In 2030, the world’s population will be a staggering eight billion people. Of these, two-thirds will live in cities. Most will be poor. As resources become more limited, rising inequality in urban areas will be one of the greatest trials faced by societies across the planet. City authorities, economists, sociologists, and urban planners are increasingly concerned about this problem. Yet, given the immense tasks ahead, it remains unusual that critical and visionary responses to the challenges of an everexpanding, imbalanced urbanization are shared with a wider audience.
Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities engages this international debate with design scenarios for the future of six metropolises: Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. In a fourteen-month initiative that included workshops held around the globe, local practitioners and international researchers gathered to examine existing situations, determine courses of action, and establish new architectural possibilities for these major urban enclaves.
The proposals on display present specific ideas for specific cities. They are not intended to exhaust the debate, but rather to spark it. Instead of adopting the top-down planning measures of the past, they draw inspiration from emerging forms of tactical urbanism, in which community-led interventions engage local skills and resources. Offering acupunctural outlooks on how to change future urban environments for the better, the proposals in the exhibition present specific designs, policy models, and even visionary fictions to be imagined at different scales and in diverse urban contexts.
Uneven Growth includes an online platform, Uneven-Growth.MoMA.org, where the public is invited to contribute examples of these tactical urban practices as they are already mitigating inequality worldwide. A selection of these submissions features in the MAK installation, placing projects by the public in dialogue with the proposals by the six teams. The visions exhibited in Uneven Growth reveal how architects embrace social responsibility, and also how they learn from informalor bottom-up actions to offer us hints of a much-needed Change.
Pedro Gadanho, Curator of Contemporary Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Bärbel Vischer, Curator of the MAK Contemporary Art Collection