Shanzhai City
article by Tat Lam and Yeung Ho Man Legg
What Will Make Shenzhen the Next Innovative City?
Introduction to the Shenzhen paradigm shift In the mid 1990s, OMA, the architecture office led by Rem Koolhaas, published the book S,M,L,XL with the article ‘The Generic City’. They followed up a few years later with the book Great Leap Forward. Both publications describe the Pearl River Delta and Shenzhen’s urbanization issues in particular. [1] As a result of OMA’s analysis, Shenzhen became the focus of discussions and research on topics such as rural migrants serving the urban manufacturing industries [2]; the development strategy of large-scale infrastructure and government investment (...)

The New Urban Agenda –the Perspective of New Towns
Article by Michelle Provoost
The global urbanization, which is presently taking place, is predicted to lead to 70% of the global population living in cities by 2050. This makes clear that cities will define the social, economic, cultural and ecological quality of human life in the 21th Century. It stresses the importance to redefine what our cities should be and the necessity to involve all the parties that are engaged with planning, developing, governing and managing cities. In recognition of the urgency of improving cities, the “New Urban Agenda” will be ratified at the Habitat III conference in Quito, Ecuador in (...)

Bottom-up is not enough
Article by Michelle Provoost
In the sixth year of the global economic crisis some interesting shifts have become visible in the architecture world. The stream of great iconic buildings (designed by the likes of Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, OMA, Foster, etc.) commissioned by commercial developers has lost momentum. Prestigious projects that were the architectural contribution to the globally accelerating construction economy have stalled. Buildings that had no real bearing either on functional or cultural needs but rather worked as a businessmodel, connecting to global capital flows and serving the global competition (...)

A City of Comings and Goings
Article by Wouter Vanstiphout and Michelle Provoost
Scrolling through the long list of victims of Friday 13 November 2015 in Paris, we see a heart-rending portrait of a young cosmopolitan generation from very diverse backgrounds: from the banlieues to the world of international architecture. They are not only lucky students who have seen the world on fellowships or foreign tourists enjoying themselves in Paris’s concert venues and trendy bars. Some of the victims were French citizens who had emigrated from Chile as children; others have parents who emigrated from Algeria or Congo in the 1970s. The victims represent an urban class that is (...)

Tema Manhean
Article by Michelle Provoost
In 1952, a year after Kwame Nkrumah became the first Prime Minister of what was then the British colony of the Gold Coast (now Ghana), the decision was made to build a brandnew harbour as part of the ambitious Volta River Project. [7] For the relocation of Tema, a small fishing village that stood in the way of the new development, the English office of Maxwell Fry, Jane Drew and Denys Lasdun was engaged.

When Smart Cities are Stupid
article by Rachel Keeton
A few years ago, when ‘smart cities’ starting dominating the landscape of urban trends, it seemed like a pretty exciting model. Technology integrated into every aspect of daily life! A more convenient, comfortable urban experience for everyone! Right?

Chinese urbanization through the lens of Da Lang
Article by Linda Vlassenrood
Shenzhen is a city that has been raising eyebrows for years, because of its fast development and exceptional position. However, the everyday reality in Shenzhen can be unruly. As a city, Shenzhen mainly thinks in top-down strategies and simply adds new hardware – the sum of infrastructure, buildings and industries – in order to encourage urban and therefore economic growth. It is less interested in the question of which existing social dynamics need to be accepted or improved in order to strengthen the city’s potential, let alone the socio-economic conditions that are necessary to (...)

Making Housing Affordable in Fast-Growing Chinese Cities: A Shenzhen Perspective
article by Haotian Lin
Like many other Chinese cities, Shenzhen is experiencing intense spatial transformation. Downgraded neighborhoods are replaced with luxury housing, shopping malls and offices. Such development might improve the competitiveness of the city, but ignores the affordability of the city for lower-income groups. The reliance on the market parties to develop affordable housing has not produced satisfying results. The ‘old’ Danwei housing, which is profusely present throughout the city, has a number of qualities that make it attractive for redevelopment. Might it solve the shortage of affordable (...)

The Dream of a Lifestyle: Master-Planned Communities and the New Tools of Exclusion
article by Tobias Armborst, Daniel D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore [INTERBORO]
’New Towns & Politics’
In the Bill Clinton-endorsed book The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America Is Tearing Us Apart, Bill Bishop warns that while America is diverse, “the places where we live are becoming increasingly crowded with people who live, think, and vote as we do,” and that “our country has become so polarized, so ideologically inbred, that people don’t know and can’t understand those who live just a few miles away.” [8] Similarly, Gerald Frug, in Citymaking: Building Communities without Building Walls, writes that “the overall impact of American urban policy in the twentieth century has been (...)

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