Ella Murphy Vertical Futures
Vertical Futures is a three-phase photographic exploration of the urban environment. It
examines the connection between the urban landscape and the natural environment and more
specifically, how we live in tandem between both. With roots in New Urbanism, Vertical Futures
aims to spark thought and conversation about how we live within our city. The purpose of these
phases is to emphasize the process of development, not only referring to land use but also the
development of ideas, processes and frameworks.
Phase One is a typological series of photographs looking at the repetitive, monotonous nature
of recent condominium developments. This series alludes to the archaic zoning laws in the city
of Toronto that have prevented the generation of alternative housing types outside of high rise
condos and single-family houses. Overall, Phase One encourages viewers to think critically
about the types of housing we have in Toronto and how these laws and regulations have
prevented such sustainable and affordable housing options.
Phase Two consists of six transparent inkjet prints of architectural plans. These plans were
originally created by architects including Jean Nouvel and Precht Architects. These plans were
manipulated to represent the historical process of creating blueprints in an architectural setting.
By creating digital negatives from these computer-aided designs, the connection between
original processes and contemporary ones are created. From here the viewer is led to consider
historical urban living and neighbourhood structures, something that New Urbanism values very
highly. The question posed for this phase is: what are the possibilities in fulfilling, sustainable
and connected urban life?
Phase Three of Vertical Futures is a large format collage that adopts an idealist and surrealist
view of what Toronto could look like. Based on the principles of New Urbanism which include
walkability, connectivity, mixed-use and diversity, mixed housing, quality architecture and urban
design, traditional neighbourhood structure, increased density, green transportation and
sustainability one can start to conceptualize a city that works not just for them on an individual
basis but also for the population and environment as a whole.