Caught between faust and faux: development and city design (An earlier version of this paper was published in Chines. See . Tridib Banerjee "From Faust to Faux: Concomitant Challenges for Urban Design In China" (translated in Chinese by Wan Li and Yang Yuzhen) New Architecture. 06:126-130.)

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This paper considers the challenges of contemporary urban design in the developing world China in particular, but “Asia” more generally – in the face of rapid economic growth and explosive urbanization. This extraordinary growth led by the deliberate state policy in collusion with local and global capital has provoked many scholarly ruminations. Editors of a recent book celebrate ”the urban dreams, projects, and practices” as a “worlding” phenomenon that eludes the conventional frames of political economy or postcolonialism. But the urban outcome and “dreams” of this rapid development "Faustian". In scope is neither authentic nor sustainable. The absence of authenticity and sustainability is reflected in what one critic describes as the "original copies" in discussing the rise of simulacrum and simulacrascape in China. This paper argues however that mimesis, not unique to China, is inevitable, in the absence of genuine endogenous response as the exigencies of global capital leaves little time for reflection and deliberation. The paper concludes by making a case for an urban design manifesto for China, and the global south more generally based on considerations of cultural continuity, livability, social justice, and sustainability.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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