ParadoXcity is a design/research initiative founded by Jorg Sieweke

Studios and workshops investigate a series of Delta Cities in a climate of change. The goal of the comparative research is to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the swampy ground these cities share, to allow for an informed outlook into their future.

Delta cities have been impelled to manage the advantages and disadvantages of their geographical setting from the first day. Similar patterns of modernization can be found in their asynchronous historic development, for example in the rise and fall of New Orleans and Venice during past centuries. Both former empires are sinking and shrinking as a consequence of loosing their adaptive capacities to a belief of control and order over nature during the process of modernization.

Have we ever been modern?

DeltaCities have been and will be the avantgarde in a process of adapting to various economic ecologic and socio-cultural changes imposed on other cities as well. In a dynamic environment of change, how can these cities stay fit to sustain a state of stability and not risk to decay in a state of stagnation?

Beginning with a critical reading of the shortcomings in the modernization of Venice other DeltaCities are studied as comparative research cases. How can the generalist professions landscape architecture and urbanism help to develop strategies that mediate future transformation processes?

Cities like Baltimore and New Orleans have long surpassed the climax of economic wealth and growth based on mass-goods and mass-production. They are in the middle of transitioning into a post-fordist society. The high-carbon, high-investment and high maintenance mono-functional  infrastructure systems of the massive modernization of the past 100 years are largely dis-functional today as they meet the end of their lifespan. ParadoxCity aims to identify solutions for designing the next generation of public urban infrastructure systems. Instead of rebuilding them along the static, mono-functional, modernist paradigm, alternative solutions are explored.

The next generation of infrastructure needs to be multipurpose, publicly accessible,  decentralized, resilient and adaptable to unforeseeable parameters. The performance of these systems will be based on the rediscovery of the capacities of natural processes that have been devalued for to long. Sustainable infrastructure solutions are conceived by merging the capacity of natural processes with today’s technologies.

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