Shaping the city of tomorrow in east Asia: concepts, schemes and ideas for urban development from 1960s to 2010, and beyond

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There is a growing interest about the urban visions and architectural ideas and vocabulary behind the formation of the large urban conglomeration in Japan, South Korea and China, and how the seeds of Western planning theories and architectural design practice have helped shaping and building the contemporary cites along the vast regions of Asia Pacific Region, and frame a local language in envisioning the city of the future. Fuelled by an unprecedented economic boom in the recent decades, China has carefully planned a process of urbanization at a gigantic scale, supported by political will and determination in promoting a radical transformation of the economic system by shifting progressively from industry to services, and promoting the city as a fundamental element for this transition. South Korea and Japan are the models for this sort of urban transformation, both for the overall dynamics and the design and planning methods implemented, as South Korea experienced her fast urbanization process in the late 1980s whilst Japan has witnessed a great urban growth during the 1960s. Somewhat „old“ concepts and ideas imported from the Western planning traditions, such as the design of new towns, neighborhood units, gated communities, green belts and garden cities, high-rise living etc. are still essential practical elements implemented for the planning and design of the modern/contemporary urban landscape, and are largely adopted in the planning processes used in the structuring and organization of the cities and suburbs built in the region. New progressive concerns related to environmental, social and technological issues such as the Climate Change, growing pollution, the need for sustainable planning and more energy efficient, smart and ecofriendly devices for transportation and domestic use, the constant ageing of the population, among others, call now for very new ideas and bold and innovative schemes in the design and development of cites in East Asia, as well as around the world. Reflecting on the contributions from East Asia to the discourse of planning and design a city for the future as promoted by single actors, larger cultural movements and national elites fostering economic ambitions and political agendas of autocratic forces (e.g. from the experimental cities by the Metabolists in Japan, to the more pragmatic urban development projects fostered by local and national governments in South Korea and China), it can be worthy trying to explain some of the key socio-economic factors and planning engines which have dramatically and radically transformed the skylines of the most dynamic and growing influential area of the world at the dawn of 21st century, as well as briefly describe the origins of the various forms and elements of the modern built environments which have been shaped and molded by these same forces, and how/whether these urban forms embody a true genuine East Asian vision of the city of the future, and what is the current trend in terms of new urban forms and architectural design research at the beginning of 21st century.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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