Within the next decade, cities will accommodate two-thirds of the world’s population on less than 3% of the world’s land. Under the pressures of this unprecedented global urbanization, cities everywhere are grappling with increasingly dire social, environmental and climate change problems. How cities are ‘zoned’ will influence fundamentally how they address these problems.
As architects and urban designers increase their use of AI it is an opportunity for them to engage in how zoning will guide and regulate their work. Our lecture is designed to introduce students in architecture and urban design programs to the impact of zoning systems on the built environment and to question with them what the role of zoning will be in the future as AI tools become more prevalent in design and city planning. Through our lecture we hope to engage students in thinking practically, philosophically, and technologically about the future role of zoning as AI capabilities open new possibilities for design in the urban environment.
Our lecture will be organized in three parts: 1] a global overview of how zoning has worked in the past to impact the built environment; 2] some specific examples of how zoning is being used now in sustainability-driven master planning projects and 3] Open discussion with students about the future of zoning with the rise of AI use in design. Discussion questions could include: How can zoning respond to the growing use of AI in design? How can zoning systems evolve themselves to use AI tools to regulate urban development? Or will traditional ideas about zoning become obsolete and be replaced by new technologically advanced methods for city planning?