by Daniela Ghertovici
The fluidity, mobility and dynamism of 21st century network society is transforming the way we design cities. The paradigm shift in architecture and urban design is marked by an intense focus on systems of communication, complexity, adaptation, correlation, intensification, co-evolution, legibility, responsiveness, order, and freedom. This shift towards evolutionary systems thinking takes into account the role of agents in social change, insofar as innovation is driven by individual choices. Urban design innovation is accelerated by the convergence of natural and artificial life and intelligence (Ai, AR, VR, IoT, robotics), the advancements in telecommunications and mass media, the explosion of real-time decision systems via big data and artificial intelligence, the emergence of distributed computational intelligences such as blockchain, and the movement towards knowledge economies anchored in research and development. In this context, the world is a laboratory, and entrepreneurship in an open market is the best avenue for creating wealth and improving quality of life for the greatest number of people.
As Patrik Schumacher remarked in his speech at UFM, “one way to think about societal progress [is] becoming more free and empowered in the world. We are in this period where I believe that a massive expansion of individual liberties could actually deliver an enormous expansion of material freedoms. But this depends on new technological conditions which make possible the shift from Fordism to PostFordism, which is the microelectronic revolution: the computational empowerment and telecommunication empowerment that allow for totally new degrees of creativity, and an enormous capacity for absorbing innovation.”
The topics of Free Private Cities Architecture Symposium emerged from the agenda of Liberland Design Competition 2020. The design competition stems from the conviction that times of crisis accelerate the emergence of disruptive innovations and novel architectural agendas. Titus Gebel’s theory of Free Private Cities is a radical disruptive innovation in cosmopolitan sociality, and Liberland is the first fully autonomous jurisdiction in the world poised to bring it to its full fruition. Free market urban order, which is fluid, distributed, emergent, and ever evolving, is at the core of the architectural and urban design ambitions of Liberland.
Liberland is an incubator and role-model for a society based on the principles of freedom and anarchocapitalism, powered by blockchain. It is founded on the idea that the societal movement towards individual and collective freedom, prosperity and peace will emerge through the distributed intelligence of autonomous innovators and agents of change. Liberland’s ambition to build the most advanced and sustainable 21st century cosmopolitan micronation offers an ideal testing ground for innovative urban design strategies. Its new possibilities for liberty and unleashed free market entrepreneurship powered by blockchain can stimulate a radical transformation of the built environment.
While the vision for Liberland and Free Private Cities offers unprecedented opportunities for radical design innovation, most western urban developments remain mired in a stranglehold of bureaucratic overregulation via stringent planning guidelines, futile zoning restrictions, and outdated building codes. Combined with economic stagnation resulting from manipulated markets, innovation in the built environment is evolving at snail’s pace. An overhaul of planning and zoning restrictions, coupled with an unencumbered free market, would accelerate innovation exponentially through the process of entrepreneurial market-driven discovery and testing of novel design and development strategies.
From these initial premises sprung the broader scope of Free Private Cities Architecture Symposium, which aims to kickstart discursive debate on the transformation of architectural and urban design relative to society’s progression towards civil and entrepreneurial freedom. The symposium will explore a wide gamut of theoretical and speculative trajectories about the design of future cities for a highly agile and technologically networked society of the 21st century.
The symposium will open with keynote speeches by Patrik Schumacher, Titus Gebel and Shajay Bhooshan, followed by two sessions that will each include short presentations and group debates. The symposium will end with a round-table debate that includes all the speakers from both sessions, followed by Q&A. There will be a half hour intermission with brief presentations on private cities around the world, and the inauguration of the digital platform Parametricism.com. The session participants and specific topics are a follows:
SESSION 1: FREEDOM AND URBAN DESIGN Participants: Patrik Schumacher, Titus Gebel, Shajay Bhooshan, Scott Beyer, Vera Kichanova. Discussion will focus on freedom, private cities, charter cities, market urbanism, liquid democracy, economics, markets, distributed intelligence, blockchain powered governance and services, urban and architectural design for free private cities, the migration of architecture to cyberspace, and more.
SESSION 2: CITIES AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION Participants: Lev Manovich, Philippe Morel, Neil Leach, Sanford Kwinter. Discussion will focus on big data, cultural analytics, planetary scale computation, terraforming, complex epigenetic systems, soft systems, artificial life and intelligence, biology as information theory, virtual reality, augmented reality, internet of things, blockchain, robotics, and more.
The symposium was Co-Curated by Daniela Ghertovici (Founder of ArchAgenda LLC and Curator of Liberland Design Competitions) and Bruno Juricic (a Juror of Liberland Design Competitions and Founder of Atelier Bruno Juricic).
Free Private Cities Architecture Symposium is a free online event on July 18, 2020. Register at https://freeprivatecitiesarchitecture.splashthat.com
Registration for Liberland Design Competition 2020 is open through August 16, 2020. A 30% discount for professional and student registration will be in effect July 18 – July 25. Https://designliberland2020.splashthat.com.