Team Members and thematic or geographic areas:
Ute Lehrer & Christian Schmid (Zurich)
Ute Lehrer (Montpellier and Marseille)
Robin Bloch (Dubai and Johannesburg)
Fulong Wu & Zhigang Li (Shanghai and Guangzhou)
Sonia Hirt (Eastern European cities)
Paul Knox (US cities)
Jill Grant (Canadian cities).
Students in undergraduate field courses on Urban Infrastructure will do field research in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax (with Ute Lehrer & Caroline Andrew researching Ottawa).
Research Context, Methods and Goals:
Led by Lehrer, there are two components to this thematic area.
(a) FlexSpace: The social, cultural and economic conditions of cities and suburbs have been described, analyzed and theorized in great detail (Fishman; Kostof; Mumford; Park, Burgess, & McKenzie). While several authors attempt to describe recently emerging urban forms by creating new labels (Edge City, Exopolis, FlexSpace, Zwischenstadt, Metroburb), to date there is neither systematic analysis nor comparative work on these in-between spaces that define a great part of cities. This project, concentrating on Zürich (C. Schmid & Lehrer), Montpellier and Marseille (Lehrer), Dubai and Johannesburg (Bloch), Shanghai and Guangzhou (Wu & Li), Eastern European cities (Hirt); US cities (Knox), and Canadian cities (Grant), addresses this gap. We will first revisit earlier theoretical work at a meeting in Montreal (Year 1), then conduct new and original research on locations mentioned above, following a common protocol (Year 2-4). Output is two books (one theoretical, one empirical).
(b) Urban Form: This comparative study of Canadian suburban regions is a visual documentation, complemented with interviews, of various forms of planned and non-planned urban growth and suburban regions. Students in annual undergraduate field courses on urban infrastructure will do field research in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax (with Lehrer & Andrew researching Ottawa). Students will take photographs of the in-between urban spaces and conduct interviews with residents and other users of these spaces for their interpretations of the new urban form. The findings will be used for an exhibition (in partnership with the Canadian Architect Magazine and Ian Chodikoff); a visual book (with textual contributions by Grant & Lehrer); and images will be used in the project’s website.