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Old September 10th, 2013, 09:42 AM   #221
skyridgeline
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Shenzhen's infrastructure and sheer size and vision is mind-boggling. In such a short amount of time to create such a megalopolis only the Chinese can do.

But it seriously lacks character and a sense of community. It's not 'human-scale' and inviting. No beauty either, a Le Corbusier nightmare come true some have called it. I hate to think that these are the cities we will all inherit in the not-too-distant future. These cities may 'work' for heavily populated Asia and their mentality but most Westerners will find them very hard to warm too. As a tourist they're interesting, even amazing, but to live in is another story...a horror story.

Hong kong Island's urban jungle ( you are warned Pansori ):

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Old September 10th, 2013, 08:42 PM   #222
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I cannot disagree more. Every single statement you made here is simply not true. At least judging from my personal experience which by now is not that insignificant.

Oh yes, and I say that as someone who has actually lived in both worlds.
I think you are looking at the place through 'rose-tinted foreign glasses'.

Shenzhen is a Le Corbusier inspired city, a misplaced vision.

http://youtu.be/8lyZzou4mDM?t=21m
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Old September 10th, 2013, 08:44 PM   #223
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Great, very nice new photos from Shenzhen; well done
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Old September 10th, 2013, 08:57 PM   #224
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Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
I think you are looking at the place through 'rose-tinted foreign glasses'.

Shenzhen is a Le Corbusier inspired city, a misplaced vision.

http://youtu.be/8lyZzou4mDM?t=21m
You should think again perhaps. As someone who was born and lived in a Le Corbusian urban environment (which was, in fact, much closer to the original Le Corbusian idea than Shenzhen is) for at least the first 20 years of my life I'm pretty confident I know what I'm saying and how I see the place. Your statements are completely contradictory to my experience in every aspect and in every step I went there. Although they might be true in some places. Perhaps in Pyongyang?

It does help to spend time in different, opposing, urban environments based upon contradicting urban planning ideologies in which I have lived. That helps to build a more comprehensive (as opposed to rose-tinted) and less complacent understanding of what I see, how it works and why. I tend to stick to the scientific method when I evaluate such things. Which is why I don't buy or care of arguments like 'horror'. You need to explain the details, show the proof which I and others can test later and give an evaluation. Anything else is a waste of my time and perhaps something that could not be ruled out as trolling.

Last edited by Pansori; September 10th, 2013 at 09:12 PM.
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Old September 10th, 2013, 09:48 PM   #225
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For those who couldn't waste time on checking the whole thread I set a quick video slideshow with some of the photos (not all)

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Old September 10th, 2013, 11:47 PM   #226
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Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
Shenzhen's infrastructure and sheer size and vision is mind-boggling. In such a short amount of time to create such a megalopolis only the Chinese can do.

But it seriously lacks character and a sense of community. It's not 'human-scale' and inviting. No beauty either, a Le Corbusier nightmare come true some have called it. I hate to think that these are the cities we will all inherit in the not-too-distant future. These cities may 'work' for heavily populated Asia and their mentality but most Westerners will find them very hard to warm too. As a tourist they're interesting, even amazing, but to live in is another story...a horror story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
I think you are looking at the place through 'rose-tinted foreign glasses'.

Shenzhen is a Le Corbusier inspired city, a misplaced vision.

http://youtu.be/8lyZzou4mDM?t=21m

Shenzhen is a HK 'inspired' city with more buildable lands. Like HK, there are actually quite a few real 'villages' and natural spaces in Shenzhen.

You know Shenzhen (new/modern) is about 30 year old? And what is your ideal city/urban space?
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Old September 11th, 2013, 03:01 AM   #227
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Originally Posted by Pansori View Post
You should think again perhaps. As someone who was born and lived in a Le Corbusian urban environment (which was, in fact, much closer to the original Le Corbusian idea than Shenzhen is) for at least the first 20 years of my life I'm pretty confident I know what I'm saying and how I see the place. Your statements are completely contradictory to my experience in every aspect and in every step I went there. Although they might be true in some places. Perhaps in Pyongyang?

It does help to spend time in different, opposing, urban environments based upon contradicting urban planning ideologies in which I have lived. That helps to build a more comprehensive (as opposed to rose-tinted) and less complacent understanding of what I see, how it works and why. I tend to stick to the scientific method when I evaluate such things. Which is why I don't buy or care of arguments like 'horror'. You need to explain the details, show the proof which I and others can test later and give an evaluation. Anything else is a waste of my time and perhaps something that could not be ruled out as trolling.
Firstly Pansori, I'd like to say that you present an interesting thread with great pictures. Now if someone disagrees with your view of a place try not to be so defensive.

As far as evidence is concerned, well your lovely slide-show clearly illustrates the Le Corbusier inspired city that Shenzhen is, and the video I uploaded outlined the failures of Le Corbusier's vision. I can post more evidence to support this argument if you like?

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Originally Posted by skyridgeline View Post
Shenzhen is a HK 'inspired' city with more buildable lands. Like HK, there are actually quite a few real 'villages' and natural spaces in Shenzhen.

You know Shenzhen (new/modern) is about 30 year old? And what is your ideal city/urban space?
You know in the west when urban planners and architects say a certain part of a city is akin to Hong Kong they mean the most densely packed, non-human-scale and unpleasant part of it. It's not flattering.

As far as ideal city/urban space is concerned, New Urbanism pedestrian-friendly type cities are the way to go, places like Copenhagen etc.

Shenzhen may be all shiny, new and exciting now, and it may even be right for heavily populated China, but for the West and even for very affluent Chinese who model their communities on New Urbanism models, Shenzhen is no ideal city.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 03:39 AM   #228
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Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
Firstly Pansori, I'd like to say that you present an interesting thread with great pictures. Now if someone disagrees with your view of a place try not to be so defensive.
I am not being defensive. I just don't like people rushing in, posting a few random words like 'horror' or 'terrible' and then presenting it as an opinion (read, an equal statement of what has been said in a comprehensive, and to my best effort, informative presentation based not just upon this particular instance of visiting a city but also many years of living and traveling all over the world and exploring precisely that - urban environments). Now maybe you do have a fair point somewhere (I do have some less positive points on Shenzhen when it comes to some aspects of planning too. Or at least some individual cases of planning practices) but you limited yourself to mere expressions. Your alleged 'evidence' which is that video doesn't really impress. Certainly not when we deal with Shenzhen. Maybe it could be applied to 1960's practices of some cases of European urban planning? Who cares anyway. So it's not about what your opinion is but rather how you present it.

Quote:
As far as evidence is concerned, well your lovely slide-show clearly illustrates the Le Corbusier inspired city that Shenzhen is, and the video I uploaded outlined the failures of Le Corbusier's vision. I can post more evidence to support this argument if you like?
Of course Shenzhen (as well as Singapore, Hong Kong, pretty much all other Chinese city re-developments and many other places worldwide) is largely inspired by Le Corbusian urban ideology. And that is not a bad thing. In fact it is a good thing and it is proven to work very well and in the most efficient manner as more than clearly proven in cities like Hong Kong and especially Singapore... AND Shenzhen itself if you like.

You, on the other hand, drop some video which deals with some supposed failures of one planning and design ideology (or perhaps just wrong implementations of it) with some designs from the 1960's and then point to 21st century city in China and claim it to be a valid piece 'evidence' of supposed failures of urbanism there. You do realize how utterly unclever that sounds?



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You know in the west when urban planners and architects say a certain part of a city is akin to Hong Kong they mean the most densely packed, non-human-scale and unpleasant part of it. It's not flattering.
There is some truth in that. Hong Kong is extremely dense in built up areas. Far more dense than Shenzhen. What is funny though is that those so-called 'new urbanism' advocates claim that Shenzhen is too sparsely built up (i.e. it should be more dense ). It really does look like a comedy show when you start listening to those guys. Do they have any clue what they are talking about? Have any of those who say that (I mean urban planners) actually been to Hong Kong? Shenzhen? Judging from such ridiculous claims they probably have not. Many of the 'new urbanism' ideologists are merely instruments for developers to push for the cheapest and most profitable solution. Public is in no way a beneficiary of that. Although mind you it's not all urban planners 'in the West' (where? US? UK? France? Germany? Poland? Russia?) have such views which makes such an argument even less credible.

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As far as ideal city/urban space is concerned, New Urbanism pedestrian-friendly type cities are the way to go, places like Copenhagen etc.
Omg...LOL. I can hardly say anything more than just laugh.

How on the bloody planet earth are you going to put 20 million people into a Copenhagen style town with 1-2 storey housing? Can you imagine how would that look like in practice? It would probably be worse than Mao's great leap forward with relevant consequences. I mean how would even food supply trucks would bring all those goods to supermarkets on those little streets in a 20 million city? How long would it take? Like a week? I mean Jesus, how can anyone even think of such an idea? Again you DO realise that this is beyond sanity to even think about that when it comes to mega-cities in China, right?

Hell, I'd like all cities to be like Heidelberg or some pretty village somewhere in the Swiss Alps. What we have to understand here, however, is that we're not talking of little villages but cities well in excess of 10 (sometimes 15) million in population. In that urban region alone which is less than the size of Belgium we have something like 50 million people. This is a different scale from anything that the new urbanism people have even dreamt of and it is no game when you deal with such numbers of people and their well-being. Which is why the 'new urbanism' playground doesn't work here. Just like horse-drawn carriages don't work on hi-speed railways no matter how romantic and 'human' it would look compared to a metal tube going at 350km/h.

We should be rational when it comes to that. Especially when we're talking of such numbers of people in very compact areas.

Quote:
Shenzhen may be all shiny, new and exciting now, and it may even be right for heavily populated China, but for the West and even for very affluent Chinese who model their communities on New Urbanism models, Shenzhen is no ideal city.
Why is it relevant how it would work for the West? China is not the West and never will be. Different population densities, different cultures and different perception of housing. Why does you 'good' have to be everyone else's 'goog'? The 'just because it is' argument doesn't work here.

As for rich Chinese... well, there are some who like their cars gold-plated too. It is true that good taste may not necessarily be the mainstream among even the richest in China yet. You can't just buy that as opposed to a house or a golden car. Give it some time and it will go just like the desire to build European small town style housing (there are quite a few of such towns in China btw. Many seem to be uninhabited are mainly used as photoshoot locations for weddings).

Last edited by Pansori; September 11th, 2013 at 04:09 AM.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 01:29 PM   #229
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Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
...

You know in the west when urban planners and architects say a certain part of a city is akin to Hong Kong they mean the most densely packed, non-human-scale and unpleasant part of it. It's not flattering.

As far as ideal city/urban space is concerned, New Urbanism pedestrian-friendly type cities are the way to go, places like Copenhagen etc.

Shenzhen may be all shiny, new and exciting now, and it may even be right for heavily populated China, but for the West and even for very affluent Chinese who model their communities on New Urbanism models, Shenzhen is no ideal city.
432 Park Avenue?

Can I walk to the suburbs in the 'West'?
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Old September 11th, 2013, 06:15 PM   #230
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Pansori I understand where you're coming from and I don't meean to be objectionable about Schenzen. China can be proud of its achievements. People have a higher standard of living now. I just hate to see them lose their buikding heritage to megacities. I would prefer that we all retained something of our traditional cities and not regret it later as a grave mistake, because this has happened alreasdy and we have the opportunity to learn from the past.

Please keep posting more of your excellent photos. This is certainly one of the most befitting threads here. Truly kickass skyscrapercity.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 07:21 PM   #231
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Originally Posted by skymantle View Post
Pansori I understand where you're coming from and I don't meean to be objectionable about Schenzen. China can be proud of its achievements. People have a higher standard of living now. I just hate to see them lose their buikding heritage to megacities. I would prefer that we all retained something of our traditional cities and not regret it later as a grave mistake, because this has happened alreasdy and we have the opportunity to learn from the past.

Please keep posting more of your excellent photos. This is certainly one of the most befitting threads here. Truly kickass skyscrapercity.


You are right for most cities, not all cities should be the same and tradition should be respected. The thing is...Shenzhen is unique in that unlike almost any other cities in China or in the world, it started from blank 30 years ago.

There is no tradition. There is no local heritage to be lost. The population is completely mixed, from all over the country, therefore the cuisine is also mixed and modern.

Like the United States started as an immigration country, this city started its history as an immigration city, and it is making its own history.
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Old September 11th, 2013, 10:57 PM   #232
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You are right for most cities, not all cities should be the same and tradition should be respected. The thing is...Shenzhen is unique in that unlike almost any other cities in China or in the world, it started from blank 30 years ago.

There is no tradition. There is no local heritage to be lost. The population is completely mixed, from all over the country, therefore the cuisine is also mixed and modern.

Like the United States started as an immigration country, this city started its history as an immigration city, and it is making its own history.
True said. There isn't anything to be lost there. What is more, believe it or not but Shenzhen is already establishing what could cautiously be called as industrial architectural-urban heritage. Of course I mean the OCT LOFT which I find to be one of the best conversion projects that I have ever seen.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 02:19 AM   #233
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Another point to make about the 'human scale' of the towering residential blocks vs. New Urbanism.

I'll give you an example of what I mean in practice and how it works in China.

Towering apartment block near Liwanhu Park in Guangzhou. Not really the outskirts but certainly not the very central location either. A massive elevated urban expressway junction right next to it with wide 6 laned avenue underneath. Very 'unhuman' indeed if we judge it by the standards of 'New Urbanism' and 'human scale'.

Guess what. I get hungry and thirsty at about midnight and decide it would be a good idea to get out and find some fried rice and beer. There is a small corner noodle house right at the ground floor of the compound along with a small corner shop selling cheap beer, drinks, snacks and some other essential stuff. Those places are open till late or all night long. there is a 24 hour KFC and McDonald's within few minutes walk and another bunch of noodle houses same distance away. Be it day or night those places are open and I would never have to worry about having a bite or getting some essentials if I need it.

This is because the population in a single towering highrise is probably larger than in an entire lowrise residential quarter spread over a much larger area. Whichever way you look at it residential density in such 'horrific' tower blocks is almost inevitably higher than New Urban 'human scale' developments without compromising space on the street level which is still available for everyone to use. Which means that street life in such a location is probably going to be more lively AND sustainable not just during peak times during the day but also during the night. Simply because there are more people in those tall apartment buildings and they are able to sustain active street life, small scale trade and relevant activities.

Now what happens in a comparable lowrise 'human scale' sprawling village-like development during the night? That's right, nothing. It's dead. Because population density is too low. There are always two parts to the urban equation: density=street life. No density=no street life. We can talk about aesthetics and pretty facades as well as pretty narrow (cobble stoned if you like) streets all we want but if there are no people in that place all of that loses any purpose. I'd rather be in an 'ugly' (although this is, of course, a matter of personal taste and nothing more) tower block with amenities that actually work rather than enjoy pretty narrow lanes with pretty facades but zero practical functionality and purpose.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #234
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What a great discussion this thread's become.

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I don't meean to be objectionable about Schenzen ... I just hate to see [other Chinese cities] lose their buikding heritage to megacities.
Ah, but this is what makes Shenzhen so damn interesting! This tug and pull between 'heritage areas' and 'new development' happens even in Shenzhen - check out the blog Shenzhen Noted, in particular the 'laying siege to the villages' series.

Now, I'm usually rather sympathetic to her sort of thinking, as I find those places to be some of the most interesting and (at times) pleasant places to walk in the city. Yet we have to appreciate the poetic irony of 'preserving the heritage' of a city with almost no heritage.

So whether it's Shenzhen, Beijing, Dubai, or New York - the fight for preservation is rarely about 'preservation' per se, but is a rebus concealing an entirely different intellectual struggle: in the problem of a city, what do we value?

Top-down or bottom-up?
Order or chaos?
Grand or intimate?
Organized or messy?
Designed or evolutionary?
Mega-projects or incremental development?

Quote:
well your lovely slide-show clearly illustrates the Le Corbusier inspired city that Shenzhen is
The Chinese vision of urbanism, for better or worse, pretty much is Le Corbusier, albeit a bastardized version that's not quite as pernicious.

When both senior and provincial government officials were encouraged to do tours to the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan during the Deng years in the 1980s, their understandable human response was to see what China lacked and attempt to 'close the gap'. Relevant to urban planning, they saw: cars, malls, subways, and highrises.

If the American dream is suburbia, I would paint a picture of the Chinese dream as this:

They would like to live in an apartment complex, fenced in with a garden for their children (and perhaps a small dog) to play in - to give something tangible, something like this Vanke project in Baishilong. Perhaps there's some restaurants and shops below the garden, perhaps not. They will live in a highrise with a large square meterage (none of that cramped in Hong Kong living!). They will have a car in which to drive to work, where they will work at a good, stable, office job, in a large tower like Ping An. On the weekend, they will drive to a mall and be able to buy good, foreign products; or perhaps drive to a place like Hongshulin or Lianhua and have a day in the park playing badminton, flying a kite, or 'pashan'-ing.

This vision is not quite as destructive as the American model, but a large problem is that China's household wealth just plain hasn't caught up yet. The vast majority of people don't have cars, their pay just isn't there to afford something like Vanke...

Anyway, Pansori, for your next trip I'd suggest dropping by two additional places - Shuiwei and Xiasha. These areas should become case studies in how to do development right - decidedly not anti-development, decidedly not anti-highrise - they're still supremely walkable yet still accessible by car.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 08:48 PM   #235
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Shenzhen's infrastructure and sheer size and vision is mind-boggling. In such a short amount of time to create such a megalopolis only the Chinese can do.

But it seriously lacks character and a sense of community. It's not 'human-scale' and inviting. No beauty either, a Le Corbusier nightmare come true some have called it. I hate to think that these are the cities we will all inherit in the not-too-distant future. These cities may 'work' for heavily populated Asia and their mentality but most Westerners will find them very hard to warm too. As a tourist they're interesting, even amazing, but to live in is another story...a horror story.
I was going to add my $0.02 yesterday, but ironically I was stuck in traffic.

Shenzhen isn't an urban dystopia. Individual lives may suck for a variety of reasons, but Shenzhen's built environment was well thought out and pragmatic.

Skymantle isn't the first person to use LeCorbusier as an epithet. It doesn't stand up to scrutiny, and I'll try to dissect the criticism. LeCorbusier WAS a talented architect and his architecture isn't a problem. The residents and workers in the Unite d'Habitation and other LeCorbusian buildings are humans, not zombies, cyborgs, androids, aliens, etc. That isn't up for debate.

LeCorbusier's urban planning and his embrace of the car was an issue. In 1922, LeCorbusier came up with the Plan Voisin. In it, he proposed to demolish a large swathe of Paris and to replace it with cruciform high rises and highways. It never had a chance of being implemented, as Paris was already profiting from its architectural beauty. He did however, garner a lot of longstanding infamy for its audacity. LeCorbusier's sponsor was Voisin, and Voisin was a car company. Now do you see why LeCorbusier suddenly embraced the car? And well, Shenzhen is hardly car-centric. Check the ridership statistics for its metro. Ride the metro and appreciate the crowds.

LeCorbusier's pre-cast concrete highrises may be falsely equivocated with dysfunctional urbanism, yet pre-cast concrete highrises are still the most economically pragmatic way of high density housing. Shenzhen wasn't built on the ruins of Paris. It wasn't built over anything. So you are entitled to dislike the aesthetics, but you cannot rationally criticize the actual function.

Lacking character, community and human-scale are baseless and vague, yet somehow pervasive and oddly effective criticisms used by the NU aficionados. Population density (helped in large part by prefab concrete highrises) and public transit investment are two prerequisites for functioning urbanism. This allows residents to WALK to shops and services and to move without the car.

Ironically the watered-down NU that is being built generally lacks the required density and PT investment. It generally has very attractive historicist aesthetics and has provisions for commercial town centers, but the areas lack the necessary population in the pedestrian catchment area. As a result, they're still as car-dependent as other places. NU is an incremental improvement over the now-discredited Levittowns, but it's still very lacking. And to go further off topic, NU was founded, heavily influenced, and publicized by the developer community. It's more about selling houses and making a profit than functioning urbanity.

And since we're off topic, the most pressing issue in contemporary urban planning isn't a lack of character (lolz, as if any inanimate object has a personality) nor a lack of human scale (the doors and windows still suit human beings). The most pressing issues relate to auto-centrism and a benign neglect of PT investment. Sadly the most vociferous NU boosters tend to stress aesthetics and to label far-off places as urban dystopias, all while ignoring/profiting from really regressive domestic urban planning.
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Old September 12th, 2013, 09:28 PM   #236
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The Chinese vision of urbanism, for better or worse, pretty much is Le Corbusier, albeit a bastardized version that's not quite as pernicious.

When both senior and provincial government officials were encouraged to do tours to the US, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan during the Deng years in the 1980s, their understandable human response was to see what China lacked and attempt to 'close the gap'. Relevant to urban planning, they saw: cars, malls, subways, and highrises.
Um, yeah. How did you manage to link Shenzhen to both LeCorbusier and American urbanism? Shenzhen has precast high density concrete highrises, but that's about it. The whole American thing is some SSC meme.

I don't think about the whole lifestyle thing. If people want to piss away their money on LV bags, or if they want to piss away (yet have fun) their lives on video games, it's unrelated to actual urbanism. Many peoples' lifestyle choices/aspirations are heavily influenced by the marketing efforts of various real estate developers. They may see attractive people and cool creative-class lifestyles in real estate marketing, but it's still marketing, and mostly fluff.

LeCorbusier's objective downfall was his embrace of the private automobile, yet his architecture has been smeared by association. Why aren't Frank LLoyd Wright's Prairie Houses associated with FLW's really dopey urban planning? Shenzhen isn't bastardized LeCorbusier, and there's nothing "pernicious" about high-density housing and subways.

I'm not sure how long you've been away from the US, but its urban development over the past few generations is the polar opposite of Shenzhen's. In US media/real estate marketing, high density concrete inevitably results in the poverty and violence of Pruitt Igoe, and investment in public transit/sewers/roads/any sort of infrastructure is flat out dismissed as financially unattainable. Postmodern/NU planning has been the rage. Heavy emphasis is placed on historist aesthetics. Jane Jacobs' environmental determinism has been extrapolated and held up as intellectual justification. Since pre-auto era people lived in areas which LOOKED a certain way, building new developments with said aesthetics will result in a return to old style urbanism. Doesn't really work, but that's the selling point.

You also have to worry about pro-developer, or impending pro-developer policy changes in China. I've read some pieces in Chinese business magazines criticizing both the aesthetics and the (supposed) financial/debt burden of investing in cities. I hope it doesn't come to pass.

Strangely enough, middle-class people in Shenzhen are more apt to drive their cars than their counterparts in Hong Kong. I don't have statistics, I'm just basing this on my own observations. Yet the public transit network in Shenzhen isn't nearly as developed as PT in Hong Kong. Shenzhen PT doesn't yet reach every part of the urban area, and the existing PT is often hugely overcrowded (e.g. L4 red line, where each trip is akin to a clown car). Hopefully Shenzhen continues to put resources into its PT, and continues to build high density. The private car was a more pragmatic choic
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Old September 16th, 2013, 03:22 PM   #237
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******* trolls...
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Old September 16th, 2013, 03:27 PM   #238
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China street view, including Shenzhen. Fascinating as hell and shows that skymantle is clearly trolling. Shenzhen is dense and alive as hell and is far from a Le Corbusier "towers in the park" city.

http://map.soso.com
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Old September 16th, 2013, 03:32 PM   #239
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In fact its far less Le Corbusier than other Chinese cities (that still are alive and bustling). Shenzhen has extremely dense urban villages all throughout the city that are the literal antithesis of Le Corbusier, extremely dense villages built up organically that result in raw urbanity and vitality that beat the hell out of your over-planned "New Urbanism". Other cities in China (such as mine) consist mostly or entirely of commieblocks with fewer or no urban villages, which you can say is more "pure" Le Corbusier planning, and there's still people EVERYWHERE. Lack of people, stores, street activity, etc is something that definitely isn't a problem in China.
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Old September 17th, 2013, 12:10 AM   #240
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbaricManchurian View Post
China street view, including Shenzhen. Fascinating as hell and shows that skymantle is clearly trolling. Shenzhen is dense and alive as hell and is far from a Le Corbusier "towers in the park" city.

http://map.soso.com
The Le Corbusier term is obviously applicable in a limited sense. The fundamentals of Shenzhen's urban fabric (and, in fact, other big Chinese cities) are based on principles set by Le Corbusier. I mean big transport arteries, tall buildings, large open spaces. But that's about it.

The reason why Le Corbusier is associated with lack of street life is simply because that's what happened with such developments in Europe and USSR back in the days. Not because the planning was bad in itself but because of various contradicting policies and other thing. Hence those who are familiar with that but not familiar with the urban planning in China will associate it with the former by default. It's a different story in China though. And all it really takes is to simply see it. A walk around some streets in residential districts should make it all clear.

I am very much familiar with the Soviet Le Corbusian planning because that's where I grew up and spent most of my life. However I was rather 'shocked' to see how seemingly very similar (from a distance) Le Corbusian residential districts in Shanghai look so different on the street level. The entire myth of evil Le Corbusian planning with 'no street life' simply fades away.

Just a sample from my last year's Shanghai trip. A fairly new highrise residential district built very much according to the Le Corbusian principles: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...549151&page=16

By any standards there is absolutely no lack of street-life in Chinese cities be it Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai or anything else. That is for sure.
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