The idea that technology will fix complex and systemic problems like climate change, poverty, the housing crisis or health care is simplistic to say the least. We need a radical shift in how we live, and designing for environmental and social sustainability cannot simply be about applying new technologies to our existing models of living.
We need to support models of living that can both improve our actual well-being and reduce material demands on the planet. Existing models of urban development that can achieve these goals are taking hold across North America. One example is collaborative housing or cohousing. As municipalities consider the development of smart cities, they have to consider how citizens contribute to the relative “intelligence” of a city. Cohousing is just one such model as it both a form and a process of design for co-operation that helps create vibrant and resilient communities.
Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs is mapping out a new kind of neighbourhood that would redevelop a 12-acre waterfront district in Toronto called Quayside from “the internet up.”