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18


VIEWS


We find this urbanism of seemingly random agglomerations all over the world. I have termed this “garbage spill urbanisation”. It paradoxically produces a disorienting sameness out of too much heterogeneity. My solution to this is not more planning, but the convergence and upgrading of the discipline of architecture towards a hegemonic parametricism that would be able to visually articulate the programmatic order, currently obscured under the stylistic cacophony. In terms of density, productive programmatic order and vitality, the City of London is an exemplary success. That the creation of this most dynamic, high productivity urban cluster was at all possible is an accident of history: the preservation of the ancient political constitution of the Corporation of London that allowed the finance sector to shape its own space without being hampered by political ‘nimby’ism of residents. The Corporation wisely avoided letting residences and with them potential political forces enter its territory, thus preventing politics trumping economics. However, this also imposed its own cost:


the avoidance of residences is not ideal, but indirectly also politically imposed. The entrepreneurial freedom of mixing land-uses is crucial for the vitality of the city. Only a creative trial and error process, guided by price signals as well as profit vs loss signals, can discover and optimise, at each individual site, the most value- enhancing use-mixes that best synergise with the particular urban adjacencies of that site. The planning bureaucracy lacks the requisite knowledge, as well as agility, and the incentive, to optimise.


IS THERE A RISK THAT MARKET-LED SOCIAL HOUSING WOULD WORK WELL FOR MORE AFFLUENT PEOPLE IN NICE AREAS, BUT POORER HOMEOWNERS COULD BE EXCLUDED?


Markets cater very well to all priorities of any and all income groups. In my view it makes no sense anymore to try to fix “needs” bureaucratically via standards. The empty, free-floating, boundless concept of need should be replaced by the concept of effective demand backed up by income and willingness to pay. Markets should be set free to cater for all the


individual demands that our society generates. That’s what they do.


HOW CAN ARCHITECTURE ITSELF BE PART OF THE SOLUTION?


Architecture can certainly be an important part of the solution once the space for entrepreneurial freedom has been opened up. Innovative developers will rely on creative architects to cast inventive lifestyle offerings into innovative spatial forms. That freedom is a precondition of innovative problem solving should be self- evident.


And yet, we all too often want to play it


all too safe and call for the state to curb freedom and prohibit change. I would like to encourage us to risk more freedom. Theoretical insight into the self-regulation mechanisms of markets should lead us to trust that the market process will discipline and channel the entrepreneurial energies towards outcomes that maximise total societal value. 


This version has been edited to fit space – Patrik Schumacher’s full answers are avail- able at www.architectsdatafile.co.uk


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


ADF MARCH 2018


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