On the Importance of Building Trust – Coronavirus is making people more aware of their built environment, so this is an opportunity for architects and designers to use design to engage on an emotional, spiritual and cultural level. Related to this is the importance of designing for trust. Many people are afraid to re-enter the public realm right now — that realm is under threat. Consequently, design needs to be used to help build trust between all parties concerned — between restaurant owners and patrons, park authorities and visitors, hospitals and patients. We need to keep people safe, but we also need to reassure people that experts are implementing changes to keep them safe. By Regina Yang
Regina Yang is a senior director at MASS Design Group in Boston. Its mission is to research, build and advocate for architecture that is purposeful, healing and hopeful.
On the Continuing Importance of Re-Naturing Cities – More than ever before, urban forestry and agriculture can make the city a more liveable place by including it in a wider ecosystem integrated with protected woods, mountains and rural areas. The challenge is to design smart, green and self-sufficient buildings, neighbourhoods and cities by considering the circular economy model and by using clean energy. When we build our Vertical Forests, we start with the selection of plants, shrubs and trees, adapting to the climatic conditions of the site and drawing the facades according to the greenery they will accommodate. Vertical Forests are designed to welcome both trees and human beings as inhabitants, in buildings where the presence of living nature makes architecture act as a powerful ecosystem. By Stefano Boeri
On What the “Smart City” Actually Means Now – When it comes to the smart city of the future, the most important thing is to use technology for good. And that means ensuring sustainability, which goes hand in hand with health. From a civic point of view, there are three kinds of health: social health (bringing people together as a community), mental health (which entails making people feel safe, seen and accepted) and physical health (which involves a healthy environment that allows people to grow their own food, for instance, in a semi-public garden). From now on, technology should be used to support sustainability and health the same way that an analog solution would. It should not be used merely as a gadget. By Ben van Berkel
Dutch architect Ben van Berkel is co-founder and principal of Amsterdam-based UNStudio and a lecturer at TU Delft.
Three designer-thinkers – Regina Yang, Stefano Boeri and Ben van Berkel – on the major currents underlying the future of the urban realm.