Issue 2: Urgency / Agency

Issue 2 of The Agent examines the topic of Urgency and the ways that designers can engage in pressing urban issues. It asks how design can be the major driver to effect cultural changes that also respond to environmental transformations. Featuring exclusive interviews with Albert Pope and Sheila Kennedy.

“While ninety-seven percent of scientists are in agreement on climate-warming trends being the result of human activity, only fifty-four percent of the American population shares this view, suggesting that addressing climate change is not merely a technical problem to be solved, but more importantly a cultural project to be undertaken.”
- Neeraj Bhatia, Editorial

“If you don’t understand spine-based urbanism and how it differs from grid-based urbanism, you’re not really engaged in the urban project. The High Line, for example, that everyone loves, is like putting a plasma screen in your grandma’s living room. It’s urbanism of a sort, but it’s an urbanism for tourists and for the very few people who can afford to live in Manhattan at this point. The way we create density now has to respond to the way we are now and how we build. ”
- Albert Pope, Gus Sessions Wortham Professor at Rice University’s
School of Architecture

“One thing that we can do now is to take advantage of the media and the mediated nature of nature. We can then break down some of the boundaries of what we would think of as the built environment, what we would think of as nature, and what we would think of as technology.”
- Sheila Kennedy, Professor of the Practice of Architecture at MIT and Principal of Kennedy and Violich Architecture, Ltd.