What is the future for cities? Are they expanding at an ever-increasing rate or are they being abandoned and shrinking into oblivion? Are cities polluted, overcrowded and anonymous, or are they dynamic centres of innovation and culture? Are they sociable or anti-social? Well, it depends who you read because each description reflects the confusion about the state of the world’s cities. Anxieties over urban space within western cities, and fears over the dynamic growth of megacities in the developing world have altered the way that we see the benefits and drawbacks of urbanisation. It has been said that a culture of shrinkage is set to develop; or alternatively, that the city will have finally swallowed the world.
From transport systems to energy grids, from social networks to economic activity, this is the forum in which to debate the implications of min/max alternatives. And given the often fraught debates over lifestyles, liberties, aesthetic values and technologies, to clarify the architectural and cultural attributes that can best help address the urban future.