The Need For (re)Definition by Mitesh Dixit

Keynote Talks


#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.

Mitesh Dixit founded DOMAIN Office in 2012. After completing undergraduate and graduate work in Politics & Philosophy, Dixit completed the Master of Architecture from the Washington University in St. Louis. Dixit began his career at the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. Prior to DOMAIN, Dixit worked with Rem Koolhaas’ Office for Metropolitan Architecture as a Project Leader. While at OMA, Dixit led multiple international projects, such as the MahaNaKhon Tower in Bangkok, Commonwealth Institute in London, and the Kuala Lumpur Financial District in Malaysia. Dixit joined the faculty of TU Delft in the Netherlands as a Visiting Professor of Architecture, Urbanism, and Critical Theory in 2011, and served as Editor of the Chair for Complex Projects at TU Delft from 2013- 2016. He led the Architecture of Violence studio, focusing on the region defined within the USA Mexican Border, and the In Chicago Graduate research studio. From 2017 Dixit joined Syracuse University as Assistant Professor.
The theme of architecture is universal, but in the present time of globalization, the significant contribution comes from the re-examination of regional identity and authentic, original themes.