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Wanted: a Foster of fenestration

Tuesday, 13 May, 2014

Dan Hill cannot be accused of inactivity. Along with writing the City of Sound blog, which stands at the crossroads of urban design, culture and technology, he’s “executive director of futures” at Future Cities Catapult, a global centre of excellence on urban innovation, and he somehow finds time for the job of adjunct professor in the Design, Architecture and Building faculty at the University of Technology in Sydney. In this piece for Dezeen on the challenges posed by crumbling city infrastructures, Dan Hill is on song:

“Though it once seemed unlikely that we would have a Steve Jobs of thermostats and smoke alarms, it turns out that’s the culture Nest emerges from. And perhaps it suggests that we also need an Isozaki of insulation, a Foster of fenestration, a Prouvé of plumbing, a Rogers of rewiring, an Utzon of U-values… and more importantly again, a development or investment model that enables service retrofit within a market shaped to value that.”

Language note: Dan Hill applies alliteration there to nice effect and the use of words beginning with the same sound, which was once popular with poets, is now beloved of rappers. The late Tupac Shakur’s If I Die 2Nite is typical: “My enemies scatter in suicidal situations / Never to witness the wicked shit that they was facin.” By the way, most of Shakur’s songs revolved around themes Dan Hill would be familiar with: violence and hardship in crumbling cities.


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