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Old September 17th, 2013, 11:42 AM   #241
skymantle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthmchris View Post
What a great discussion this thread's become.
Thanks, glad to hear it's stimulated positive discussion for the most part. Others who can't take pluralistic and differing views will always resort to put-downs and accusations of trolling, which is pretty weak.

You and particlez make some pertinent points, so where to start?

Firstly I have to say that I'm aware Shenzhen is a brand new city and there was never much built heritage to replace. That's why I actually used the word 'building' heritage. What I'm asking is why did the Chinese apply western models for their new cities and not look at their own building heritage for inspiration? I know it likely boils down to economics and the power of churning out buildings and infrastructure quickly and cheaply, but this begs the question is this a good thing and is it sustainable? Those in the west who have followed the Le Corbusier inspired model are now trying to fix the mistakes of this much maligned paradigm and vision.

You know in ancient times cities like Athens and Corinth were like 'villages' compared to what the Chinese were doing. The Chinese had megacities in comparison to 'civilised and advanced' Europe even back then, with major infrastructure and other constructions that were much more sophisticated and extensive than what was happening west. In fact beyond the Acropolis in ancient cities, until the Romans came, the cities were quite undeveloped and primitive, whilst the Chinese had expansive metropolises that of course didn't turn to Europe and the west for inspiration.

I beg to ask, why couldn't the Chinese adopt some of their own tradition and philosophy into their new cities instead of replicating what's done in the west to accommodate millions, and are these cities really sustainable for the future?

I understand that there are many more people in China and it makes sense to go up and perhaps they are just NU developments on 'steroids' if you like, where mixed use development does exist. And perhaps even the Chinese mentality and society of tolerable communal living and homogeneity will make these types of cities more suitable to them. It could just be the case that these types of cities Chinese people can cope with better than westerners? I'm not sure and not convinced, but I seriously hope it's the right thing for China because it will be a difficult thing to 'undo' if in the future they find that these cities are not as desirable as they were initially. At least that's what the west so abruptly found out.

Here's a view from another.
http://mjkurbanflux.wordpress.com/20...-radiant-city/
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Old September 18th, 2013, 01:12 AM   #242
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What in world have you been smoking??

Ancient Corinth, looking towards the temple of Apollo, Acrocorinth in the background


Ancient Athens' marketplace, view from the roof of the temple of Hephaestus towards the Odeion of Agrippa
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Old September 18th, 2013, 01:29 AM   #243
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^ And 'our' resident DLM 'expert's comes over .
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Old September 18th, 2013, 02:14 AM   #244
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yes, he thinks he is anyway.

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Originally Posted by ayanamikun View Post
What in world have you been smoking??

Ancient Corinth, looking towards the temple of Apollo, Acrocorinth in the background
Sweetie, those pictures are of Roman Greece, when thee Romans came and developed cities in their empire, including the ones in Greece. This can be seen by the architecture in the pics as well as the Odeion of Agrippa, and of course Agrippa was Roman. Today the whole Roman Forum in Athens has been excavated and restored thanks to the excellent work of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Anyone with an incling of knowledge of classical architecture knows those pics are Roman on first sight. Everyone except you it seems.

Thanks for proving what I already said, they were unsophisticated places 'until the Romans came'.

Anyway, back to topic please.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 02:18 AM   #245
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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.
I think that the Le Corbousian attempt in Europe was failed. The density was too low and too spread out. The blockes were too big and there are long blocks that look like mega walls.

The real Le Corbusier is very dense and thin high-rises. That is what similar what China is doing right now. One of the biggest essentials is ground-floor commercial spaces and the Le Corbousian attempt in Europe didn't build any commercial spaces. There were too few roads and all the commercial and communication was made in the areas sub-center. In China everything is mixed. Do you agree?
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Old September 18th, 2013, 02:21 AM   #246
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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
There are no real true Le Corbousian cities or areas. The European attempt at Le Corbouser planning was failed. Read my post above, please.

The only good examples of Le Corbousian cities are Singapore, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and other new developments across China.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 02:22 AM   #247
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VECTROTALENZIS View Post
I think that the Le Corbousian attempt in Europe was failed. The density was too low and too spread out. The blockes were too big and there are long blocks that look like mega walls.

The real Le Corbusier is very dense and thin high-rises. That is what similar what China is doing right now. One of the biggest essentials is ground-floor commercial spaces and the Le Corbousian attempt in Europe didn't build any commercial spaces. There were too few roads and all the commercial and communication was made in the areas sub-center. In China everything is mixed. Do you agree?
Such planning needs density i.e. a lot of people. It could work in principle in any densely populated area. In Europe this could mean The Netherlands, parts of Germany and UK.

China is indeed more suitable in this respect because it does have more densely populated areas.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 02:55 AM   #248
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yes, he thinks he is anyway.

Sweetie, those pictures are of Roman Greece, when thee Romans came and developed cities in their empire, including the ones in Greece. This can be seen by the architecture in the pics as well as the Odeion of Agrippa, and of course Agrippa was Roman. Today the whole Roman Forum in Athens has been excavated and restored thanks to the excellent work of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. Anyone with an incling of knowledge of classical architecture knows those pics are Roman on first sight. Everyone except you it seems.

Thanks for proving what I already said, they were unsophisticated places 'until the Romans came'.

Anyway, back to topic please.
Sweetie, worst thing in the world is to know half the facts and think you know all them.
The American School excavated the Agora, not the Forum. Except of the Odeion all the buildings seen date from Hellenistic and classical era, as a matter of fact the Temple of Ares was classical, which was reassembled to the center of the Agora. When the Roman came to Athens, the sacked the city, evident by the missing buildings like South Stoa II. In which way again you know more about this than me? Most Greek cities had their populations actually diminished after the Roman sackings. Athens had a larger population in the 431 BC peak than in the 1st century AD. How was a village and then became a city? The village that Sulla took columns and materials from the temple of Zeus to the then mud village of Rome in 86 bc to make the Jupiter temple? That Rome didn't have a theater untill 56 bc when all hellenistic cities had stadia and a couple of theaters each? The same goes for most other city states that were torched and never recovered, including Corinth. Go check Ancient Messene built from nothing in the 4th century BC that was even bigger than Athens


And why the conversation turned into city states vs Rome of 2nd century AD? If I remember correct this is what you said:
Quote:
Athens and Corinth were like 'villages' compared to what the Chinese were doing

Last edited by ayanamikun; September 18th, 2013 at 03:19 AM.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 04:17 AM   #249
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Oh please, Forum, Agora, the gathering place, the plaza, most would know what i mean and yes the Americans did excavate that site. All kudos to them.

Yes, Athens and Corinth were like villages in size and sophistication compared to Chinese cities UNTIL the Roman era is what I said. If you can put your chauvenistic, hellenocentric views to one side you may be able to understand that. But anyway, go away unless you're here to contribute in what the discussion is about.

Quote:
You know in ancient times cities like Athens and Corinth were like 'villages' compared to what the Chinese were doing. The Chinese had megacities in comparison to 'civilised and advanced' Europe even back then, with major infrastructure and other constructions that were much more sophisticated and extensive than what was happening west. In fact beyond the Acropolis in ancient cities, until the Romans came, the cities were quite undeveloped and primitive, whilst the Chinese had expansive metropolises that of course didn't turn to Europe and the west for inspiration.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 05:00 AM   #250
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I beg to ask, why couldn't the Chinese adopt some of their own tradition and philosophy into their new cities instead of replicating what's done in the west to accommodate millions, and are these cities really sustainable for the future?
What could it be though? There is rather simple maths to be done. You have x of space and y of people. Now you need to put them somewhere and ensure they have good living conditions. How else could it be done if not how it's done now?

China didn't copy it from the West in the real meaning of it. In fact it copied it from Hong Kong on Singapore for most part. Shenzhen by every means is far, and I mean FAR, more similar in every respect to Singapore/Hong Kong than it is to any city in Europe or US.

And what do you eman by 'own tradition' anyway? Architecture? Well that wouldn't be too relevant. It's just about aesthetics, not function. Hong Kong is not great for aesthetics. But who cares? It functions well and is, in fact, one of the most vibrant and fascinating cities. Just ask anyone.

If not architectural aesthetics what else could it be? Some sort of 'native' Chinese urban planning ideology? What could it be? And why? Why even bother inventing something new if it can be copied from somebody (Hong Kong and Singapore in this case) where it already works and works well? AND it works well in China too as clearly demonstrated by Shenzhen itself which is one of China's most desirable and liveable cities. So what's the issue? Why try to do something just for the sake of doing it?

One of China's characteristics is pragmatism: in politics, economy and urban planning too. Thisis the reason why China has been developing at such an astonishing speed in the first place. because it managed to overcome illusions and complexes of remaining completely self-sufficient and instead gone for pragmatic approach of borrowing, copying and implementing good practices and designs from abroad. It works and we have evidence for that.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 05:08 AM   #251
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Yes, Athens and Corinth were like villages in size and sophistication compared to Chinese cities UNTIL the Roman era is what I said. If you can put your chauvenistic, hellenocentric views to one side you may be able to understand that.
Show me the chinese cities of the 5th-2nd century BC. Show me their ruins, show me reconstructions. Not to mention that the hellenocentric view of the world is concrete product of the written legacy and of the literacy culture, a work of the mind and not of stones. The world is centered around there, because 10 good books that can teach the world are worth 10 extinct empires. I am willing to give at least credit to chinese constructions, but you have to show me first.

Last edited by ayanamikun; September 18th, 2013 at 05:13 AM.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 05:12 AM   #252
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@ Pansori, ok great, back to discussion about Shenzen.

I agree with what you're saying for the most part and like i said perhaps these megacities do work better for Chinese than westerners? But although they take inspiration from HK and Singapore, one has to remember that those cities were inspired by Le Corbusier western modernism in themselves.

The Chinese pragmatism being a factor to why these megacities work so well for them, I would definitely agree to.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 05:15 AM   #253
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There are no real true Le Corbousian cities or areas. The European attempt at Le Corbouser planning was failed. Read my post above, please.

The only good examples of Le Corbousian cities are Singapore, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and other new developments across China.
I hope you're right.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 05:20 AM   #254
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@ Pansori, ok great, back to discussion about Shenzen.

I agree with what you're saying for the most part and like i said perhaps these megacities do work better for Chinese than westerners? But although they take inspiration from HK and Singapore, one has to remember that those cities were inspired by Le Corbusier western modernism in themselves.

The Chinese pragmatism being a factor to why these megacities work so well for them, I would definitely agree to.
Chinese like it grand and big. When travelling to Europe from China, European cities feel like empty small towns in comparison. Chinese cities give a feeling of "BIG". For example European cities even a megacity like London start to have 2 floor houses 1-2 km out of the center. Chinese villages and towns only have 1-5 floors at max, so to make a difference and "wow-ness", Chinese want it big roads and tall buildings because that's a real city.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 05:26 AM   #255
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OK, understandably, bigger population should equate to bigger cities, but can we argue that big is not always better? Could Shenzen have been fifteen or so localities in themselves with say a million odd people in each locality and separated by green belts or other natural borders, something like the randstad conurbation in Holland?
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Old September 18th, 2013, 05:41 AM   #256
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But although they take inspiration from HK and Singapore, one has to remember that those cities were inspired by Le Corbusier western modernism in themselves.
It is true. but once again that is not really relevant. It doesn't matter if it's invented by Westerners or not. The 'Western Modernism' is very oblique in this case. It has to be kept in mind that Le Corbusier's modernism has never really become an accepted mainstream in the West itself. It found a much wider application in the USSR back in the days.

Today it found an almost universal application in China and it seems to work very well. There noone really cares (or even knows) that the fundamentals of such urban planning ideology come from 'Western modernism'. Perhaps just like we don't care that paper or gunpowder 'comes from China'. The fact that it 'comes from the West' in this case is merely a historical fact rather than anything really important that can affect people's lives in any way. And if you look closely, at least in some places, you'll see aspects which are clearly contradictory to Le Corbusian ideology. Such as street stalls and markets which operate within sterile and clean (in theory) Le Corbusian urban environment in Chinese cities (including Hong Kong!).

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Chinese like it grand and big. When travelling to Europe from China, European cities feel like empty small towns in comparison. Chinese cities give a feeling of "BIG". For example European cities even a megacity like London start to have 2 floor houses 1-2 km out of the center. Chinese villages and towns only have 1-5 floors at max, so to make a difference and "wow-ness", Chinese want it big roads and tall buildings because that's a real city.
Lol, this is true as well. It may not be very evident at first due to the fact that everything is of a large scale so creating relevant 'grand' context. But once you start to imagine how it would all look in the context of a random 'big city' in Europe (even Paris if you like) or US it really starts to look crazy. But I don't think it's because Chinese 'like' it that way. They simply have no choice if they want to accommodate 20-30 million people in a very limited land area and ensure acceptable living standards there.

Take railway stations as an example. The new railway stations are absolutely massive. Simply monumental in scale. And yet at times it feels like they're not big enough because there are so many people there (I'm not even talking of Chinese New Year travel rush. Just an ordinary busy day). They need to be big not because someone feels it's cool but simply because anything smaller would clog up. Same with the airports. Look at Beijing T3. It's impossibly huge. Yet it already operates at near full capacity which is why they're building an entire new airport in Daxing which, of course, will be world's largest (and so for a very practical reason - demand).

Last edited by Pansori; September 18th, 2013 at 05:48 AM.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 06:12 AM   #257
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So Chinese pragmatism in our 'super-sized' times working well. It is incredible, I can see that. At the end of the day it's the people that make a place and the people there seem to have a real optimism and spirit of progress. It's a cohesive society and like I said China can be proud of its achievements. I would rather be part of something positive like that...you could say 'the birth of a culture', as opposed to the 'death of one' which seems to be what's happening in some parts of Europe.

China has the spirit of the 'new world' in a very old country. Kudos to them.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 10:09 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by VECTROTALENZIS View Post

Chinese like it grand and big. When travelling to Europe from China, European cities feel like empty small towns in comparison. Chinese cities give a feeling of "BIG". For example European cities even a megacity like London start to have 2 floor houses 1-2 km out of the center. Chinese villages and towns only have 1-5 floors at max, so to make a difference and "wow-ness", Chinese want it big roads and tall buildings because that's a real city.
Europe is very diverse. In Spain, there a re a lot of cities with much higher density than London: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza or even medium size cities like Burgos.

When I visited London, I did not like the city because of the low density.
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Old September 18th, 2013, 03:01 PM   #259
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@ Pansori, ok great, back to discussion about Shenzen.

I agree with what you're saying for the most part and like i said perhaps these megacities do work better for Chinese than westerners? But although they take inspiration from HK and Singapore, one has to remember that those cities were inspired by Le Corbusier western modernism in themselves.

The Chinese pragmatism being a factor to why these megacities work so well for them, I would definitely agree to.

Back to the jungle ...

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Old September 18th, 2013, 04:32 PM   #260
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excellent video.

I know Singapore well as it's the hub I use travelling between east and west. I didn't know about it embracing biophyllia though, but I'm not surprised, it's a progressive thinking city with much integrity. Very inspirational listening to those people. We could all learn much from them.
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