ON ARCHITECTURE 2017
#KeynoteTalks 15 September 2017
The Need For (re)Definition
Dixit’s lecture will examine a fundamental question regarding our future: What is a City?
The contemporary notion of a city is typically defined through its population size. In China, a city can only be considered so if it has an ‘official’ population greater than or equal to 6 million; a mega-city must have at least 10 million inhabitants.
However, anyone who has spent substantial time in these new mega-cities knows that the single-statistic metric (the number of human beings who technically take up space there) does not take into account the ephemeral attributes of urbanization.
The truth is that an actual city is more complex.
Population, density, and the height of buildings do not make a city. Intellectual production and cultural activities created our cities, and it is these crucial characteristics that truly make cities. Cities have now attracted over 50% of the global population. And why? The answer is obvious: they are were centres of culture, diversity, education, civic institutions, and freedom of thought. However, with rapid urbanization, we have witnessed the erosion of cities from centres of cultural production to generic one-dimensional, consumption-based theme parks.
Before we discuss cities and our roles in relation to them, we must re-examine our cities in an effort to transcend these simplistic and ‘rational’ empirical qualifiers that do not it any way capture why we all desire to be in cities…the city in this moment is desperately in need for a ‘new’ definition.