My interests go out to a phenomenon that comes with the largest migration in the history of mankind; the rise of the megalopolis as it is currently taking place in East and South-East Asia. Urban condition free of urbanity, Koolhaas claimed; cities without a center, without borders, and with up to forty million inhabitants. Estimations claim that Asia today already has about twenty of them. And more are soon to follow.
No doubt this rapid urbanization process will have great consequences. Not only for the people living in these urban conglomerates, but actually for the whole world. For apart from the economic and political reallocations that are already advancing on us, the most important creation of this new city form will actually be the new articulations of human life it generates. This is not a new phenomenon. Every new type of socioscape comes with a new mindset. The first settlements, the walled cities, the industrial and the postindustrial cities have all in turn changed our perspectives dramatically. Because they affect us differently and thus produce visual, auditive, olfactory and gustatory stimulations causing us to think and act in other ways.
Therefore this project will study this new city form not so much according to its buildings (as architects and urban designers are doing this), but much more according to how its inhabitants enter into composition with the materiality that surrounds them; because it is thus that their experiences are being created, that we can discover the true meaning of form (and function). My (philosophical) hypothesis is therefore that the megalopolis is not so much about the reduction of movement as this has dominated the concentric industrial and postindustrial cities that dominated the world until recently, but rather a city form that accelerates the multiplication of temporalities; the megalopolis is not about living close to one another (the car, internet, mobile technology has surely contributed to that) but about experience as many things as condensed as possible.
To test this, the goal is to travel to these cities and experience what this new life is all about. Apart from studying philosophical and specific urban theories, this will be done by talking to the people inhabiting the megalopolis, by registering their everyday activities and by experiencing this life myself. Since the research is not ethnographical (I will not judge on particular places) the megalopolises to be visited are not yet fixed. The idea is to visit about four topoi in the area in order to get a good overview of what life in these new urban correlates is all about. And what this has in store for the rest of the world.