How does prototyping change the way we investigate, plan and build the city?
Vicente Guallart talks about prototyping, smart technologies and cities of the future.
What is prototyping? What does «the city of the future» mean? And why do we need it?
A prototype is the first version of anything you want to do in the future. To prototype means to design a new thing and to do tests or evaluations before its development and implementation. The city is the biggest artifact that humanity has been creating during the centuries. Cities are always in evolution and in every age we have different technological, material and cultural conditions that transform the way we live. We always try to apply all these new discoveries in science to improve our cities and environment. So, cities of the future will be different from cities of the present and we have to keep thinking about how they will be.
How important are modern technologies in prototyping? How are smart technologies associated with prototyping?
Technology is meant to improve the way we live. Technological achievements have resulted in a social revolution in people's lives. Nowadays a new big challenge is related to digital technologies. They have diverse manifestations such as big data or information settlement, many applications for health and lots of other things. Modern technologies that seemed to be complicated have entered our everyday life. For example, solar panels were invented for space stations during the space race but now have become a common source of energy for households. Their impact is not only technological but also social.
How does the Master program ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ can help Russian cities to achieve a higher quality of life?
We have students not only from different Russian cities but from other countries as well, such as Kyrgyzstan, India, Uganda. Education is the first step in any development, and we hope that all of our students will work hard and when they graduate and get back to where they come from, they will help develop their cities and spread the knowledge they have gained here.
Which city is the closest to the status of an «ideal city of the future»? Can Moscow qualify?
If we talk about modern developed cities, Tokyo has implemented some of the advanced ideas in city development, the experience of Barcelona can be relevant, New-York and Paris are working hard trying to follow the principles of the new urbanity which are based on more ecological and sustainable lifestyle. I can say that now Moscow is in the right direction, especially what relates to the Moscow river and Zaryadye Park. In the last 10 years Moscow has made good progress but still it is necessary to make more efforts. One of the main challenges for Moscow is to avoid focusing on commercial projects and to keep the balance between public and private interests. It is also important to maintain a good balance between historical heritage and new architecture which is one of the challenges that modern cities face.
Students of the Master program ‘Prototyping Future Cities’ at Shukhov Lab have already finished their first prototypes which are aimed to simplify our everyday routine, improve the city ecosystem and create new ways for people to interact. Learn more about their projects in the blog.
Interview by Albert Arustamyan