The global population will continue to grow in the coming decades, despite social tensions, climate change and increasing scarcity of resources. Even today, more and more people live in megacities and urban areas with high population density. Mexico City or Mumbai are bursting at the seams. Disturbances within the social systems due to economic, demographic and migration-influences factors, a global economy prone to crises and the necessity for an energy revolution and a sustainable food supply will intensify the pressure for change on industrial and emerging nations in the years to come. At the same time, in parts of the world there exists a sphere of previously unknown affluence, within which consumption-fed individualism is thriving.
In order to be able to actively shape the future, the intellectual, social and technical principles of the present must be reconsidered. Only once we know what kind of future we want can we undertake concrete steps to make it a reality. Because all areas of life today are interconnected and mutually dependent, it is every bit as important to think about innovative concepts for mobility as about energy supply systems based on renewable, non-fossil sources. In this context, the complex and sometimes chaotic urban structures of the metropolis constitute a laboratory for the advancement of a critical examination of architecture, transport policies, mobility concepts and urban development. Architects and urban planners are called upon to give objective consideration to various modes of mobility in a society that is characterized by increasingly nomadic traits. In the future, will mobility mean something other than quickly, safely and comfortably getting from one place to another? In the midst of an accelerated life, can the act of staying in one place be redefined? Which role will the electronic networking of information play, which roles will public transportation, individual transportation, large companies or active urban planning play? The Audi Urban Future Award aims to analyze the future of our cities in the context of questions of mobility, and to offer concrete suggestions for their reconfiguration.
Because transformation cannot be achieved without the competence and participation of large corporations, the Audi brand is leading the way. As a premium manufacturer in the automotive industry, Audi is confident that there will be cars in the city of the future.
Nonetheless, Audi has recognized the importance of conducting an open discussion over the direction in which mobility will develop. With this project, Audi emphasizes that the company is prepared to rise to the complex challenges posed by the future, whether technical, social, political or aesthetic, and to acknowledge its responsibility.
At the heart of the Audi Urban Future Award is a competition between six internationally renowned architectural firms. Stylepark has selected these architects because they demonstrate original perspectives and a consistent interdisciplinary approach in projects that have been realized throughout the world, thereby achieving results that transcend traditional architectural practices.
The participating architects will be confronted with the task of developing concrete scenarios, models, visions and images that make a changed reality socially, technically, economically, ecologically and aesthetically tangible, without losing sight of the contribution a company like Audi can and must make. In keeping with the theme of mobility, concepts should illustrate what future solutions could look like and where they could be implemented; in other words, they should offer concrete examples of where the future can take root. That means to develop alternatives to current models on both a large and a small scale, to investigate realms of possibility and to trust in the power of visions without losing sight of substantive interests.
A dedicated website (www.audi-urban-future-award.com) will monitor the progress of each contribution throughout all stages of development, and the process will also be documented and discussed in publications. During a two-day event that will take place in London in mid-April, initial results will be presented in an internal workshop and the project will be opened up for discussion in the context of a public conference. Finally, all six visions for the future will be presented in a comprehensive exhibition parallel to the 12th Architecture Biennale in Venice, at which an international jury will select the winner.