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1999 waren wir beteiligt an der NGO Internet Fiesta und - in neuer Zusammensetzung - an "Global Village 99" Das geplante 4. internationale Global Village Symposium mußte leider abgesagt und auf unbestimmte Zeit vertagt werden.

Stadtplanung / Urban Planning Vienna City Hall, February 1995
Responding to Change - Architecture and Urbanism

Abstract     Lecture     Author

Huw Thomas - Sir Norman Foster and Partners (GB)



Society is facing great change as we approach the last years of this Millenium. Possibly, changes as great as those in the industrial revolution. Unlike the industrial revolution however, this change will be telescoped into a far shorter time scale. The impact of the information revolution on business, and hence jobs, will be felt throughout society. It will impact on all our communities from the greatest city to the smallest hamlet. In effect this technology will make everyone equal, the ideal of 'one to many', the ability to communicate freely and gain access to information anywhere gives the decision on location a freedom never before faced.


This will mean that companies will inherent from technology a new freedom to move to any location in the growing global economy. Decisions on location and hence the availability of work will be as much defined by where a worker wants to be, as where a business's market is.

Each country, region and city within this new economy will face the need to reevaluate its traditional role, assess its future viability and if necessary reposition itself. With our current reliance on single industries such as finance, steel production, shipping or tourism our urban structures are particularly susceptible to market moves and cyclical changes. A stable future for our sites and towns and their inhabitants, will grow from a broadening of their economic base and through the targeting and attracting of new business sectors.

Within this new economic framework the role of the architect and urbanist will face new challenges. The strategies we generate to enable and accommodate changes must often balance the need for forward thinking with an understanding and respect for our past. Often we are called upon to create the first step through new buildings and masterplans to help realize a communities dream. In the area of telematics the greatest challenge is to give a concrete, understandable form to things which are by their very nature unseen and often intangible.

By contrasting recent masterplans and buildings in London, Germany, Spain, France, Greece and Japan we are able to see an emerging trend which is driving over view of community at the level of the home and workspace. The interaction between these activities is forming our view of urban form at many levels and the increasing emphasis on the public realm and community activity space are emerging as powerful generators. This talk will examine some of these projects and look at the lesson we are learning.

Participants' List