Monday, January 10, 2011

Interesting New Book...

The WSJ recently ran a story on this new book that analyzes the importance of building communities as opposed to just a collection of disparate buildings.  Le Corbusier would have hated this idea but history has proven him so wrong that maybe his disapproval would be a sign of being correct.

Anyhow, the book examines this theory through the lens of the increasingly dense development of China:

To accommodate ballooning populations, Chinese urban planners are building super-zoned residential enclaves. But as they have raced to shelter the masses, policymakers have forgotten to build them actual neighborhoods.

A newly published architectural book, “Networks Cities,” suggests how Chinese urban planning can sprout actual neighborhoods, not just collections of apartment buildings.

The authors, a husband-and-wife team of architects who run a Shanghai firm called B.A.U., have done master plans in China for almost a decade. (Disclosure: the architects are friends of the reporter.)

What’s needed, write James Brearley and Fang Qun, is a strategy of “urbanism with its land uses organized into networks of continuity, adjacency and superposition”–a physics term that essentially means overlapping. In urban planning terms, the authors’ goal is to intertwine living, working and playing spaces in ways they say is rare in China today.

Chad Emerson, Faulkner

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