Architecture + Social Agency

Resilient City, Resilient Neighborhood

A resilient city is comprised of resilient neighborhoods. A resilient neighborhood is one where individuals, communities, institutions and businesses, linking to wider systems, survive, adapt and transform, no matter what kind of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience[1].

Resilience is important because we live in unprecedented times. Cities around the world are growing at around one million people per week, mostly in poorer countries ill-prepared for the challenge. Climate change is resulting in more flooding and weather extremes, making urban floods the most expensive form of disaster. Globally, forced population movements are at the highest since the Second World War, with most displaced people and refugees living in cities. And, while cities possess huge wealth and opportunity, they are also home to hundreds of millions of people trapped in poverty, marginalisation and social exclusion.

This studio will engage with these issues through working on a real project - the redevelopment of St Canice Parish. The site, located in a dense area of Kings Cross, currently comprises a church, refugee centre, soup kitchen, community group meetings, rooftop garden, asylum seekers’ accommodation and offices. The parish is located in a fast-gentrifying area of Sydney that is still home to some of the most vulnerable people in the city.

The studio will work concurrently at two levels. At the practical level with studio will problem solve issues of siting, space, light, form and access. At the strategic level the studio will consider and question wider societal and structural issues such as policy and the relevance of urban interventions at a time of rapid urban change.

[1] Based on the Rockefeller Foundation’s definition of urban resilience