Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kinko Tochi or when the future of cities almost happened - Re-visiting Vacation Rental's concepts

image credit Frieze. 

Reading Amelia Groom's essay (Frieze march issue) on the Japanese manifesto 'Metabolism 1960' the other day sparked a little debate here on whatever happened to the future of cities and where do we stand now, focusing on vacation rentals, are we swimming against or flowing within that vision?
The vision, in Amelia's words, is a promise of

" design spaces for living bodies that would be more in line with the metabolic processes of those bodies, they conceived of cities as living, moving and evolving creatures. Buildings would be adaptable organisms perpetually rejuvenating themselves; the metropolis would be a verb rather than a noun."

nagakin capsule tower. im. credit stephendavidsmith.net

Cities as verbs. Super-organisms evolving and changing. Living as a pret-a-porter, a snack. Humans flowing through cities as blood through cells. Travel as compulsion rather than occasion, closing that circle that started as nomadism and to nomadism gets in this fin-de-siècle (siècle meant as civilization) we're living in.
kenji-ekuan-dwelling-city-1963.jpg. Credit relationalthought.com

Where do we stand? Looking from inside out it all seems to boil down to the dichotomy of Hotels Vs Vacation Rentals, a trivial commercial war underscoring fundamentally different interpretations of the future. Assuming Metabolism is happening and the state-of-traveling ever more is going to be a state-of-being, can living be just a snack that can be cleaned up and served or should it rather be somewhat unpredictable, open, in one word, personal?
'My house is your house'... up to a degree, for a given timeframe and for a fee, rest assured. Yet if you spend most of your life out of your own capsule, you may as well borrow a piece of my own life rather than eat and digest yet one more snack.
Where are we heading? To a post-human that will accept alienation as a state-of-being or rather to a 'What's Mine is Yours - The Rise of Collaborative Consumption' kind of future.
We're betting on the latter...


  1. Hey James, thank you! We really appreciate your words. Eager to have you among our readers.

  2. check Urbanized, a documentary about the design of cities:
    Urbanized Film Trailer