Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2008.
Smooth City proposes a new way to reclaim the urban downtown as a living part of the city – a place of work, commerce, recreation, and most critically, inhabitation. Instead of replacing offices with apartments, or diluting both offices and housing through default mixed-use scenarios, this project proposes a complex coexistence of different programs. Smooth City does not attempt to ‘mix’ housing and other programs, but rather to ‘smooth’ the thresholds between them. Whereas the model of the financial district operates on the principle of segmentation and discontinuity, equally dangerous is the opposite (and increasingly popular) model of radical continuity through ‘aesthetic smoothness.’ Instead this project proposes a ‘programmatic smoothness’ which blurs the boundaries between housing and other programs, but maintains their differences. It is a condition in which a person can relate to a private space as both her own, and as a part of an urban whole. It is the potential to create civic space without civic program.