Project: PIX Moving Hackcity Urban Design Challenge
Achievement: 2nd Prize Winner
Collaboration with: Chai Yi Yang
| Preface: Arising of a New Utopia? |
Cities today are facing the verge of dynamic changes- to either deal with the accumulated issues from the past like environmental pollutions, socioeconomic inequality, housing issues, resources distribution, and so on; or to keep up with the arising technologies like autonomous driving, robotics, blockchain, vertical farming, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, virtual realities etc. There’s so much of uncertainty to ever imagine or anticipate a definite utopia of a future city, where the only permanence is the impermanence and the accelerating urban shifts. In this proposal, we seek to envision a PIXCITY, a self- responsive trial community made of the modules of 100 Moving Spaces, which is ever-adapting, mobilized, and flexible to encapsulate such changes.
| The Site: Lagos, an Amalgamation of Urban Informalities |
Background Studies & Positioning
Lagos, Nigeria is selected as the focus site for the projection of our vision for PIXCITY. As one of the major economic and industrial hub in Africa, Lagos is an informal city driven by various informal sectors yet moving towards the verge of transition, in the name of ‘urban renewal’ for a more orderly city that is being strategically positioned by the state governance. These renewal projects are often operationalized as Public-Private Partnership (PPP), which is largely determined by neoliberal market forces, rather than by the needs and realities of the population- eventually leads to gentrification, rapid privatization of public spaces, and unaffordable livelihood to the locals. The use of PPP model, be it in housing, transportation, and even in the delivery of water and waste management services, raise the worrisome of Lagos state government outsourcing its responsibility to citizen’s welfare, given the fact that many PPPs have performed sub-par.
This questionable trend offers a good opportunity to rethink Lagos: what if a trial urban community emerge organically through a bottom-up progress as refuge to the existing urban informalities in an evolved form? Without compromising the state’s agenda to modernize the city, it shall raise significance to mediate the disjunction between informalities and formalities, acting as an urban infrastructure of inclusivity, equilibrium, and change for Lagos’ socio-spatial and economic fabric. We believe the exploration of PIXCITY design in such context could transcend the urban informalities in Lagos, while providing extensive solutions for urban issues such as traffic congestion, housing shortages, poor urban infrastructures, environmental pollution, and social inequality.
| Regenerative Blueprint: A Channel and A Threshold |
Planning Strategies & Site Response
From the urban morphology point of view, Lagos is an urban mixture of high-rise developments, slums, and informal settlements. Lagos’ locality prevails from its bustling streets, vibrant culture, and busy commercial centers, where the dynamic daily activities dissolve within the contrast between formality and informality. Whereas the architectural scene in Lagos is rather chaotic and paradoxical, which a rustic local market can appear right beside a high-end commercial tower. These urban phenomena give an inspiration to the emerge of an instant and transitional architecture- as a trial urban community for all new forms of city informalities while also an urban infrastructure to address the urban issues in Lagos city.
In this pilot project, the formal high-rise parcel and modern developments along the Custom Street and Tinubu Square is selected as the focus site. This area enveloped within surrounding informal settlements, seems to be a potential site to explore new typologies of mobile architecture and instant community for PIXCITY. The pioneering process of the new architecture is curated in several urban gestures: enveloping vessels, facilitating skeletons, seeding tissues, and expanding territory, in order to adapt into the existing urban fabric. The newly emerge architecture acts almost like as a mediating medium between the urban formalities and informalities, to cultivate a bottom-up and self-responsive culture- as a connecting channel and a transitional threshold simultaneously.
| Infrastructural Settlement: Mobilizing & Modularizing Solutions |
Sustainability Solutions & Socio-technological Interventions
With the aid of numerous technologies to applied at the forefront of the development of PIXCITY, a solution-centric sustainable settlement is envisioned to be overlaid on the existing fabric of Lagos. The autonomous network of vehicular circulation planning reduces the carbon footprint of transportation, while mitigating the traffic congestion in city center. The construction of the new infrastructure is also implementing the 3D printing and component-based design which assembled through full robotic fabrication. By having AI and Internet of things, the living data and information are fully connected and transparent to disclose the livelihood updates to form an integral tessellation.
From a bottom-up point of view, the inhabitants or users are able to utilizing these public facilities for a broader use to develop their own socio-economic or technological activities. The infrastructural intervention in the scale of township, which covers from societal to technological concerns could become a future foreground of Lagos’ development, from the almost self-initiative adaptation and improvisation. Apart from the building of new urban infrastructure, the innovative PIXCITY focuses on the building of new urban culture, advocating hedonistic sustainability and forward-thinking from every aspect of what makes a city better.
| Adaptive Framework: Urban Condenser for the Ephemerals |
Programmatic Framework & & 15Minutes Urban Ecosystem
Corresponding to the planning strategies and urban typologies, the programmes are introduced in a full spectrum to support the new emerging community, including Live, Play, Work, and Share. The 4 pillars of programmes are projected into a multiscalar trajectory which condense throughout the timeline of inhabitation. The distribution of programmes is designed to be mostly temporal, adjusted to the specific scenarios and seasons utilizing the movable features by the Moving Spaces. Curated in such programmatic framework, the urban condenser is acting as an extension of the informalities of Lagos with the incremental spaces and values.
This programmatic framework of PIXCITY is also condensed in a 15-Minutes urban ecosystem, where the distribution of living necessities is reachable and accessible within 15 minutes of walking and driving distance. The focus site is demarcated to be a walkable and smart vehicle district, avoiding heavy traffic to interfere the fluid movement internally. Within a compact yet dynamic configuration, the ecosystem shall complement multifunctional spaces inclusive of diverse communities. Such compact footprint shall easily capture the turbulent shifts of socio-technological landscapes nowadays, respond and adapt swiftly.
| Epilogue: A Pioneering Instantopia for All |
Contemplating the urban conditions of Lagos, the PIXCITY takes shape as a utopia for the community within its formalities and informalities- an Instantopia. It is thus a common ground for the urban dwellers, young entrepreneurs, digital nomads, tourists, and any kind of emerging societal forms; while also an incremental urban condenser for the existing communities, locals, workers, and the indigenous neighborhood. Orchestrated under this regime, Instantopia can be an urban extension, mediation, transition, and radiation at the same time- where a new paradigm shift pioneers to an ever-adapting urban landscape for all its inhabitants.