After taking on rising sea levels and the foreclosure crisis, the Museum of Modern Art's newly activist architecture and design department is set to tackle the megacity.
The museum on Thursday announced an exhibition and series of design workshops collectively called "Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities."
Organized by MOMA curator Pedro Gadanho, the project will analyze the growth of six huge cities around the world: New York; Rio de Janeiro; Mumbai, India; Lagos, Nigeria; Hong Kong and Istanbul, Turkey.
Two design teams have been named to lead the research on each city, a group of firms that includes URBZ from Mumbai and New York's Situ Studio.
The broader focus will be rapid urbanization around the world and the struggle of planners, architects and policymakers to address it. By 2030, Gadanho points out, the world population will hit 8 billion, with two-thirds of that total living in cities.
The subject is no doubt timely. Gadanho's challenge will be to avoid duplicating or rehashing the work that has been done recently by architects, filmmakers and curators in this area.
Ricky Burdett's 2006 Venice Architecture Biennale, the documentary "Urbanized" and another MOMA show, "Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement," among other initiatives, all covered similar territory.
After a year of research and public workshops in the six cities, the project is to culminate in an exhibition at MOMA opening in November 2014. It follows two other recent MOMA shows on the relationship between architects and environmental or economic change. "Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront" opened in 2009, followed by "Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream" in 2011.