‘Imagining Future Cities by Connecting with Past Visions’ with Flavia Marcello, Ian Woodcock and Jeni Paay



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This event is presented by Smart Cities Research Institute at the Swinburne University of Technology.

Architects and planners don’t just plan for the present—they imagine the future. In past times of crisis and upheaval, architects have thought beyond the realm of the possible, creating new visions of the future that reimagine how people can once again live harmoniously in cities. We are currently facing new times of disharmony and uncertainty but the crisis is not world war it is global warming.

Post-war designs for the future hoped to shape society in new and radical ways, including: Bruno Taut’s City Crown, 1919, Le Corbusier’s Radiant City, 1920, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City, 1958 and Archigram’s Plug-in city, 1964. How many of these utopian visions eventuated? Did they influence the design of the cities we live in today? Can we connect how we live today to these imaginings of harmonious and idyllic living?

To spark audience discussion, scholars of architectural history, urban planning and human centred design discuss these questions in the context of smart cities, while reflecting on past imaginings and the role architects play in shaping how people live.

In looking at past examples of future thinking, we see the importance of designers thinking beyond the boundaries of what is possible when designing for the future. The impossible becomes possible only when thinking beyond the realm of the possible.

How will today’s architects respond to current uncertainty? Adaptable and sustainable architectural design, like that of Glenn Murcutt, is one way to shape the future of the built environment. What else can we do?

This event is supported by RACV.

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Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the Yaluk-ut Weelam as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. Yaluk-ut Weelam means ‘people of the river camp’ and is connected with the coastal land at the head of Port Phillip Bay, extending from the Werribee River to Mordialloc. The Yaluk-ut Weelam are part of the Boon Wurrung, one of the five major language groups of the greater Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the land, their ancestors and their elders—past, present and to the future.