National Building Museum

More than Living: Building Smart Communities for the Future

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
National Building Museum
401 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20001

Public courtyard of the housing cooperative Kalkbreite, Zuri

Representatives from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), National Capital Planning Commission, and the DC Office of Planning will sit down to expand on the topic of “community building” and “creative place making” by comparing examples in Switzerland and the U.S. of living arrangements that foster strong and resilient communities through art, activities, and active participation from the public. The conversation will be moderated by Professor Sonia A. Hirt, Dean at the School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, University of Maryland.

Among others, experts will discuss Switzerland’s housing cooperatives as an example of community building. Switzerland has a rich tradition of providing affordable housing through the cooperative system. Many of the housing cooperatives apply high standards on architecture and neighborhood/community building. Since the 1980s a new wave of innovative housing cooperatives has emerged, particularly in Zurich.

By experimenting with one of the most traditional and fundamental task of the human condition namely housing and dwelling this new generation of cooperatives has pushed the involved architects towards new and innovative solutions how to design apartments and buildings, and how to think about neighborhoods or place-making. Other contributions to community building will include, among others, the National Capital Planning Commission’s “Memorials for the Future”. Commemorative sites are integral to the experience of public space in capital cities, and offer interesting opportunities for creative place-making. In 2016 the National Park Service and the National Capital Planning Commission, in collaboration with Van Alen Institute, conducted Memorials for the Future, an ideas competition that aimed to rethink the way we develop and experience memorials, creating new ideas for honoring our diverse histories, heritage, and culture.

Selected from 89 teams from eight countries, the winner and finalists all offered innovative approaches to share and add new narratives, and connect people and places from across the nation. Some of the most compelling and relevant themes and trends identified included engaging the present and future as much as the past; allowing for changing narratives; and considering ephemeral, mobile, and temporary forms. Additional information is available online.

Memorials for the Future - NCPCThis program is a free, drop-in program and is part of the Swiss Touch campaign. Reserve your spot ahead of time! Registered users can request event reminders.

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