Reading Time: 3 min | Jun 2024

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iF Design Trend Report: What does future Urbanization look like, Giulia Frittoli?

In this exclusive excerpt of the iF Design Trend Report 2024, you find an enlighting interview with Giulia Frittoli, Bjarke Ingels Group, Copenhagen, about city life in the future.

iF Design: The inclusive design of products, services or the built environment aims to take into account the needs of all people in a society and to break down social barriers and discrimination. In what way do urban development and third places play a decisive role?

Urban development is a means for change and brings people together. Similarly, third places such as public squares, libraries and community centers make space for social interaction, and nurture a sense of belonging to a neighborhood, a city, a society. Our Superkilen parc (first image & images below) in Copenhagen exemplifies designing spaces that are inclusive of all cultures, genders and ages. The intention was to design a unifying parc in one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods of Denmark. We divided the park into three color-coded areas, each with a distinct atmospheric and functional condition, and integrated more than 100 objects from 60 cultures.

Similarly, our site-specific installation 50 Queens explored social equality in the public realm by looking at gender representation in public monuments. Both projects feature objects and landscaping details that spark reflection by shaping urban spaces where nature and cultural realms not only intertwine but also mutually serve and Enhance each other. Cities of the future will be designed to improve the quality of life for humans, flora and fauna, recognizing how environmental and social systems have evolved and will continue to evolve.

Giulia Frittoli, Bjarke Ingels Group

Giulia Frittoli was named as BIG Landscape Partner in 2021 and is a key leader within the BIG Landscape, joining BIG Copenhagen in 2020 after three years at BIG NYC. A Senior Landscape Architect with a multi-disciplinary background in urban design, architecture and landscape architecture, Giulia led the proposal for Toyota Woven City, investigating how recent technologies will shape the future of cities in regard to new forms of mobility, sustainability, ecology and human connectivity. Giulia first joined BIG in 2017 as project lead for the design of the Islais Hyper-Creek proposal for the Resilient by Design competition, exploring solutions to adapt and protect the Bay Area from rain flooding, rising sea levels and other environmental risks.

iF Design: The climate crisis is already having a significant impact on people’s health and quality of life. Climate adaptation describes measures that increase resilience to severe weather events and climatic extremes at a local level. In the future, cities in particular will implement adaptation measures in order to adjust to the consequences of climate change. Which measures will be particularly effective?

Cities can employ a variety of strategies, but how to enhance resilience, mitigate risk and improve wellbeing will vary depending on the context. We recently developed a masterplan for a new city development in Bhutan, the world’s first carbon-negative country, which implements climate resilience measures and combines them with flexible programming and placemaking tools. Located in the town of Gelephu (images below) in the south of the country, the 1000+ km2 masterplan protects existing and future development against flooding in the monsoon season by framing the city around its rivers and expanding existing corridors for water and wildlife. This gives rise to a series of bridges that connect the city across rivers and protected forest. Occasionally, the bridges are combined with civic and cultural facilities, creating a series of ‘inhabitable bridges’ that include, for example, a market, a university and a spiritual center.

iF Design: There are still numerous barriers to all-round sustainable design. In your opinion, which obstacles and barriers are currently particularly serious?

What framework conditions would have to change to enable architects and designers to work sustainably? In general, public policy can pose barriers for sustainable design, be it by regulations, limited financial incentives or lack of public awareness. To foster more resilient, less carbon-emitting designs, authorities can encourage companies and architects by aligning building codes with this mission. How authorities plan and adapt our urban space can unleash financial incentives for green construction as well as promote education and awareness campaigns. Long-term collaboration and supply chain development are also crucial to empower architects and designers to integrate sustainability into their projects effectively.

Want to read the whole interview, more expert views and a lot more about future design trends?

Download the iF Design Trend Report 2024 until 19 July for free!