As people continue to flock to cities, new developments in urban design, architecture, and technology are transforming how we live, work, commute, eat, and learn in urban environments. The rapid rise of the Digital Age has all but reinvented our day-to-day urban lives, as breakthroughs in science and technology muddy the waters between the physical world and the cyber world. There’s no doubt the New York, London, and Buenos Aires of today would shock city-dwellers from a century ago, who traveled without checking directions on an iPhone, lived in apartments insulated with asbestos, and had never heard of recycling plants.
But 21st century cities face new obstacles every day, which require bold solutions that will upend urban life once more. Population increases, housing crunches, food and water shortages, the spread of disease, and the onset of war are all problems accosting our rapidly-growing cities. Meanwhile, climate change is already starting to impact metropolises across the globe as rising temperatures and weather phenomena cause financial, infrastructural, and societal devastation. In the not too distant future, we will all be living in cities confronted with extreme environmental, social, and political challenges. We might even build cities on other planets altogether, where we will have a clean slate to plan ethical, resource-efficient, and eco-conscious urban spaces.
The Extremophile Cities panel discussion with urban designer Nicholas de Monchaux, architect and former astrophysicist Ann Pendleton-Jullian, urban soundscape designer Jake Harper, and business strategist Suparno Banerjee will address the complex issues and collective solutions of urban life in severe environments, from cites that might be underwater in a few decades to those we might create on other planets.