Future Cities / Transactions:
Exchanging knowledge between Switzerland and Asia
Asian populations are urbanising at a rate and volume that is unprecedented in human history. If they do so in the same resource- intensive manner as western countries did during the 20th Century, it would exceed the biophysical capacity of the planet several times over. Averting a disaster of these global proportions involves understanding, designing, planning and managing cities in new and innovative ways at many scales.
Innovation of this kind will inevitably draw on the historic role of cities to stimulate transactions, be it of goods, services or ideas. The fortunes of cities have always been shaped by local and non-local transactions involving trade, culture and conflict, and we can see that in the historical importance of riverine, maritime, and terrestrial transportation networks in early city development. These relations were preconditions for globalisation, wherein the ease of world travel and the arrival of the digitised information age integrated old and new networks.
The Future Cities Laboratory (FCL), as a research unit of the ETH Zürich based in Singapore with researchers from over 35 nationalities and 20 disciplines spanning science, social science and design, benefits from precisely such old and new transaction networks. By holding this conference in Zürich, we foreground the place of Europe, Switzerland and the city of Zürich itself in the global challenges of urbanisation. In doing so we focus on the transactions between:
- Zürich and Singapore
- Europe and Asia
- Science, social science and design
- Research approaches and paradigms
- Academia, government, industry and civil society