|Not Patrik Schumacher|
I was looking at posting something about architectural 3D printing but instead was lured to post about the recent comments of Patrik Schumacher, director of Zaha Hadid Architects, at the World Architecture Festival. This is the most excitement the World Architecture Festival has had in years! And though I don't often post about urban planning nor court controversy on the blog now that some time has past and dust settled we can return to ask: what was he thinking?!?!?
Schumacher has since walked back his statements on slashing public housing and privatizing public spaces. He retreated to the common position others have taken that he was just trying to raise awareness of the issue. I will take him at his word on that. But a lot can be perceived from other's reactions to his statement about the forces which shaped what he said and why people supported it. U.K. developers, for instance, seem to be siding with Schumacher that there is too much regulation. I feel safe in assuming Schumacher has never need avail himself of subsidized housing which, at least in part, explains why he was so dismissive of a whole group of people in coming to his conclusion. In walking his statements back he continued to suggest too much regulation is hurting the development of low income housing. I'm sympathetic toward this argument since I sit next to a copy of the National Building Code and it's a beast to build with. That said, if less regulations were a panacea for better social housing, non-profits were non-existent in their support if it. Public housing advocates knew he was out to lunch; economists as well. The free market does many things well but it's a mistake to think it's perfect and low-income housing is one of those pragmatic necessities for a city that defies an easy market solution. I actually don't think I'm saying anything particularly controversial in the field of economics but in many ways this breaks down to a classic Marxist analysis and many do not like mixing politics and architecture.
Schumacher will live to design another day but apparently he has taken a position only he himself will be able to resolve the contradictions of.