Green Dream

How Future Cities Can Outsmart Nature?

Research project, design studio, book

“Everybody is talking about environmental sustainability, or "Green" these days; sustainable architecture and urbanism are getting almost universal attention. But there is also a lot of suspicion and confusion around Green. Not everyone fighting for Green might be doing it for the right reasons, or with the right information. Research is often contradictory, and here and there, logic is pushed aside as new oligarchies take control of new ‘green’ markets in the capitalist tradition. Some politicians and developers misuse ecology to promote their own agenda’s.”

The Why Factory wants to distance itself from the ‘green babble’ which is often subject to emotive arguments and vague assumptions. Instead we want to pursue a dream of a green city in a sober and rational way, by approaching Green as a phenomenon that can be measured, calculated and evaluated, from all different angles.

One of the twenty-two critical observations that we have published in the Green Dream book about the current state of environmentally sustainable practice, is the tendency to focus on ‘small green deeds’. The interventions are too small and are too often disconnected efforts to attain the scale of and impact that is called for. Another observation is that Green progresses is too slow; the pace with which research and innovation is implemented falls way behind the speed that is needed to keep up with the effects of the ecological crisis.

In order to achieve a green(er) city, we need to look at the bigger picture. We need to look at Green not only in terms of sustainable architecture, but also from the perspective of politics, technology, economics and our personal lives. At the same time, when we strive for a rationally argumented green practice, architects should look beyond the singular building and take into account its context by including essential issues like waste management, energy supply and infrastructure. We have got to look at the whole city, even the region!

But what does this mean for the architectural practice? How can or should an architect incorporate these larger contexts into his design? What is the information she or he needs to make valid assessments? And speaking of information, what can we learn from passed projects or experiments. What knowledge do we have, and what are the gaps? – These questions and more we explore in the search for the future Green Dream.