michael sorkin: new york city steady state
jul 15, 2010
michael sorkin: new york city steady state


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york – future proposal

as part of venice biennale’s international architecture exhibition this year, the U.S. pavilion
showcases the work of seven architects and collectives who act independently as forces
for social change. curated by michael rooks of the high museum of art and jonathan solomon
of 306090 – workshopping: an american model for architectural practice consists of ground
breaking projects. each offer proactive solutions to critical, present-day problems through better
architectural design-from re-envisioning how cities can increase production of locally-grown food,
to providing engineering solutions to storm and flood disaster prevention, to transforming NYC
into a more eco-friendly city.

one of the projects on display is ‘new york city (steady) state’ by new york based
architect michael sorkin.


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york – current image

new york city (steady) state is a book and web publication project that
explores whether
new york city can become self-sufficient within its
political boundaries. intended as an alternative
master plan for the
city’s future, the study investigates the possibility for urban
self-reliance
in areas including food, energy, waste, water, air supply
and quality, manufacture, employment,
culture, health and transport. 
the project also seeks to provide a new standard for design
writing and
analysis on sustainability, one which is inseparable from and grounded
in a strong
awareness of the particularities of place, both social and
environmental.  new york city (steady)
state also provides a new model
for other cities to follow.


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york – future proposal

sorkin has spent the last several years working on an alternative
master plan for new york
city. its research grows from a single
predicate: it is possible for the city to become completely
self-sufficient within the five boroughs. the organization is devising a plan
in which the city’s
ecological footprint and its political footprint
are completely co-terminus. the project includes
investigations of new
york city’s most relevant metabolisms, from food and energy to waste
and transportation. the purpose of the study is first to demonstrate
that this kind of radical
responsibility-taking is actually possible,
second to compile a catalogue of habits and technologies
that would
enable this, and finally to investigate the morphological and social
consequences for
the city.


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york – current image

new york city (steady) state is not only a design manual, but it is a
design-driven argument
for a drastic reconfiguration of the way people
economize and handle their material resources.
current design guides
typically perpetuate models of sustainability that are too
discipline-specific,
too superficial and/or too divorced from context.
new york city (steady) state is a deep reflection
on the character of
sustainability and on current models for development and change. it
will provide
both a full catalogue of immediately practical solutions,
augmented by a theoretical text that will
look at the economics of
self-reliance and import substitution as a driver for this
transformation.
sorkin increasingly sees the city as the logical
increment for resistance to environmental
and political degradation,
for realizing individual expression, as well as a key medium for taking
responsibility for the fate of the global environment. the project is
based on the idea that higher levels
of autonomy are crucial both for
the achievement of a sustainable future and for the democratic
character of cities.


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york – future proposal

new york city (steady) state is thus a means of taking inventory for
cities currently relying
on and striving for more limited forms of
sustainability, a model for planning, a handbook
of techniques and a
speculation about synthesis. sorkin advocates that this systemic,
integrated, large-scale master planning approach is exactly the type of
reorientation that
governments, planners, developers, architects,
engineers, designers and citizens urgently
need to consider.


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york – current image


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york -  houses becoming sustainable by using solar power, implementing
grey water tanks etc.


‘new york city (steady) state’, michael sorkin, new york – future proposal

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