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The former treats the project of the city as a cultural, political, and aesthetic act; the latter views the city as a site for urbanization, articulated through architecture, landscape, and infrastructure.
This endeavor is analytical and propositional in equal measure. Each year, the Project on China focuses on a theoretical problem and practical challenge posed by the model of the developmental city in China, using a particular city as an exemplar.
The first year focuses on the problem of the megaplot, the basic planning unit for rapid and speculative urbanization, using Xiamen as a case study. The second year investigates the future of the city in city-regions and the effects of crossborder urbanization, with Macau as the paradigm.
The third year examines the status of the countryside in the context of state-driven initiatives to urbanize rural areas.
In a symposium held in Shanghai to inaugurate the AECOM Project, a Chinese city planner declared that, at present, architecture is unable to shape the fate of the city. This reflected his frustration at the impotence of architecture but also offered an insight into the way cities in China are realized today.
The architecture of the developmental city arises from this demand and must conform to this regime.
Cities are not exclusively engines of economic growth. The city, at its most rarefied conception, is an artifact of civilization, an artifact made up of its architecture, infrastructure, and landscape.
It is the outcome of the cultural, political, social, and aesthetic achievement of its citizens. It reflects the moral and ethical values of a society, the way we live and the way we want to live. The city is a space of coexistence; at its best, it is a space for the common good.
This report brings together design projects from a sixteen-week studio with research and writings on cultural, political, and historical aspects of the city. It presents a critical reflection on the developmental city and the megaplot within the context of a city that embodies these concerns.
It is not a blueprint for immediate implementation but a document that sows the seed for an alternative idea of the city for China, one that is rooted in its long history and culture.
Thus the ideas of the city here are expressed through architecture and landscape, mutually dependent and reciprocal elements that envision the city as a common framework. My deep appreciation and thanks to Peter Rowe, Jianfei Zhu, Ling Fan, and all the students for their contributions to the studio research.
Last, my deep-felt thanks to Simon Whittle, my teaching associate, for his intelligence, tenacity, and artistry. Lee The contemporary Chinese city is a developmental city fig.
In the developmental city, the political legitimacy of the governing party is sustained by, above all other considerations, its ability to initiate, promote, and administer economic growth. The developmental city uses the megaplot as a basic planning module.
This oversized tract can vary greatly in size between urban areas and the peripheries of the city. It is an efficient planning apparatus that allows the government to urbanize rapidly by shifting to developers the investment required for infrastructure.
The state is responsible only for widely spaced infrastructure; the developer must provide infrastructure and public goods within the plot.
The basic parcel of a master plan, the megaplot is represented by a colored patch indicating use. The lack of architectural and spatial attributes promotes efficiency in planning and land transactions.
The megaplot is a tabula rasa, a condition that is favored by speculative developers for the speed and freedom of development it offers. Within the megaplots, buildings are regulated by planning parameters that result in either freestanding towers in large unconsolidated open spaces or colossal superblock housing developments, gated luxury communities or, in the cheaper version, unrelenting rubber-stamped blocks.
The urbanization of these megaplots results in the dissolution of the city as a legible artifact; the civic dimension and public sphere play no part.
This sea of speculative enclaves does not constitute any idea of the city, either in the European tradition, as a space of coexistence, or in the Chinese sense, as an administrative framework with a clear and legible deep structure.
What is lost is the idea of the city as a common space par excellence. This essay argues that a critical reading of the history and tradition of city making in China has the potential to counter this imbalance in development. It does not aspire to a re-creation of the city form or urban fabric of ancient China.
Rather, it proposes a recuperation of the cultural and philosophical ideas that have underpinned the political, artistic, and aesthetic production of the city as a total work of art—a collective artifact.
InManuel Castells referred to Singapore as a developmental city-state.
First, the state prioritizes the transformation of economic conditions above everything else. Second, economic development is elevated to a high status both due to its larger goals and as an end in itself.
Singapore is ruled by a one-party system with a highly centralized decision-making structure that micromanages all aspects of economic and social development. A city conceived through this ideology is always in a state of becoming; continually remolded according to a political agenda, the city is made suitable and adaptive for capital accumulation following the economic logic of neoliberalism.
As Koolhaas declared inthis developmental model is being implemented in cities across China. Oi has argued that this concept of the developmental state was attractive to the Chinese government, but with one crucial difference: Local officials act as the equivalent of a board of directors and sometimes more directly as the chief executive officers.Case 7-Eleven in Taiwan: Adaptation of Convenience Stores to New Market Environments Section B: Crafting Words: — Pages: 3.
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