What will our settlements look like in an era where "growth" may no longer be the norm? The industrialized era led our cities towards patterns of perpetual growth, upwards and outwards, but in our post-industrial state, is bigger always better?
Global populations are forecast to plateau in the not-so-distant future and our once cheap fuels are becoming more expensive. Reimagining the future of our settlements demands radical changes across society that will shape how we move, work, and play. Existing narratives of environmental design fail to tackle the complex, interconnected social, economic and environmental realities of the present, let alone the future. As a species we are collectively striving to increase our power and prosperity, while reducing ecological risk; this should be the starting point for new narratives.
Instigated by students of the Master in Environmental Building Design (MEBD) program at PennDesign, this Chautauqua will speculate on the future of our settlements, after growth. On April 11th 2014 a wide spectrum of ideas, theories and practices, will be debated. A range of invited speakers, from the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and historic preservation, will explore what shape environmental settlement could take in a post-growth world, what can be achieved to progress positively to this condition, and what challenges lie in wait.