Fables of Undiscovered Cities | SMarchS Thesis

Advisor: Rafi Segal
Readers: Azra Akšamjia, Brent D. Ryan

Humans have always felt a primordial urge to explore—to blaze new trails, to map new lands, and to ask profound questions about ourselves. The intangible desire to explore and challenge the boundaries of what we know and where we have been make us who we are and who we will become. The voyage of discovery consists not only in seeking new landscapes, but also in having new eyes; acquiring an external standard of criticism incites the journey of self-discovery and self-reflection. By opening a new world, we rediscover the old. As the discipline of urban design developed, designers engaged disciplines assisted by numerous technologies and applications. We have ambitions to digitize and analyze every corner of our existing world; however, in grasping the world more precisely and effectively, we give up the possibility of obscurity and the unknown. This thesis is a voyage aiming at the exploration of new possibilities of urban entities: the creation of a series of undiscovered dream worlds in order to rediscover the features of the real world we think we inhabit. These alternative dream worlds are designed not only to expose, engage, and open our eyes and minds, but also to evoke critical thinking and reflection on existing urban problems and urban structures of our present world. Stories and drawings are used to materialize those fictitious cities. The more convincing and detailed the cities appear, the more observation and analysis could be applied and developed. And by doing so, readers are invited to start their own adventures in the undiscovered territories.