design | April 24, 2013

DLD Conference: Mitchell Joachim On Improving Ecological City Development

Who will be responsible for constructing the cities of the future? What should these people build in the center of these cities? These are questions that cities speaker Mitchell Joachim posed in his keynote at the DLD Conference 2013. Traditionally, urban centers have been developed around spiritual amenities (churches, religious sites) or industrial infrastructure (where "condos represent commerce-based living"). The cities of the future, he argues, should be ecologically based. They will focus on melding infrastructure and environment where our common spaces work with the natural environment to produce energy and provide transportation. "The landscape and the architecture are one in the same," he says of this future city design, "they are absolutely fluid."

And who, exactly, should be designing these cities? The urban centers Joachim envisions are a far cry from how we operate our cities today. He has been designing soft cars that eliminate collision fatalities and parks that provide recreational space and produce energy. He creates homes that are equal parts exterior and interior—where the abode is one with the landscape that surrounds it, and operates in tandem with the natural environment. To achieve these kind of alterations, Joachim says, "you need someone who has all the power and agency to make change, but someone that cares directly and is focused in on the community simultaneously." This new career title is someone he refers to as an "urbaneer."

A TED Fellow, partner at Planetary ONE, and Co-President of Terreform ONE, Joachim is devoted to developing disruptive solutions for the future of urban planning. Whether it's chairs composed of organic materials created in vitro, or homes that are grafted from living organisms, his work combines biology and architecture into a single discipline. His work is as practical as it is mind-bending. In his talks, he explores the technologies that are already starting to redesign our cities—and where those advancements will take us in the future.

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science | April 23, 2013