The office park or campus is a global phenomenon. Currently, the most gigantic and contagious versions are free zone enclaves offering glittering skylines and generous legal exemptions to attract investors. But labor usually ends up on the losing end of these deals, and investing in existing cities rather than newly minted enclaves would return more benefits to the economies of host countries.
When cities like Las Vegas, Detroit, and Seattle do build downtown campuses rather than exurban enclaves, what sort of precedent do they set in the global urban network? Often the investors in these downtown scenarios are regarded as saviors that come bearing cash, jobs, revenues, and other progressive gifts to a grateful city.
In Gift City, architect and theorist, Keller Easterling assembles a heaping pile of gifts to make visible the flood of assets and advantages that cities, like the ones mentioned above, already bring to the table for their investors and citizens. While econometrics rule the world, the project attempts to demonstrate the value of a spatial portfolio of urban arrangements and relationships. With portfolios like these, cities around the world might reappraise their worth and make a better bargain for their future. Image: Vittorio Lovato