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Towards A Post Man-made (Living) City

Part 2 Dissertation 2003
Annabelle Hargreaves
Manchester School of Architecture, UK
The concept of the 'sustainable city' is key to all those interested in the future of the city. Within the concept lies the predicament; can the city really become a sustainable life form?

To explore the issue of sustainability it is essential to examine the most enduring and sustainable phenomenon known to mankind: life on earth. Life exists by conforming to the parameters of living systems and it is by these, that i will evaluate the city's structure.

Through the comparative analysis of the city and living systems, my aim is to reduce the impact of humanity and propose a more sustainable methodology of not only dwelling, but more importantly, living, for man. this holistic, interactive approach is essential in all discussions of sustainability.

The findings from the above concepts are put together to form a framework to determine the sustainability of cities and the possibility of the aspiration of a 'living city' upon which designers can base their approach to the attainment of a sustainable future.

The architects responsibility to the future of humanity and its built environment is to focus emphasis upon the city, the collective group of buildings, rather than the individual. No longer can we consider a building exclusively. Urban planning and architecture must become inseparable disciplines. Man and environment must be able to exist equally; one without the other is unsustainable.

Annabelle Hargreaves

Annabelle sets about a wide ranging discussion with vigour and enthusiasm, developing a searching style which sets up multiple scenarios, some of which evolve into the basis of her proposition about 'living cities', and others of which do not.

It is this willingness to raise arguments ( and allow them to drop), from diffuse sources, coupled with a desire to come to grand conclusions which makes this an engaging piece of work.

The notion of process embodied within her proposition is also manifest within the structure of the dissertation; more possibilities are raised than area resolved, within what should be seen as her introductory statement of intent.

The position which Annabelle arrives at as a future for a 'Living Architecture' went on to become the basis for her studio design work, establishing a context for continued exploration using empirical methods.

The Manchester School of Architecture's nomination of Annabelle Hargreaves for the RIBA dissertation award is based upon her ability to open up a discussion from a strongly propositional stance whilst remaining undaunted by the enormity of the subject area, and coming to a conclusive position.

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