people,
with distinctive appeal
an aesthetic issue, mind you.
of international consequence.
are moving into a city somewhere,
about that, ask yourself:
in the same bland cities
how we got here in the first place.
and concrete and asphalt and drywall,
similar ways across the planet.
to design a new street,
and vehicles over there,
in the 20th century
you know, those big ladder trucks
from burning buildings?
of pavement, of asphalt,
a landscape of minimal slopes
there has to be an elevator or a ramp.
I am all for pedestrian safety,
at the end of their lives,
that all of these well-intentioned rules,
in which we used to build cities.
of the 19th century,
all over the world,
10 or 12 apartments in them.
and a staircase that wrapped them
that were cost-effective,
on that stairwell.
a major new apartment building somewhere,
lots and lots of elevators
long, anonymous, dreary corridors.
when they're confronted with the cost
over more apartments,
apartment building being built
are more expensive to build,
an affordability crisis
including places like Vancouver.
for all this sameness,
all the time from their clients:
have conspired together
that I think is deeply problematic.
and culturally varied again?
with food, for instance.
craft beer has taken on corporate beer.
still eat Wonder Bread?
you don't want processed food
mass-produced, bleached places
and work every day?
of the problem in the 20th century.
what happened is,
is exciting because it's a driverless car.
on the roads, frankly.
the autonomous vehicle is the promise --
these small, urban vehicles
with pedestrians and bicycles.
to design humane streets again,
walkways on Fire Island.
with the cobblestone of the 21st century,
kinetic energy, melts snow,
and all the asphalt that comes with them
rescue people from burning buildings?
you'd be amazed to know
is already being used today
to really imagine with me.
the hovercraft wheelchair.
not only allow equal access,
the Italian hill town of the 21st century.
responsive to human need,
the way we could build our cities.
or flying wheelchairs yet,
with today's technology?"
comes from a very different city,
a 21st-century open-air village
using today's technology,
with their frigid winters.
about evoking the local:
the spectacular light,
the nomadic traditions
of a catalogue of buildings,
that are fairly affordable,
materials and technology
new forms of housing,
like a theater or a museum --
the work of our colleagues,
working in Mexico City;
Alejandro Aravena, working in Chile;
Balkrishna Doshi, working in India.
new forms of affordable housing,
cities of difference,
that respond to local communities,
we're researching a new model
with gentrification pressures,
that late-19th-century model
in response to local needs
to me, are nostalgia-free.
the diverse residents
all income groups,
that we could disincentivize sprawl
cultural needs of the human spirit.
cities of difference
to which so many of us aspire.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERVishaan Chakrabarti - Architect, author
Vishaan Chakrabarti's book, "A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America," makes the case that a more urban USA would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous and socially mobile nation.
Why you should listen
As the designer for Brooklyn's Domino Sugar Refinery, the first mixed-use skyscrapers in Philadelphia's Schuylkill Yards project, a nonprofit artist space in Harlem, attainable housing in Newark and a contemporary urban bazaar in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Vishaan Chakrabarti is engaged in some of the most distinctive projects redefining global urban life in the 21st century. He has also advocated for more equitable and ecological cities in New York Times op-eds such as "Penn Station Reborn" and "America's Urban Future." In his 2013 book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America, he illustrates through hard data and soft cartoons why Americans would be more prosperous, sustainable, joyful and socially mobile in a more urban nation.
Chakrabarti is the founder of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), a New York-based architecture studio dedicated to the advancement of metropolitan life. He is also a Professor of Practice at Columbia University, where he teaches architectural design and urban theory. Prior to founding PAU, he served as the director of planning for Manhattan under Mayor Michael Bloomberg after the tragic events of 9/11, during which he helped to plan the High Line, the reconstruction of the World Trade Center and the expansion of Columbia University. Born in Calcutta, Chakrabarti holds degrees from Cornell, MIT and Berkeley.
Vishaan Chakrabarti | Speaker | TED.com