Designing Compact Cities

By: Paola Gavilanez   Erick Villagomez  

We focus on the process—and challenges— of ‘miniaturization’ in the built environment and the resulting importance of transdisciplinary design towards finding innovative solutions that do not sacrifice quality of living. Although there have been drastic changes to the nature of settlements since the dawn of civilization, many recurring processes exist for these. One such process is the concentration of people and densification of use and space. Despite the growth in discourse around the latter over the past decades, little attention has been paid to resulting impacts of this cultural trajectory and the role that design, at all scales, can play in its transformation. Miniaturization—the act of making objects and spaces smaller in size—is an operation intimately related to the processes of concentration and densification. While the standard solution of creating and stacking smaller spaces on top of one another speaks to the initial stages of miniaturization, we have reached the point where a transdisciplinary, multi-scalar approach to design (urban design, landscape, architecture, interior design and industrial design) is necessary to continue the process in a meaningful way—ensuring that quality of life is not sacrificed in the miniaturization process. Our presentation will describe the process of miniaturization as it pertains to the built environment, contextualize it historically, and highlight relevant case studies—focusing specifically on a winning proposal put forth for the Canadian-based Edmonton Infill Design Competition that explored living within a 300 square foot dwelling and that, ultimately, required a comprehensive transdisciplinary design approach.

Collaborations, Design Communities
Design Management and Professional Practice
Poster/Exhibit Session

Paola Gavilanez

Faculty, Interior Design Department, KPU - Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Canada
BC, Canada

Paola has been an interior design practitioner and educator for over 18 years. She is a faculty at KPU's (Kwantlen Polytechnic University) Interior Design Program in the Wilson School of Design in Vancouver, Canada. She is a Registered Interior Designer with a body of work that includes designing at the senior level for multiple projects both in the commercial and residential sectors.

Mr. Erick Villagomez

Instructor, Interior Design, Canada