visions vs. vectors

Le Corbusier's Plan Voisin, Ville Contemporaine

Le Corbusier's 1925 vision for the future of Paris

"But their prophesies will be no more perfect than the previous ones, continuing to tell us more about their own time than about 2030, because cities rarely arise from vision."

-Denise Scott Brown

Denise Brown discusses urban visions for the future against the actual dynamic of cities in "Building a Future Without a Blueprint" an op-ed piece for the WaPo. (Registration is required -but you could try accessing via BugMeNot.)

Brown's piece is brief but she does point out that societal forces -technology, demographics - drive consumer choices that then drive the dynamics (vectors, if you will) that shape cities.
To think realistically about housing and communities in 2030, we must see them as dependent variables that will owe their structure not to architects' dreams, but to forces at work within the society, technology and the natural world at the time they are built.

I don't quite agree with Brown's read on the future of (American) cities, re: "Cities may see modest increases in upper-middle-class returnees, but the majority of working Americans and many of the elderly will choose single-family detached suburbia." (A view she doesn't take time to substantiate.) And apparently she doesn't either as in an paragraph earlier, she says, "I'd also like to see housing types that would suit the evolving needs of Americans. One model to look at might be the lilong of Shanghai."

What about Metro Manila? What urban dynamics are shaping our urban forms? Are there housing typologies that would improve our city? How do we develop -deploy these typologies?

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