The suburbs have received an increasingly negative reputation due to their poverty-stricken beginnings in the 1920s, and their continued evolution into cookie-cutter, isolated communities for the middle class American in the 21st century. When we think of these family-dominated communities, we typically feel a sense of dystopian fear, an anxiety that lingers somewhere between an absolute lack of cultural vibrancy and an environmental headache due to the infrastructure’s heavy reliance on vehicles.
However, architect Louise Braverman sees something different for the suburbs moving forward. Braverman has devoted her life to building sustainable architecture that strikes a balance between art and consciousness. Her interest is in the wicked problems, and the suburbs—a community construct to which more than half of Americans call home—is a sensible next step. On display at the TIME SPACE EXISTENCE biennial exhibition in Venice, Braverman’s speculative research focuses on reimagining suburban life, and exploring the ways in which hyperloop technology can set the foundation for reinvigorating these communities.
Popularized in the media by business and technology mavens such as Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson, the hyperloop is a high-speed subterranean transport system. By closing the gap between rural, suburban, and urban areas, for example, it lessens constraints and opens up dialogue around how exactly individuals want to live and curate their life. Louise Braverman believes a possible future lies in thoughtfully designed suburban spaces, where the art of architecture and urban planning that is commonly applied to cities can be contextualized for smaller communities with different needs. By exploring this future through speculative research, she anticipates on inspiring suburban transformation so they can become more attractive living spaces for the next generation.
Braverman’s work can be further explored in a recent short film created by PLANE—SITE, a global agency working at the interface of urban form, cultural space and social life.