I've been remiss in posting about the interesting WPA 2.0 competition and it's alluring tagline: "whoever rules the sewers rules the city" as I was debating about entering because it is just amazingly compelling in idea. So alas, due to summer and time constraints (I know, lame, but I'll explain later) I'm passing on the opportunity. A recent nudge from the folks at CityLAB reminded me that I hadn't ever posted about the competition itself. (They were also nice enough to pass along one of my posts that was referenced on their Facebook page)
:: image via WPA 2.0 Facebook Page
A summary statement from the organizers at CityLAB:
"With the Recovery Act on the minds of everyone concerned with the future of our cities, cityLAB, a UCLA urban design think tank, is providing a unique opportunity for designers worldwide to contribute infrastructure proposals that re-envision the new American metropolis. Beginning with a competition that encourages designers to "take back the streets," WPA 2.0 sets the stage for a new generation of Working Public Architecture.
The competition will be followed by a symposium at the National Building Museum in November 2009. In Washington, cityLAB will convene leading researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers to expand the enlivened discourse on urban infrastructure and promote implementable options that imagine our physical environment as more livable, more beautiful, and more sustainable."
It's pretty awesome that the competition site itself is the Infrastructure Matrix, which includes a number of typologies including a language of points, lines, landscapes, and ecologies. For instance, the idea of 'Stormwater' is broken into the following elements:
wetland storm hazard mitigation
This breakdown had me curious, and quickly led to a a reference to Stan Allen (one of the star-studded jurors) and his book "Points+Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City" I saw this recently and it reminded me to mention a new blog by Nico Wright called MicroGeography, where he references the book as an investigative strategy for the competition. I haven't read it, but this post alone made me want to pick it up sooner than later.
:: image via MicroGeography
Although I'm sitting this one out, I'll be watching closely to see what comes out of the first round - and follow up with the second phase as well. Good luck!