“The vision (of the Megacity) was clearly democratic. These cities were propaganda for choice. (The architects) … argued that an architecture based on Mobility and Malleability could set people free.” – Michael Sorkin, American architect and architectural critic
Mobility in architecture and urbanism concerns the speed and ease with which people are able to move through and between architectural or urban spaces. How people move through architectural and urban space shapes their impressions of a particular building or city in important ways.
Mobility in Modern Architecture and Urbanism
Characterizations of modern architecture and urban life have been significantly influenced by ideas about mobility. Over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the boat, the train, the tram, the subway, the automobile, and the airplane each generated exciting and overwhelming feelings of free movement through and between urban spaces. Greater mobility through space also became associated with broader ideas regarding an individual’s economic, political, and social freedom. In the interests of facilitating greater urban mobility, new technologies such as long-span footbridges, the use of moldable glass enclosures in roofs and walls, and large air-conditioned indoor spaces all began to be integratedinto architecture.
Mobility, Modern Architecture, and Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, architects and planners began to create increasingly complex ensembles of commercial spaces interwoven with air-conditioned footbridges and underground passages that span roads, ease traffic, and generate unique urban experiences. These ideas related not only to the improvement of mobility in and around the city, but to the specific climatic conditions of Hong Kong as well. At the same time, the influence of mobility may be seen, not only in Hong Kong’s modern architectural and urban development, but in cities like London, New York, and Tokyo.