Convergence of Intensity or How to Purposely Shrink a City

Hoback, Alan S.

Conference: Proceedings of the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture, RE-Building: 98th ACSA Annual Meeting, 2010/03


Since completing the AIA RFP grant in 2008, we have continued our value densification design research with the community and expanded our urban design initiatives to envision a more equitable and sustainable city. We have focused our continued applied design research both practically and theoretically, asking, “What form would the post industrial city take if shrinkage were purposeful?” What if shrinking cities such as Detroit or New Orleans abandoned the restrictive nostalgia of their expansive (and unsustainable) urban geographies and embraced the forces of intensity (or the intent to become intensive)? What if shrinkage came to be viewed as the ethical, valued, sustainable approach in contrast to the explosive, unchecked, ecosystem-shattering growth of the cities of the BRIC nations? What if communities proactively identified and designed for the “coming together” of population, energy, capacity, investment, blue, green and gray infrastructure and existing built form into a spatial convergence? The research team defines this purposeful phenomenon of “resizing” the city based upon broadly defined density metrics as intensive convergence or a convergence of intensity [Ci].

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