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The Permanent and Ephemeral

What does this mean for Urbanism?

Rahul Mehrotra

Cities have largely been imagined by architects and planners as permanent entities - artefacts where architecture and planning are the central instruments for their manifestation. Today, this basic assumption stands challenged on three counts. Firstly, because of the massive scale of the “informalization” of cities where urban space is constructed and configured outside the formal purview of the State - a phenomenon that has engulfed the globe in the last four decades. Secondly, on account of the massive shifts in demography occurring around the world. The phenomenon of the movement of large groups of people across national boundaries as a result of political instability will only be accelerated by climate change, the depletion and imbalance of natural resources or the rise of natural disasters. Lastly, the assumption that permanence is a default condition or the single...

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