“A hundred years after we began building with tall buildings, we have yet to understand how the tall, high-rise building becomes a building block in making a city… in creating the public realm,” says legendary architect and teacher Moshe Safdie of Safdie Architects in Boston. This is the driving force behind his TED talk on How to Reinvent the Apartment Building.

Emphasizing the importance of light, permeability, and nature, Safdie demonstrates how breaking the mold of the standard residential skyscraper could transform the urban environment and the experience of those living in high-density housing.

What if, instead of architects creating buildings only for those who can afford to commission them, regular citizens could design and build their own houses?

This is the concept at the heart of Wikihouse, an open source construction kit. With this tool, just about anyone can build a house, anywhere.

Alastair Parvin: Architecture for the people by the people

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mlt6kaNjoeI]
In this fascinating TED Talk, Architect Alastair Parvin explains his vision for 21st century architecture and design: With the prevalence of open source software, 3-D printers, and other technological advances, the focus of the design industry may now shift from “thinking big” to “thinking small.” Challenging the effectiveness and affordability of one-size-fits-all.

According to Parvin, the stars have aligned to allow us a new industrial revolution, one founded on the democratization of production. Watch as he gives us a one-day-build house, compares citizen-led urban development to the barn-raising cultures of 19th century societies, and evangelizes for open source pioneer Linus Torvalds‘s philosophy: Be lazy like a fox.

How does this strike you? Is it plausible? Practical? Do you think the IKEA-fication of architecture and construction is a good idea or a bad one? Leave us a comment!

MORE: The 10 Most Inspirational TED Talks for Architects