During lockdown, our Architecture Consultant, Marina Engel, asked a series of architects, to consider, or dream about, the role of the architect and urban design post Covid-19. The following text is by architect and Professor of Urban Design at the Politecnico in Milan, Stefano Boeri, who also exhibited at the BSR in 2011.
Looking at our offices in Shanghai, in Milan and in Albania, we have noticed, how in these days, we have lived as if in three parallel universes. As if, on the planet, there were different geographical and temporal areas. This incredible contagion, in an age of great globalization, has accentuated the construction of a sort of planet with different times.
This third global transformation event — after the two World Wars — has created a sense of urgency that we did not feel before the Corona Virus. The urgent need to understand that there must be a transition, but not between socialism and capitalism, nor between sovereignty and populism. A transition that must bring into play a new way of thinking about the space in which we live, the place where we live. Therefore, we must put into action immediate and strong choices.
First of all, mobility. We have to establish that, within a maximum of 3 years, the era of cars running on fossil fuels will end and that private transport will have to rely only on renewable sources.
Secondly, we need forestry: deforestation, the destruction of natural environments, is one of the main causes associated with the proliferation of viruses, such as those we have seen, which tend to move from one species to another. The deprivation of forests and green surfaces brings an worrying imbalance to all species, including ours. That’s why we must give space to nature and we must include a greater presence of trees and plants in contemporary cities, as well as preserving wild natural habitats.
Then, the energetic transition. Every house, every building, every block, must become a hub for both production and conservation of clean renewable energy. And we should create the conditions to build a production system of companies that produce energy locally?
We need a transition towards a new world. Only if we undergo a deep conversion in our way of thinking, together with our way of acting, will we be able to face this challenge. Together and starting right now.
Let’s start thinking about it!
Architect and urban planner, Stefano Boeri is Professor of Urban Design at the Politecnico in Milan and, since 2018, President of the Triennale in Milan. Stefano Boeri Architetti is based in Milan, Tirana and Shanghai .
The text is part of the project Letters From Lockdown by BSR Architecture Consultant Marina Engel. Read Marina’s introduction to the project here.