URBS259 - POST INDUSTRIAL CITY: Media City: New Lifestyles/New Forms
The stereotypical idea of the city or urban life is neither fixed nor singular. Lifestyle and urban form evolve together in an iterative fashion affected by changes in technology, communication, economics and cultural, social, political values. This seminar examines the underlying forces that are continuing to transform urban form and the relationship of these forces to contemporary urban lifestyles. Lifestyle choices have become an engine of urban growth and are instrumental in the transformation of urban life and form of the city. The spatialization of contemporary life and the physical forms and fabric that support it call into question traditional definitions of 'urban life' and 'city form.' The seminar's broad context is the interface between the physical/psychological permanence of the existing traditional city and the changing spatial and cultural landscape of a new urban realm defined by consumption culture, new technologies and the media age.
The research focus for Spring 2014 will be the transformation of Brooklyn neighborhoods from industrial working class centers to enclaves of hipster lifestyles. Hipsters have become commodified and part of the commercial world but their role as urban shapers who put forth new values, new urban lifestyles and new urban character has left a mark on neighborhoods from economic revival to gentrification. Hipsters wield a combination of technology, values and cultural forces that together are transforming urban places. Many of these underlying values have become the province as well of educated middle-class population often living ideologically. We propose these groups are the seeds of new types of consciousness united by shared values that have the potential to provide an alternative vision for an urban domain that balances a long-term view with more temporal individual choices.