As identity-based politics continues to grow in influence, we may do well to examine the effect it has on the way we think about and design our cities. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Rem Koolhaas discusses these changes – and how they mark an evolution from the generic city concept he introduced in S,M,L, XL.
“… I said postmodernism would be the style of the generic city. We can see that this sensibility anticipated and preceded today’s fuller reassertion of identity but still in the global context. …It is ironic that just as people want to see a built environment that reflects who they are, what we are seeing in much of the world is that urban planning is scarcely possible because market economies are not generating the necessary funds for it.”
The interview continues on to discuss the city as it may develop under the direction of smart technology, including self-driving cars and hyperloop systems.
“If we simply let cyberspace run its course to a future determined by Silicon Valley, those libertarian-minded engineers will paradoxically lead us to cities shackled by algorithmic conformity. It would be a neural network, yes, but one that operates in lock step.”