What if, in the future, facial recognition technologies went into general use in our towns and buildings? In China where this is already happening, the increasing use of such technology in both public and private spaces raises the spectre of mass surveillance and the risk of new attacks on privacy. While the number of experiments is increasing around the world and certain American towns are already taking the lead in preventing its use, the debate is beginning to take shape in Europe.
“Living with… for the last year”
”From housing to the city, what locals prefer: account of an investigation
Tuesday March 30th, 2021
Transforming a street with a brushstroke: what does the future hold for tactical urbanism?
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From Hyperloop to drone taxis, spectacular technological transport projects are flourishing. But what about the reality of future public transport for everyday life after the Covid crisis?
Since 2013, China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), also referred to as the New Silk Road, has been building a network to connect China with the rest of the world, with railways, highways, ports, airports, industrial areas, data centres and telecommunication networks. As part of this strategy, China has been financing and building infrastructures in a number of third-world countries in Asia, as well as Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. Is this New Silk Road about to change the world? Will it be open to everyone or under Chinese control? Is there a place for Europe? Below we consider three fictional and highly distinct scenarios in order to explore various possible futures, some frightening, some fascinating.
What if, tomorrow, we grew algae on building façades to produce food supplements, fuel and a number of other things? In France and in Germany, life-size experiments are yielding interesting results.
Nanotechnologies include manufacturing techniques and processes in the microscopic world. Outlook for the building industry.
Applying the principles of the circular economy to the city, circular urbanism advocates a change of approach to build the city on itself and make better use of existing assets and resources in the process of urban design. This is a matter of urgency in the context of climate change, resource scarcity and the critical fragility of the ecosystems from which the materials are taken. According to Sylvain Grisot, author of a manifesto on the subject, recycling spaces, transforming the existing while avoiding deconstruction, and intensifying the uses of spaces are the three golden rules to adopt in order to radically change our methods. Among the many possible tools, let’s explore the dismantlability of buildings: what is a dismantlable building, how should it be designed and for what purpose?
How do we do more with less? Modern cities are faced with numerous challenges. They need to emit less carbon and halt urban spread into natural areas, while also having enough space to live in social harmony and in line with shifting trends (reconstituted families, telework, etc.). With these contradictory demands—acquiring more space with less sprawl—time becomes an unexpected resource. Some spaces in our buildings are used only for certain times of the day, week or year. For example, educational facilities are generally used around 20% of the time, while offices are used between 30% and 45% of the time. This means they can be used more, by finding new users and new ways to use them. Let’s look at a few concrete examples.
In late 2020, Bouygues Construction, Banque des Territoires and Chronos (an urban innovation consulting firm), with the support of France Ville Durable, held a retreat to discuss the topic of setting up a regional resilience programme. Using an array of assessment tools and regional initiatives, the attendees identified the key factors needed to formalise a regional resilience programme. France Ville Durable, Cerema, AEME, the French High Committee for National Resilience, the Paris Région Institute and the Grenoble Urban Planning Agency spoke of the dedication shown by those involved in this subject, and animated discussions on how to formalise the concept of regional resilience.