Post-Oil City
The History of the City's Future
Bird's-eye view of Masdar; © Foster+Partners, Transsolar
Bird's-eye view of Masdar; © Foster+Partners, Transsolar

MASDAR CITY – Adaptation to the Climate

  • Status: realization began in 2008
  • Team: Foster + Partners (master plan)
  • Systematica (transit planning)
  • WSP (infrastructure, water, waste removal), London
  • Transsolar (energy concept)
  • Fleck & Kurz (building services), Paris
  • ETA (solar systems), Florenz

At a time when more than half of the world’s population is living in cities, the effects of climate change on urban life can no longer be ignored. The exhibition 'Post-Oil City: The History of the City’s Future,' as well as the accompanying catalogue edited by ARCH+, present innovative projects in Asia, Africa, and America that address urgent questions: How will the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy affect the process of urban planning and the city? How will the use of renewable energies affect urban metabolism and the politics of sustainability and mobility?

'Post-Oil City' is as much about the future as it is about the past. As indicated by the exhibition’s subtitle – 'The History of the City’s Future' – every vision of the future is based on a vision of the past. By contrasting 11 current projects in the field of sustainable urban planning with 9 from the past, the exhibition aims to show that many of today’s developments have their roots in the urban utopias of mid-20th-century modernism. Today, urban planners are returning to these concepts and adapting them to the challenges posed by climate change, a limited supply of fossil fuels, economic recession, and global systemic crisis.

Urban planning provides a laboratory for social as well as ecological change. Some experiments discussed in 'Post-Oil City' are Masdar City (Abu Dhabi), Xeriton (Dubai), and the NEST project in Ethiopia. Other examples of urban experimentation featured in the exhibition modify existing structures: creating a public transportation system in Curitiba’s inner city, renaturalizing New York’s High Line, and building a network of electric cars with battery switch stations in Israel. Raoul Bunschoten and his team at CHORA—a London architectural firm at the cutting edge of urban design—are currently pursuing several interactive projects giving communities on both sides of the Taiwan Strait the chance to directly experience new measures in urban design and energy production. The works of Studio Mumbai Architects demonstrate the way how a 'slow' architecture that roots in local traditions can be translated into the language of modern construction.

Most of the projects are accompanied by computer animations and videoclips. The models of the Masdar Plaza and Xeritown give an idea of how sustainable urban planning in arab cities nowadays can look like.

Though different in method and scope, the projects presented in 'Post-Oil City' all have something in common: they exemplify the combination of reason, innovation, and flexibility that we’ll need to make our cities and planet sustainable for the future.

Obwohl die in der Ausstellung präsentierten Projekte bezüglich ihrer Methoden und ihrer Reichweite unterschiedlich sind, so haben sie doch etwas Entscheidendes gemeinsam: sie veranschaulichen eine beispielhafte Verbindung von Fiktionen, Innovationen und Flexibilität des Denkens, die wir dringend benötigen, um unsere Städte und unseren Planeten für eine nachhaltige Zukunft zu gestalten.

Arch+

An exhibition of the Instituts für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), Stuttgart, in cooperation with ARCH+, Zeitschrift für Architektur und Städtebau, Berlin

 

Exhibition catalogue

Post-Oil City – The History of the City's Future / Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (eds.). – Aachen: Arch+, 2011. – 120 pp.

Post-Oil City

The History of the City's Future / Institut für Aus­lands­bezie­hungen (eds.). – Aachen: Arch+, 2011. – 120 pp.

Selected Texts

Main exhibition

Post-Oil-City mobil (German)

Post-Oil-City mobil (English)

Coming up:

03.04.2014 – 04.05.2014
Modern Art Museum-Gebre Kristos Desta Center
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
In co-operation with Goethe-Institut Addis Abeba

Post-Oil-City mobil (Spanish)

Coming up:

Temporary
01.05.2014 – 30.06.2014
Rosario, Argentina
Temporary
01.07.2014 – 01.08.2014
Córdoba, Argentina