Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape is a multi-year initiative of Van Alen Institute to explore the experience of escape in the urban environment.
Elsewhere is comprised of competitions, public programs, and research that investigate key questions of the contemporary urban experience: How and why do we escape from urban life? What prompts us to escape to the city? What forms of escape can we find within the urban environment? And how might the experience of going “elsewhere” contribute to our well-being? The Institute will use this process to expand its focus to the patchwork of suburban, semi-urban, and rural landscapes around cities to better understand the complexities of the extended urban environment, acting beyond the confines of the city and across regions.
Elsewhere will examine how both the form and organization of the built environment influence our need for escape. As part of this initiative, the Institute’s design competitions, research investigations, and public events will leverage partnerships to connect key issues in architecture, design, and planning with insights from fields including public health, technology, economics, and sociology. These collaborations will seek to spark innovations in design, planning, and policy to enhance well-being; ensure balanced and equitable urban transition and growth; and increase urban mobility and access.
Van Alen Institute will kick off Elsewhere with four days of festival-style programs, running from November 12–17, 2013, at the Institute and select venues throughout New York City. With offerings including performances, conversations, tours, installations, and workshops, the fall lineup will engage a diverse range of topics to provoke, enlighten, question, and critically examine the ideas of Elsewhere.