When Christopher Zegras started studying the way cities work, in the early 1990s, it wasn’t in a classroom, and he wasn’t pursuing a formal academic project. Instead, Zegras was a recent college graduate who had majored in economics and Spanish, and was trying to combine both of those interests in his first real job. As such, he had found a position in Santiago, the capital of Chile, working in finance.
“Chile had been going through its re-emergence as a democracy, and I wanted to see what that was like,” Zegras says.
While extreme concentrations of poor racial minorities, briefly `rediscovered' as a social problem by media in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, declined significantly in the 1990s, no research has determined whether the trend reduced exposure to poor neighbourhoods over time or changed racial gaps in exposure. Yet most hypotheses about the social and economic risks of distressed neighbourhoods hinge on such exposure.
ReNew Town puts forth an innovative vision of performative design and planning for low-carbon sustainable development, and illustrates practicable strategies for balancing environmental systems with urban infrastructure and new housing prototypes.