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Michael Sorkin (November 6, 2002)01:41:49

After an introduction by Eric Owen Moss, Michael Sorkin argues that the form of the city should be responsive to the site, climate and culture, and only where one of those elements is lacking should design be introduced.

He describes two utopian master plan projects, Weed Arizona, a new city located in a decommissioned military base, and Neurasia, a city in an undetermined location in Asia. Both of these stress social space and neighborhoods.

Sorkin describes several urban design projects he has worked on, including senior housing of the future, projects for Jerusalem and Beirut, and alterations to the University of Chicago campus. Sorkin’s master plans employ, in places, deliberate vagueness to suggest a range of possibilities. In all the projects, Sorkin stresses ecological and climactic considerations.

Sorkin describes several redevelopment projects for areas around New York City. In Far Rockaway, he proposes a pedestrian oriented low rise beach development. In Brooklyn he proposes inserting trees in several intersections and using those as the focus for variable density housing. For the Westside Waterfront Park, Sorkin proposes a water-taxi channel, and establishing a second promenade beyond the water-taxi lanes.

Sorkin lays out several proposals for the World Trade Center Site. His first proposals consist of converting the entire site into parkland, or other methods of addressing the entire site with one building. Once it became clear that the building footprints had become sacred, he proposed towers that deviate from typical office tower typology.

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