This semester Central Florida was investigated, a territory that has changed radically in the last century; in a relatively short period, a multi-layered urban topography has covered the near-tropical wilderness. The area’s complexity results from an interaction of different processes: the forces driving urban growth such as the north-to-south migration, a booming tourism, raw materials production, and intensive agriculture, stand now in contrast with the strengthening of the nature preservation movements, and with the increasing natural threats such as hurricanes, frosts and sea level rise. During the semester, through the lenses of urbanism, cartography, statistics, and photography we aimed to decode these new forms of urbanization.
For the past two years, ETH Studio Basel has been investigating processes of transformation and urbanization of territories – the areas extending beyond the traditional urban cores and metropolitan centers. The projects in the Nile Valley and Italy have shown that, under the conditions of globalization, increasing migrations, explosive population growth and mass mobility, once rural territories transform into novel urban landscapes. Such urban territories attain density of functions and meanings as complex as cities themselves, while at the same time being exposed to different, specific modes of urban appropriation.