Fishman contends, “…. the new city is a city a la carte.” A megalopolis based on time rather than space facilitated by the communication technologies, offers new ways of thinking about our cities bound by time and not distance. He further states that we operate within three basic networks allowing individuals to create their own connections – household network/consumption network and the production network – a city personalized without center or boundary. It calls for a fluid concept, which challenges the traditional notion of Suburbia and the post-war American dream of a detached single family home with white picket front yard.
We all know that the notion of romantic Suburbia is outdated as diverse groups of people make-up the urban fabric from Los Angeles to New York. The diversity of housing needs of the new demographics against the monotonous cookie cutter approach offers new opportunities to rethink the notion of Suburbia, Chan argues. The regulations that were put into place (Homeowners Association and Covenants) keeps suburbia frozen in times which has added to the challenges of American cities with surplus housing and big box buildings that have no use. The irony is that homelessness is more acute at a time when we have the most surplus in housing due to our own rigid laws. Whereas, living has always been a fluid concept: to adapt to the changing needs; we have been entrapped in it by our own shortcomings and capitalistic greed.
How can we as architects creatively think of strategies to play a critical role to shape the next phase of development. First and foremost, we need to be at the table with decision makers – policy crafters, government lobbyists and capitalistic players to create a vision for our cities that takes into account the humanistic perspective. Although architecture may not solve all the problems but we can certainly play a crucial role within a social and cultural framework to provide solutions that are relevant to our contemporary times.
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