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Reinier de Graaf

Phantom Urbanism

Harvard GSD

Once cities were designed to accommodate the masses; today the masses have to be seduced. During the past forty years, like all sectors of the economy, urban planning has become free enterprise: a perpetually speculative activity, which must give shape to developments even if it remains uncertain whether those developments will ever happen, or attract the people for whom they were planned.

 

This presentation explores the flipside: large urban plans that were built but never used. These now occur on every continent – the inevitable fallout of a world urbanizing at a staggering pace. But perhaps they are more… perhaps these towns also constitute compelling reasons for reflection in the face of a seemingly unbreakable consensus that the city is our one and only common future.

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