michael sorkin: new york city steady state 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

  • green everywhere, peace everywhere, surprise in this site everywhere! LLLLLLLLove you guys! so bright, so clever!

    lily says:
  • sustainablahblah

    S says:
  • Vegetation everywhere is not a design in the same way that concrete everywhere is not a design. The idea of using solar power is not a new idea either. Figure a way to harness kinetic energy and then NYC would not have to look like a scene from I Am Legend.

    21ronin.com says:
  • It’s really beautiful… I could name a hundred reasons why it’s not possible right now, but it’s beautiful, and sometimes we make things possible only after we recognize that they are beautiful.

    Exxtremitie says:
  • i like the idea, but…first you try to remove cars from everyday life… good luck!

    paula says:

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