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Co-creating a new architecture – regenerative cities

August 22, 2018

 

Contribute to an emerging manifesto designed to challenge and inspire the world’s architects, urban planners, property developers, designers and investors.

 

Today more than ever we find ourselves in a world out of balance. Our planet is hurting. Our institutions are reaching breaking point. Our stress levels are rising, there are escalating levels of social dissonance, depression, anxiety, obesity and political polarisation across our society. However, through the cracks of the old systems comes light. The light of a new era. A new way of living, being and working.

 

Let’s just take a moment to consider the exponential rate of urbanisation. Every week 3 million people move into cities. By 2050 there will be over 10 billion people on our planet and over 70% of us will be living in cities.

 

It is also worth considering that each year 1 million people take their own lives and 300 million suffer from clinical depression. Stress-levels are already dangerously high, and over the next 10 years global stress levels are expected to rise by 30%.

 

One of the great design challenges we have today is to figure out how to design our build environment in a way that activates our humanity and wellbeing rather than undermines it.

 

Given the scale of the social and environmental challenges that we face today, we believe that it is critical to take the conversation surrounding future cities to a much deeper level. It’s time to co-create a new architecture which integrates the wisdom of nature and the science of wellbeing into not only the physical design of our buildings but also the organisational structures and business models that have such a profound impact on how our cities continue to grow and evolve.

 

The new architecture that we propose requires us to think and dream beyond the physical form and inquire about the day-to-day experience of our urban lives. What if we invested more time to explore the architecture of community, organisations, and human relationships? What if we regularly immersed ourselves in nature as a source of inspiration for our work? What if we made an effort to design experiences not just spaces? How would we create a strong feeling of community and trust between neighbours and coworkers?

 

With this shift in mindset a whole new world of investment opportunities and possibilities begin to open up. Rather than thinking of property development as a business of buying and selling physical assets, what if we began to think of property development as being in the business of wellbeing? Now there’s a dream worth contributing to!

 

We would innovate new financial structures and institutional funds that would enable us to facilitate buildings and communal spaces that enhanced life for as long as possible. Sustainability would become a competitive advantage rather than a regulatory burden. The focus for investors and developers would be long-term value-creation for all stakeholders rather than short-term profit maximization for a detached investor.

 

Once this new architecture emerges and proves its value, the capital will flow.

 

What’s needed now is the convergence of the pioneers and disruptors who will lead the way in bringing these ideas into reality at a scale that will create a tipping point in the industry. It is with this broader intention that we wish to host a series of participatory gatherings and discussions with leaders in the field of city development, architecture and the build environment on the following 5 key themes that we deem critical for building a truly resilient, thriving and regenerative world:

 

 

Walkable cities (high density mixed-use development)

We need to design solutions to greatly reduce the time spent in peak time traffic or transit. This can be achieved if cities are built at a human scale through a mixed-use development approach. Once we liberate our high-streets from trucks and cars we can bring back those plazas, squares, lanes and intimate meeting places that somehow always end up being packed full of life and community when the right conditions are created.

 

Co-creation mindset (design for creativity, fun and flexibility)

A co-creation process emerges when we accept our own limitations as individual designers and architects and strive to uncover new perspectives and ideas that challenge our assumptions. It’s about allowing time and space for new thinking to emerge as we deeply reflect and consider the values and vision of each project we work on.

 

Re-connecting with nature (wellbeing, nature and human nature)

The third principle is to ensure that there are plenty of spaces for reconnecting with nature and nourishing our senses, such as intimate parks and communal gardens, and cafes, pubs, libraries, museums and hotel lobbies filled with plants, natural light, cosy furniture and a welcoming community vibe.  Proximity to nature is proven to open up a higher state of consciousness through which we can begin to speak and listen from our open mind-heart-will.

 

 

Cultures of caring (compassionate cities & neighbourhoods)

With the right facilitation and ingredients, we can design collaborative spaces where multi-cultural multi-generational communal conviviality flourishes. We need to become more aware as architects and designers of the special elements and moments that enable people to relax, take off their masks, and feel safe to be themselves.

 

 

Local food production (the power of eating fresh and local)

Our current food system is the leading contributor to climate change and generates ridiculous quantities of waste and illness. It’s a toxic system that needs to be transformed and should be integrated into our discussions around city development, sustainability and communities. How can we enable more local food production and make nutritious, sustainable and fresh food more affordable and accessible for all.

 

Digital enablers (digital catalysing human flourishing)

It’s crucial to think about digital tools and platforms as technological enablers that can bring communities closer together rather than breaking them apart. It’s important to carefully consider the digital dimension of our future cities and to ensure that our buildings are as future-proof as possible. Technology can connect, reduce loneliness, and enable the sharing-economy; however, it has to be used and applied consciously.

 

 

It is with this spirit that we ask interested parties to join us on this co-creative journey.

 

How you can get involved.

 

On Tuesday 18th September, 2018, at the stunning Omved Gardens venue in London we shall be holding a one-day Regenerators gathering.

 

Our intention with this event is to bring together pioneers, disruptors and leaders in the field of city development, architecture and the built environment together with experts in building communities and regenerative business.

 

If you are interested in joining this conversation visit Regenerators here

https://www.regenerators.co/new-regenerative-architecture

 

This article is written by Anton Chernikov, Laura Storm and Giles Hutchins

To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here

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