The Materials Book

268 construction: the possibility of rapid urban transformation. When considering an effective model of urban development we must be constantly reminded that the grayest cities in the world are also the greenest. Residents of New York City have the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the United States, generating just 7.1 metric tons of greenhouse gas annually. This is less than 30 percent of the national average, which used. The short answer is the spine-based urbanism that has come to replace both the urban and the continental grid. This is the organizational logic that New Corktown has set out to demonstrate. New Corktown is a Present Future project designed for the city of Detroit. The project focuses on a two-block site that was given in the brief, a total project area of 256 blocks. Following the best scientific information available— the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report—our response to climate disruption was to reject the traditional urban and environmental response, which, since the late sixties, has been to “think small.” This crisis is not small, its effects will not be small, and our response cannot be small. We will not appropriately respond to the crisis by a thoughtless celebration of the local. Instead, our response requires both speed and scale. Attempting to keep up with population growth, another Paris is built each week, another New York each month. Cities are not permanent but contain complex material cycles and residential cycles. The identification of these cycles is important because they provide the means to integrate urbanism with natural cycles, in this case the carbon cycle. The average life span of a building in the United States is no more than fifty years. This is the upside of cheap American Project: New Corktown.

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