A new exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture explores what urban areas may look like in a post-metropolitan world.
The exhibition, called “Infra Eco Logi Urbanism,” is based on four years of research by the Canadian architecture practice RVTR and specifically examines the Great Lakes Megaregion — a North American metropolitan area that spans the U.S. and Canada. This is the exhibition’s third stop, having previously been on display in Montreal and Toronto before opening here on Monday. Organizers explained that the exhibit’s aim is to frame global problems on a regional scale, and show viewers the importance of collaboration across urban areas in times of crisis.
“The exhibition is kind of a landscape,” Kathy Velikov, a partner at RVTR, said. “You move through it and you can make connections across ideas. Urbanism and urban design isn’t about one singular vision or a grand scene, but about a series of activities across time and space.”
Housed on the first floor of the School of Architecture, the exhibit features dozens of suspended panels depicting various aspects of RVTR’s research. The research itself can be organized into subunits on energy, environmental, and social crises, though Velikov noted the exhibit is meant to be fluid.
Throughout the exhibition hall, visitors can view regional maps, photographs, writings, and other architectural projects. The intent is to explore how the future of design will solve the energy and the environment-related challenges facing the Great Lakes Megaregion, organizers said.
Researchers said RVTR chose the GLM because of its economic importance — as the largest U.S. megaregion, the GLM controls one fifth of the world’s supply of fresh water.
Despite the fact that New Haven is far beyond the GLM, partners at RVTR said they believe their research can be applied nationwide.
“Although the gallery has implications from the Great Lakes Megaregion, from our perspective, there is a much broader range of issues that we all have in common,” said Geoffrey Thun, a partner at RVTR and who was heavily involved in the exhibition. “These are issues that concern us all.”
Velikov noted that the research displayed at the exhibit could also be applied to regions such as the Northeast. She explained that the megaregion stretching from Boston to Washington, D.C. is undergoing many changes, adding that the exhibit also speaks to the ways different regions can cooperate on solving universal problems.
The exhibition closes on Nov. 20, at which point it will leave for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.