Graduation Thesis Jasper Nijveldt TU Delft
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Graduation Thesis Jasper Nijveldt TU Delft



The Wall is a strategic vision for an alternative urban architectural model that will guide the city towards compact sustainable growth, giving at the same time ‘place’ to the millions of new ...

The Wall is a strategic vision for an alternative urban architectural model that will guide the city towards compact sustainable growth, giving at the same time ‘place’ to the millions of new migrants. A new dense 300 km long and 1 km wide urban zone along the current city border takes on the specifics of the local soil, vegetation and existing land use patterns. From birds-eye perspective the Wall looks therefore rather chaotic, but from eye-level its secret is being unravelled; Space is experienced trough a crossing of various enclosures and different spatial sequences, from the very public all the way to the private bedroom. Space is presented little by little. The next space is always unpredictable which creates a sense of mystery. The wall is a strategic approach that ranges from designing a small water gutter, to a robust and general solution for the entire China.



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Graduation Thesis Jasper Nijveldt TU Delft Graduation Thesis Jasper Nijveldt TU Delft Document Transcript

  • the wallThe re-discovery of ordinary public places in analternative urban architectural model for Chinese cities– The case of ChengduJasper NijveldtTU Delft RepositoryFor more information please or would love to hear your tips, ideas or critique!
  • the wall The re-discovery of ordinary public places in analternative urban architectural model for Chinese cities – The case of Chengdu Jasper Nijveldt
  • The Wall - StudioleaderThe re-discovery of ordinary public Mitesh Dixitplaces in an alternative urban OMAarchitectural model for Chinese cities– The case of Chengdu Supervisors prof. ir. Henco BekkeringMaster thesis dr. ir. Luisa CalabreseDelft University of Technology prof. ir. Kees KaanFaculty of Architecture ir. Henri van BennekomDepartment of Urbanism03-02-2012 Mentor team prof. ir. Henco BekkeringJasper Nijveldt Professor Chair of Urban Assoc. Prof. Deborah Associate Professor of Architecture Delft School of DesignStudioStudio Vertical Cities Asia KeywordsMaster Studio (U, A, BT, RE&H) China, public space, density,Chair of Materialisation, landscape, architecture, urbanArchitecture design, air quality, placemakingChair of Urban Design, UrbanismVertical Cities AsiaThe studio is part of the Vertical City Asia Competition. The results of theP2 were sent in to compete. This international competition is organized forfive successive years - 2011/2015 - by the School of Design and Environ-ment of the National University of Singapore, financially supported by theWorld Future Foundation. Successive locations will be in different Asiancountries; Chengdu is the first. Each year there is a main theme. This yearthe theme of clean air will be researched. The Brief:“Every year, for the next five years, a one square kilometer territory willbe the subject of the Competition. This area, to house 100,000 people livingand working, sets the stage for tremendous research and investigation intourban density, verticality, domesticity, work, food, infrastructure, nature,ecology, structure, and program – their holistic integration and the questfor visionary paradigm will be the challenges of this urban and architecturalinvention.This new environment will have a full slate of live-work-playprovisions, with the residential component making up to 50% of the totalfloor space. In the first of this series of competitions, the theme of “FreshAir” will be explored. In the congested cities of Asia, the problems of urbani
  • sprawl, traffic congestion and pollution have threatened the prospects ofbiodiversity, greenery, livability and general well-being of the inhabitants.The competition seeks design solutions for a balanced environment forurban life where public amenities and work opportunities are within easyaccess. It encourages efficient and clean modes of travels that contribute toclean and fresh air.”Competitors are design studios from the schools of architecture of:AsiaNational University of SingaporeTsinghua University, BeijingTongji University, ShanghaiUniversity of TokyoThe Chinese University of Hong KongEuropeEidgenossische Technische Hochschule/eth, ZurichDelft University of TechnologyNorth AmericaUniversity of MichiganUniversity of PennsylvaniaUniversity of California at BerkeleyEach participating school can nominate two competition entries. Oneteacher and two students are invited to the award seminar in Singapore,with lectures by the five members of the international jury and the teninternational teachers. Each year, the proceedings of the seminar will bepublished together with the twenty students’ projects. Prices are € 8.500, €5.700 and € 2.800.The tu Delft multidisciplinary studio will involve students in the last yearof their Master studies in Urbanism, Architecture and Real Estate & Hous-ing. Aspects to be researched are future design, urban density, physical andsocial sustainability, feasibility and so on. The start in January 2011 will bean intensive design workshop; the competition entry has to be sent in by theend of June 2011. The emphasis during the first semester is on group workfor the design and its argumentation. The project the Wall, the first designpart of this thesis (h4.1 t/m h4.3), conducted together with Herman Pel andBart van Lakwijk have won the second prize. During the second semesterstudents will finish their Master thesis in their chosen discipline of Urban-ism, Architecture or Real Estate & Housing. ii
  • the wallThe re-discovery of ordinary public places in an alternative urban architecturalmodel for Chinese cities – The case of ChengduThis thesis is a specific research about the city of Chengdu in China. Thecity of Chengdu is at the very heart of the dramatic transformation of Chinaand can be seen as a perfect model city of Chinese recent growth. Togetherwith the city of Chongqing it is one of the largest urban agglomerationsin the world. In terms of gdp, fdi, infrastructure and living standards, itshowed an explosive growth. The city almost doubled in size the last 15years.There are however enormous qualitative challenges for further growthconcerning land use, domesticity, public space, biodiversity, water and airquality. The current city model, similar to numerous other cities in China,is however no longer durable, to cope with this. The result of the thesis isto propose an alternative urban model that will guide the city towards com-pact growth, giving at the same time ‘place’ to the millions of new migrants.Thereby it acknowledges public space as the crucial building block fora durable city. The hypothesis is that by improving the spatial quality ofpublic spaces, other problems will mitigate as well. The thesis is unfoldedin four parts: Introduction, Urban China, Theory, Design and Conclusion.The thesis is introduced by providing a framework, which describes thebackground and derives a problem statement from this. Urban China is achapter with data in which the challenges will be researched in order toget a clear pictures of the matters at hand. The theory part discusses morethoroughly the problem of public space and provides a framework for thedesign part. A conclusion will be derived from this.The thesis is written within the context of the studio Vertical Cities Asia.This means that part of the results were send in to the international designcompetition in Singapore in which it received the second prize. Thereby, itwas obligatory to develop an urban architectural design for 100,000 peopleon 1km2 on the south of the city. At least the theme of clean air needed to beaddressed in the design.The problems in the case of Chengdu exist in large parts of Urban China.These cities are also faced with critical problems due to an uncontrolled dis-persed growth and, thereby neglecting the importance of public space forthe everyday lives of their residents.Keywords: China, public space, density, landscape, architecture, urbandesign, air quality, placemakingiii
  • Fingermodel of Chengdu Doomsday The Wall156 KM2 The Wall encloses space on every scale iv
  • 1 INTRODUCTION1.1 URBAN BILLION 21.2 PROBLEM FIELD 3 1.2.1 Challenge 3 1.2.2 Qualitative growth 3 1.2.3 Alternative urban architectural model 6 1.2.4 Hypothesis: Re-discovery of ordinary public places 12 1.2.5 Case-study Chengdu 121.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT 201.4 METHODOLOGY 211.5 RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE 23 1.5.1 Scientific and societal relevance 23 1.5.2 Ethics 232 URBAN CHINA2.1 DEMOGRAPHY 282.2 ECONOMY 302.3 TRANSPORT 322.4 LIVING 342.5 ENVIRONMENT 362.6 CROSSROADS 383 THEORY3.1 PROBLEM OF THE ORDINARY 42 3.1.1 Urban placemaking 42 3.1.2 Theory structure 443.2 DEFINITION OF THE ORDINARY 45 3.1.2 Importance of ordinary public places 45 3.2.2 Situate the ordinary 49 3.2.3 Synthesis 513.3 LOSS OF THE ORDINARY 52 3.3.1 Socio-spatial dialectic 52 3.3.2 Radical transformation in China 52 3.3.3 Placelessness 55 3.3.4 Body and environment 593.4 PERCEPTION OF THE ORDINARY 60 3.4.1 Perception of space 60 3.4.2 Principles 61v
  • 3.4.3 Linearity 62 3.4.4 Hierarchy 64 3.4.5 Unity 68 3.4.6 Human scale 70 3.4.7 Enclosure 71 3.4.8 Understanding Chinese cities 743.5 THE RE-DISCOVERY OF THE ORDINARY 76 3.5.1 Discussion 76 3.5.2 Form places by enclosing spaces 774 DESIGN4.1 DIAGNOSIS 82 4.1.1 Chengdu 82 4.1.2 Doomsday 944.2 CONCEPT 102 4.2.1 The Wall 102 4.2.2 Framework 104 4.2.3 Increasing air quality 104 4.2.4 Generic becomes specific 1104.3 FRAMEWORK 116 4.3.1 Building the wall 116 4.3.2 Integrating the wall 1224.4 ZOOM IN: THE SPONGE 141 4.4.1 Existing context 144 4.4.2 Series of enclosed worlds 150 4.4.3 Walking from metro to bedroom 2024.5 EVALUATION 218 4.5.1 Hypothesis evaluation 218 4.5.2 Critique 218 4.5.3 The Wall as integral design 221 4.5.4 New Chinese Walls 2235 CONCLUSION Samenvatting 228 Bibliography 230 Image credits 225 Acknowledgements 236 vi
  • 1INTRODUCTIONThis chapter will describe the background and problem field resultingin a problem statement. A main research and design question and a setof sub-questions will be derived from this. 1
  • 1.1 URBAN BILLIONChina’s economic success and rapidly rising standard of living have resultedin a historically unprecedented surge of urbanization that is set to continue( 1). If the current trend continues, nearly one billion people will live inChina’s cities by 2025, requiring construction on a scale never seen before( 2). China will have 221 cities with more than one million inhabitants -compared with 35 in Europe today - of which 23 cities will have more thanfive million people. Research by McKinsey (2008) projects that China willbuild almost 40 billion square meters of floor space over the next 20 years,requiring the construction of between 20,000 and 50,000 new skyscrapers(buildings of more than 30 floors) - the equivalent of up to ten New YorkCities. The urban economy will generate over 90 percent of China’s gdp by2025 (McKinsey, 2008).As the economy grows, it is likely that China will continue to increase itsprosperity. Even the recent global financial crisis will likely have smalleffect on the long-term perspectives on urbanization. In all likelihood thenation’s continuing urbanization will ensure that China will fulfill theambitious economic growth target set out at the 17th Party Congress in2007 (Hu, 2007) of quadrupling per capita gdp by 2020. 1.1 Urbanization. Predominantly in Asia.2
  • Compound annual growth rate, 2005–25Millions of people % 926 2.4 120 6.9 104 1.1 Megacities (10+) 572 32 316 3.4 Big cities 84 (5–10) Midsized cities 161 (1.5–5) 233 2.2 Small cities 150 (0.5–1.5) Big towns 0.3 145 154 (<0.5) 2005 2025 1.2 One billion people in Chinese cities. 491.2 PROBLEM FIELD1.2.1 ChallengeAt the same time the expansion of China’s cities will represent a huge chal-lenge. Of the slightly over 350 million people that China will add to itsurban population by 2025, more than 240 million will be migrants (Woet-zel, et al., 2008a). The recent announcement of land-reform measures willenable migrants to move even more easily to cities, what could increase thescale of urbanization even further. Urbanization along current trends willimply major pressure points for many cities including the challenges ofsecuring sufficient public funding for the provision of social services, anddealing with demand and supply pressures on arable land, energy, publicspace, air quality, water, domesticity, work, food, infrastructure, biodiver-sity, greenery, liveability and health of residents (more in chapter 2).1.2.2 Qualitative growthAll of these challenges will intensify in time, as China’s leaders acknowl- In this thesis an urban archi-edge (Hu, 2007). Although China will likely achieve its gdp growth target tectural model is understood,in the timeframe it has set for itself, a focus solely on gdp growth will not as a schematic description ofachieve a qualitative and harmonious development that the Chinese leader- a city, with statements on allship desire. An alternative urban architectural model, that will take into levels of scale, from regional,account a qualitative growth, will be significant for research to provide a landscape to the architecturalbalanced growth path for China. scale. 3
  • 1.3 Central Business District of Chengdu.4
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  • > 900 800 - 900 700 - 800 600 - 700 Chengdu 500 - 600 400 - 500 300 - 400 200 - 300 100 - 200 50 - 100 0 - 50 Population density, China 2006 (persons/sqkm). Vertical Cities Asia Vertical Cities Asia Competition competition is organized by Therefore the competition of Vertical Cities Asia, in which this thesis com- the National University of petes, promotes “the development of ideas and theories in urban growthSingapore and financially sup- and architectural form related to density, liveability and sustainability spe- ported by the World Future cific to the rapid and exponential growth of urbanism in Asia…it seeks Foundation. design solutions for a balanced environment for urban life where public amenities and work opportunities are within easy access. It encourages effi- cient and clean modes of travels that contribute to clean and fresh air.” (nus, 2011) But how will this model look like? 1.2.3 Alternative urban architectural model As China seeks to handle the enormous challenges, there are in fact sev- eral urban architectural models open, which can, to a great extent, influence how urbanization plays out. McKinsey Global Institute (mgi) studied Chi- na’s urbanization and its future possible urban architectural model (2008). McKinsey developed and examined four urbanization models, each plau- sible outcomes of urbanization over the next 20 years ( 4 5). Dispersed model The current trend points to China heading toward a dispersed rampant urbanization model ( 4). However, the costs in this dispersed model, are 6
  • Distributed Town- growth ization Super Hub andPressure points cities spoke Pressure points Land Land development development Congestion Congestion Labor and Labor and skills skills Funding Funding Water Water Energy High pressure Energy Medium pressure Pollution Pollution Low pressure (McKinsey 2011) 1.4 Current trend dispersed scattered growth. 1.5 Suggested pattern concentrated growth.according to McKinsey unacceptably high. The arable land resources willshrink rapidly, the landscape and environment will further be affected andother problems will increase.From a spatial point of view, public space is especially under pressure:Subtle pedestrian streets and courtyards, intertwined with its context arein contrast with a superimposed neo-corbusian landscape with enclosedislands and high-rise superslabs (Mars and Hornsby, 2008; Hartog, 2010).An interesting contrast, which gives considerable freedom to build, leadingto a continuous promise of reconstruction and increase in living standards,but according to several scholars the public space is more and more separat-ing Chinese society resulting in an alienated relationship with the city (Zhu,2003; Hassenpflug, 2004; Miao, 2011; Abramson, 2008; Olds, 2001; Perryand Selden, 2010). Ordinary public space, which is space that is meaningfulfor everyday life of local residents and communities, is being neglected tobe a basic building block in the city, fortifying the problems China is facing. 7
  • Expensive lakeside bought by speculators. Sattelite Chenggong with 100,000 new apartments.Half finished new town in the middle of the desert in Inner Mongolia. 8
  • Ordos, a new town build in five years.Low rise development outside Changsha. New development north-east of Xinyang. New dispersed developments giving rise to a real estate bubble. Some estimate as many as 64 million empty apartments are on the market (Finance Asia 2011). 9
  • Urban population Urban GDP Urban GDP/capita Million people Renminbi trillion, 2000 Renminbi thousand, 2000 2005 573 12 21 Supercities 917 68 76 Hub and spoke 930 68 75 Distributed 944 60 65 growth Townization 935 54 62 +26% +23% 1.6 Generate highest per capita GDP. Urban energy intensity Urban GDP Urban energy demand BTU per renminbi Renminbi trillion, 2000 QBTUs 2005 4,917 12 59 Supercities 1,926 68 131 +20% Hub and spoke 2,088 68 142 Distributed growth 2,317 60 139 Townization 2,278 54 123 1.7 Higher efficient use of energy, +15%More effective control of pollution. 8 9 China total arable land Million hectares Loss 2005–2025, % 125 Central government 120 target minimum for 2010 115 Hub and spoke –7 Supercities –8 110 105 100 –20 Distributed growth 95 Townization –22 1.8 Contain loss of arable land. 0 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 1 10
  • Compact modelMcKinsey (McKinsey, 2008) suggests that a more compact pattern of urban-ization ( 5) is most likely to reduce the pressures and increase the overallproductivity of the urban system. In contrary, a dispersed growth modelfortifies these pressures ( 4). Therefore McKinsey strongly recommendsthat new urban architectural models should guide China toward a compactpattern of urbanization. This compact growth would have many positiveimplications linked to higher productivity and efficiency ( 6 7 8). Thiswould include: ° Highest per capita GDP ( 6). Compact growth models, would produce up to 20 per- cent higher per capita gdp than more dispersed growth models. Scale effects and pro- ductivity gains are larger in compact urbanization models. ° More efficient use of energy ( 7). Energy productivity would be about 20 percent higher. ° Lowest rate of loss of arable land ( 8). There could be a reduction in the loss of arable land to only 7 percent to 8 percent of the current total, whereas a more dispersed model would result in losses of more than 20 percent. ° More efficient mass-transit. Compact urban architectural models would attain the necessary public-transport capacity with lower costs and higher chances of successful execution. ° More effective control of pollution ( 7). Although megacities that develop in a super- cities scenario would face extremely serious peak pollution problems (e.g. nox), mgi research shows that enforcement of measures to regulate pollution is more wide- spread and effective in larger cities than in smaller cities. Moreover, McKinsey states that a dispersed urban architectural model would generate the greatest amount of emissions countrywide, and would produce more water pollution than would a com- pact urban architectural model. °Availability of talent. While talent will tend to concentrate in big cities, we expect a significant shortage of these workers in small and midsized cities (the trend is already clear today). Compact urbanization scenarios would thus have the advantage of having an abundance of talent in centres that are the engines of economic growth, enabling a more rapid transition to higher-value-added activities.Policy shifts are required but the benefits described above are enormous.Not only for China, but also for the rest of the world. Therefore it is impor-tant to research alternative urban architectural models that could guideUrban China towards compact urbanization. Not only investigating verti-cality is important, but also a new efficient planning system is crucial. 11
  • urban development 2 km from the site in Chengdu. 1.2.4 Hypothesis: Re-discovery of ordinary public places The hypothesis of this thesis is that by re-discovering the fundamental role of ordinary public space in Chinese cities, several other problems can be addressed and even be mitigated. It can guide Chinese cities towards a more compact urban architectural model. This hypothesis is endorsed by several scholars. “Streets and their sidewalks, the main public spaces of the city, are its most vital organs” (Jacobs, 1961, p. 29). Others suggest that if “...we do right by our streets we can in large measure do right by the city as a whole – and, therefore and most importantly, by its inhabitants” (Jacobs, 1961, p. 314; Carmona et al., 2005; Gehl, 2001). Since ‘public place’ is such a broad and culturally defined term, an extensive theoretical study will investigate the meaning and perception of the term in China. 1.2.5 Case-study Chengdu Every year, for the next five In this thesis the city of Chengdu is used as a case-study. The competitionyears, a one square kilometre assigned a small strip of land on the south of the city ( 9) to design a master-territory will be the subject of plan for 100,000 people per sqkm, whereby it was obligatory to address the the competition. air quality. The city of Chengdu is at the very heart of the dramatic trans- formation ( 10) of China and can be seen as a perfect model city of Chinese recent growth. It is also a city under pressure of an enormous amount of new migrants from the rural areas. Like in many Chinese cities, the recent growth is explosive, and a lot of valuable arable land is lost. 12
  • 1.10 Comparative analysis of Chengdu and world cities. Chengdu sits in an emerging new region for important cities: interior China. CHENGDU BOSTON LONDON NEW YORK BANGALORE MUNICH TOULOUSE SF BAY AREA WASHINGTON ATLANTA DUBAI TOKYO SEATTLE MOSCOW SEOUL CAIRO MEXICO CITY SINGAPORE SAO PAOLO EVERY RING EQUALS 1000KM WASHINGTON SF BAY AREA BANGALORE TOULOUSE NEW YORK CHENGDU ATLANTA LONDON MUNICH BOSTON SEATTLE TOKYO DUBAI DENSITY243 P/KM2 305 P/KM2 355 P/KM2 372 P/KM2 656 P/KM2 888 P/KM2 1053 P/KM2 1096 KM2 2842 P/KM2 4286 P/KM2 4932 P/KM2 5847 P/KM2 7665 P/KM2 AREA21,693 KM2 3,885 KM2 232.1 KM2 14,412 KM2 22,681 KM2 12,390 KM2 808 KM2 17,405 KM2 369.2 KM2 310.4 KM2 1,572 KM2 2,187 KM2 709.5 KM2 POPULATION 5.47 M 1.19 M 4.05 M 3.93 M 7. 42 M 11.01 M 0.85 M 19.06 M 0. 62 M 1.33 M 7.75 M 13.01 M 1.33 MWORLD MAP AND SIZE COMPARISON 13
  • 1.9 Chengdu surrounded by a mountainous area. The site to be investigated is located in the south.14
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  • 1:100 000 N 5,76 km 4,21 km 3,41 km 1,14 km 1,22 km 1,12 km 3,13 km 5,58 kmBirdsnest Central Park Site location Dutch CityBeijing New York Chengdu Delft 16
  • 1.9 Planned area, site comparison and site.. 17
  • View on the site given by the competition.18
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  • 1.3 PROBLEM STATEMENT“In an age of ever increasing urbanization with massive migra-tions from the countryside to the city, China is at a crossroads.Existing dispersed urban architectural models can continue tobe recycled to accommodate increased populations, but this atthe same time fortifies problems in society, infrastructure andenvironment.Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to propose an alternativecompact urban architectural model that will take on the specif-ics of Chinese urban development, thereby fostering the spatialquality of ordinary public places. The city of Chengdu is sub-ject for this research. The testing ground is a small strip of landin the south of Chengdu. The final result is a masterplan, withaccording to the competition assignment an obligatory density of100,000 people per 1sqkm and ideas to increase the air quality.The main research question derived from this problem statementis: “How to design an alternative compact urban architecturalmodel for Chengdu, that fosters ordinary public places, resultingin a masterplan with a density of 100,000 people per sqkm?”20
  • Urban architectural modelAn urban architectural model is understood, as a schematic description ofa city, with statements on all levels of scale, from regional, landscape to thearchitectural scale and design of public space.Public spacePublic space is a broad term and in various cultures differently perceived. Public Space is also oftenIn the theory part, the term will be further discussed. The general defini- misconstrued to mean othertion is: Any area of land or water, which is not located within an enclosed things such as gatheringbuilding, and which is set aside for the use and enjoyment of the public. It place, which is an elementis the space, building or use that is equally open and available to all who of the larger concept of socialchoose to use it, and does not denote ownership. space.MasterplanThe masterplan should consist of a general strategy on city scale, an urbandesign for the given site and an elaboration on the architectural scale.1.4 METHODOLOGYFrom the main research question: “How to design an alternative compacturban architectural model for Chengdu, that fosters ordinary public places,resulting in a masterplan with a density of 100,000 people per sqkm?” Sev-eral sub-research questions and various methods to answer them can bederived from this.The research questions lead to the methods of: 1. What are the major threats and opportunities facing China and in par-ticular Chengdu?Data study (sources: Worldbank, McKinsey, Yearbooks, CIA World Factbook,)Interview with Robert Campbell, director of McKinsey Asia. 2. What are the spatial problems of public space in China?Theory study 3. How is public space spatially perceived in China?Theory study 4. What spatial building blocks for the design can be derived from dataand theory research ? 5. What is the current urban architectural model of Chengdu?Literature study, policies study, historical analysis 21
  • 6. What is the landscape system? Water, biodiversity, vegetation?Literature study + GIS 7. What would be an interesting program mix for the site? What wouldbe the best land use strategy? Which building typologies, should be part ofthe masterplan?Typological research, Parametric Urban Design methods (Rhinoceros+Grasshopper+Ecotect) 8. What would be the planning guidelines for the masterplan?Policy study + Masterplan case studies 9. Which overall framework can be proposed to meet the requirements ofthe competition and the problem statement?Research by design Problem Statement H2 Data research H3 Theory H3.5 Building blocks H 4 Design H4.4 Zoom in H4.5 Reflection H5 Conclusion Methodology.22
  • Vertical Cities. The com- petition for tallest building in the world is taken seriously in China. Several Chinese cities put itself on the map with a new skyline icon, often designed by Western architects.1.5 RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE1.5.1 Scientific and societal relevanceWhat this research aims to add is a new urban architectural model thatfosters public space quality. However, there are innumerable theorems andresearch about the state of urban China. This makes a humble positionabout the scientific and societal relevance of this thesis wise.The competition of Vertical Cities Asia searches for a integration of den-sity, verticality, domesticity, work, food, infrastructure, nature, ecology,structure and program. However the conventional building metric in thecontemporary Chinese masterplan is rather limited. The research in thisthesis questions the conventional metric. The hypothesis is that with alter-native ways of masterplanning, with respect for the specifics of China andthe environment will most likely mitigate the enormous pressures Chinesesociety is facing.1.5.2 EthicsSeveral critics state that because of Western intervention ( 11), Chinesecities are facing problems. Seog-Jeong Lee, director of city planning inSeoul in Atlantis 22.2 Urban Form (2011): “Increasingly, Asia seems to bethe place for the experimental high-rise works of western architects whodo not consider the local Asian context. I think that our cities need to dis-cover alternative ways to combine high density with urban quality withoutresorting to verticality”. This would be a possible ethical problem arisingthis research and design. Therefore, the thesis relies heavily on statistics andin the theory part an extensive cultural study will be exhibited. 23
  • 1.11 Shanghai CBD competition. Richard Rogers 1994.24
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  • 2URBAN CHINATo avoid biases about Urban China, this chapter researches data aboutthe development of China with specific attention to the city of Chengdu.The data sheets are highlighted with the text. Finally this provides aclear overall picture of the state of demographics, economics, transport,living and environment in Urban China and Chengdu in particular. 27
  • POPULATION (million persons) 1 POPULATION DENSITY, China 2006 (persons/sqkm) 2 URBAN POPULATION (% of total population) 1400 90 80 1200 70 1000 60 50 800 > 900 40 800 - 900 600 700 - 800 30 600 - 700 Chengdu 500 - 600 400 20 400 - 500 300 - 400 10 200 200 - 300 100 - 200 0 50 - 100 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 0 0 - 50 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 China United States European Union World source: Worldbank China United States European Union source: Worldbank source: POPULATION annual growth (%) 3 LIFE EXPECTANCY (years) 80 3 Harbin 2,5 75 Beijing 2 Huhhot 70 Taiyuan 1,5 65 1 Shanghai Xingping Suzhou 0,5 Nanchong 60 Changsha Chengdu Taizhou 0 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 Cangnan 55 Shenzhen 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 -0,5 Xiamen China United States European Union World -1 POPULATION source: Worldbank China United States European Union World population 2005 source: Worldbank population 1990 source: McKinsey Global Institute4 POPULATION urban agglomoration, 2009 (million persons) GROWTH size and speed, 1990 - 2005 3 AGE population, China 2000 (1.265 million people) Suzhou fast Xingping Taizhou Cangnan Nanchong Huhhot Shenzhen 6,9 % 65+ Nanchong Taizhou Xiamen Suzhou Changsha 15 - 64 70,1 % (working age) Xiamen Tiayuan Harbin Chengdu Chengdu Beijing Shanghai Cangnan Changsha Shenzhen Harbin 0 - 14 22,9 % Huhhot Beijing Tiayuan Shanghai Xingping slow 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 small large 1990 2009 source: McKinsey Global Institute source: McKinsey Global Institute source: McKinsey Global Institute Demography 28
  • 5 POPULATION, Chengdu (million persons) POPULATION DENSITY, Chengdu 2008 (persons/sqkm) POPULATION growth, Chengdu (persons) 250000 14 12 200000 10 150000 8 6 100000 4 >7500 50000 5000-7500 2 2500-5000 0 1000-2500 0 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 500-1000 < 500 immigration growth natural growth -50000 source: United Nations source: China Statistical Yearbook source: China Statistical Yearbook 6 URBAN AREA, Chengdu (sqkm) 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 source: China Statistical Yearbook BUILT AREA growth before 1990 1990 - 2010 AGE population, Sichuan province 2000 MIGRATION moving & emigration, Chengdu 7 MIGRATION reasons per age, Chengdu 2001 (83.3 million people) 35 100% 90% 30 80% 65+ 7,5 % 25 70% 60% 20 50% better social services 15 40% more interesting life 15 - 64 69,9 % (working age) reunite with family 10 30% more experience 20% job transfer 5 10% higher pay obtain job 0 0% 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 under 24 24-29 30-39 40+ 0 - 14 22,6 % source: UNESCAP moving rate / 1000 persons emigration rate / 1000 persons source: China Statistical Yearbook source: WebsterIn 2010 1.3 billion people are living in China. Since 1960 population has dou-bled, while in the US and the EU the growth was only 140% ( 1). By 2030the urban population will almost double from 572m in 2005 to one billion (2). In 2010 in China the life expectancy is 72 years, 4 years higher than world-wide, but still 6 years lower than the US and the EU and there is also an enor-mous aging process ( 3). After Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, Chengduis the fourth biggest urban agglomoration ( 4). There are about 12 millionpeople living in greater Chengdu ( 5). While the population of Chengdualmost doubled between 1980 and 2010, the urban area became 5 times bigger( 6). By 2013 the loss of arable land will go below the governments minu-mum. The main reason for this growth is immigration from rural areas tothe city. Important reasons for migration to the city are obtain a job, bettersocial services and reunite with family ( 7). 29
  • GDP growth (%) 9 12 FDI growth (%) OFFICE CAPITAL VALUE, 2005 - 2008 (growth in %) 1,4 Xian avg. 11% 2 Zhengzhou Wuxi Shenyang Guangzhou 1,3 1,5 Hangzhou Qingdao Beijing Chengdu Chongqing 1,2 1 Xiamen Wuhan Fuzhou Shanghai Tianijn 1,1 0,5 Dalian Changsha Shenzhen Nanjing 0 Suzhou 1 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 0 5 10 15 20 25 Chengdu China Chengdu China source: China Statistical Yearbook source: China Statistical Yearbook source: Jones Lang LaSalle8 GDP per capita (US$) GDP per sector, China (billion yuan) 35.000 50000 30.000 25.000 20.000 45000 15.000 Harbin 10.000 5.000 40000 0 1980 1990 2000 2008 primary sector secondary sector tertairy sector 35000 Beijing source: China Statistical Yearbook Huhhot 30000 Taiyuan 25000 IMPORT & EXPORT total, China (billion yuan) Shanghai Xingping 3.000 20000 Suzhou 2.500 Nanchong 2.000 1132,6 15000 956 1.500 Changsha Chengdu Taizhou 1.000 1217,8 1430,7 10000 Cangnan 500 225,1 0 249,2 Shenzhen 2000 2007 2008 5000 export import source: China Statistical Yearbook Xiamen 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 GDP per capita, 2005 GDP per capita China USA Japan Germany France source: McKinsey Global Institute source: Worldbank IMPORT & EXPORT countries, 2006 IMPORT & EXPORT products, 2006 (US$ million) import export IC and micro assemblies Clothing Other machinery and components IC and micro assemblies Aeronautical equipment and components Steels Steels Other machinery and components Automobile and component Textiles Auto control measurement apparatus Other electrical equipment Other electrical equipment Shoes 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 source: Chengdu Investment Promotion Commission 2005 growth 2006 source: Chengdu Investment Promotion Commission Economy 30
  • JOB SECTOR breakdown, Chengdu (% of GDP) 11 PRIMARY SECTOR share, Chengdu 2008 SECONDARY SECTOR share, Chengdu 2008 15 BUSINESS VOLUME Chengdu 2000 300 1980 250 10% 23% 27% electronic information product 200 manufacturing industry 53% 37% pharmaceutical industry 150 agriculture 50% food, beverages and tobacco industry 100 lin industry machinery industry (incl. automobile) 50 animal husbandry industry petrochemical industry 1990 2008 0 fish industry 1980 1990 2000 2008 materials metallurgical industry 7% business volume animal husbandry and other industries source: China Statistical Yearbook fishery services 21% 39% 47% 46% source: China Statistical Yearbook source: China Statistical Yearbook GOOGLE SEARCHES ‘Chengdu’, volume index 40% 8 6 4 primary sector secondary sector tertiary sector 2 source: China Statistical Yearbook 0 2004 2006 2008 2010 source: Google searches 10 GDP per sector, Chengdu (billion yuan) GOOGLE SEARCHES ‘Chengdu’, countries 0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1 5.000 Singapore Hong Kong 4.000 China 3.000 Malaysia Australia 2.000 Thailand Netherlands 1.000 Switzerland India 0 Finland 1980 1990 2000 2008 source: Google searches primary sector secondary sector tertairy sector source: China Statistical Yearbook GOOGLE SEARCHES ‘Chengdu’, languages 0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1 Chinese English Dutch IMPORT & EXPORT total, Chengdu Finnish (billion yuan) Thai Swedish 200 German French 150 Italian Japanese 63,39 100 source: Google searches 38,03 50 90,72 6,63 57,13 FOREIGN TOURISTS, Chengdu 0 8,18 250.000 2000 2007 2008 export import source: China Statistical Yearbook 200.000 150.000 100.000 FOREIGN COMPANIES investment, 50.000 per branch 2007 0 2002 2004 2006 2008 Thailand Singapore Germany Gr. Britain USA Hong Kong Electronics source: China Statistical Yearbook Machinery, technology etc. Food 15 INCOME BY TOURISTS, Chengdu (million RBM) Paper 40000 Other 35000 source: Chengdu Investment Promotion Commission commercial 30000 25000 industry (1) 20000 industry (2) 15000 vertical city Asia site 10000 5000 0 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 13 FOREIGN INVESTMENT companies, 2007 (million US$) 16 FOREIGN INVESTMENT countries (billion) source: China Statistical Yearbook Intel Hutchison 14.000 Lafarge Marubeni Procter & Gamble 12.000 EXPATS, Chengdu 2006 Ito-Yokado Carrefour (total number: 4537 persons) 10.000 United Technology 100% Sumitomo U.K. 90% Malaysia Metro 8000 Pakistan Bayer 80% France Auchan International Paper 70% Nepal 6000 Kimberly Clark 60% Japan Pepsi 4000 50% Alcatel Vietnam Sony 40% Shell 2000 30% South Korea McDonalds L.M. Ericsson 20% Other companies 0 10% 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 0% United States Taiwan Singapore S. Korea Gr. Britain USA Hong Kong source: Chengdu Investment Promotion Commission source: Chengdu Investment Promotion Commission source: Chengdu Investment Promotion CommissionAfter 1978, China focused on market-oriented economic developmentand this has contributed to a more than tenfold increase in gdp since 1978.Still, per capita income is below the world average ( 8). The gdp growth ofChengdu is more fluctuating than the overall growth of China ( 9). As partof the total gdp the secundary and tertiary sector are rising at the expense ofthe primary sector ( 10). Chengdu’s most important export products are ser-vices, manufacturing and construction and agriculture ( 11). The fdi (foreigndirect investment) growth is in 2008 two times higher ( 12). By far the big-gest investor in Chengdu in 2007 is Intel ( 13). Computer chips are made atfactories like Foxconn. Most of the foreign investments still come from HongKong ( 14). Future international investments are expected. Business volumeis exploding ( 15). In 5 years (2001-2006) the income by tourists in Chengduhas more than doubled ( 16). Chengdu is famous for its pandas and scenery. 31
  • INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT connections, 2011 INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT weekly number, 2006 AIR TRANSPORT annual registered carrier departures 25000 Xingping Suzhou 22500 Nanchong Taizhou 20000 Huhhot Tiayuan 17500 Amsterdam Changsha Seoel Tokyo Kathmandu 15000 Osaka Harbin Karachi Hong Kong Chengdu Bangkok 12500 Kuala Lumpur Shenzhen Singapore Xiamen 10000 Beijing 590 7500 Shanghai 768 0 25 50 75 100 5000 source: Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport source: McKinsey Global Institute 2500 0 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 China United States European Union World17 GASOLINE pump price (US$ per liter) source: Worldbank 1,6 1,4 1,2 1 0,8 0,6 18 ROAD SPACE per car, 2005 (Chengdu compared to Beijing) 0,4 0,2 Chengdu 0 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 Beijing 188 sqm Chengdu 141 sqm source: McKinsey Global Institute China United States European Union World source: Worldbank HIGHWAYS Pri. highways Sec. highways source: U.S. Department of transportation20 PUBLIC-TRANSPORT use, 2006 (annual uses/person) ENERGY CONSUMPTION ROAD SECTOR (% of total energy consumption) PRINCIPAL RAILWAY STATIONS passengers (1000 persons) avg. 140 annual uses/person 45000 25 Xingping 40000 Suzhou Taizhou 20 35000 Nanchong 30000 Huhhot 15 25000 Tiayuan Chengdu 20000 Shenzhen 10 15000 Harbin Shanghai 10000 Changsha 5 5000 Xiamen 0 Beijing 0 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Shanghai Beijing Harbin Chengdu Shenzhen Suzhou China United States European Union World source: McKinsey Global Institute source: Worldbank source: China Statistical Yearbook Transport 32
  • TRANSPORT TYPES by income, Chengdu 2001 (percentage of trips) 19 AVERAGE SPEED city centre, Chengdu (kmph) 25 walk 20 bike biking 15 bus 10 motorbike 5 car 0 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 0% 20 % 40 % 60 % 80 % 100 % average during rush hour low income med income high income source: chinadaily source: WebsterNUMBER OF BUSES, Chengdu 8000 21 METRO SYSTEM, Chengdu 2011 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 1995 2002 2010 line 1 (constructed) line 2 (2015) other lines (planned) source: McKinsey Global Institute source: ... INFRASTRUCTURE high speed railway railway light railway line express ways bus stops vertical city Asia siteTRANSPORT, Chengdu (million vehicles) DISTANCE FROM DWELLING, Chengdu 2006 (minutes) 3,5 25 3 20 2,5 2 15 1,5 10 1 5 0,5 0 0 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 low income middle income high income motorcycles private cars electric bicycles trucks to CBD to nearest shopping mall to nearest park to nearest food market source: China Statistical Yearbook source: WebsterThe price per litre of gasoline is in China more rising compared to thewestern world ( 17). By 2030 the current subway system need to expandeight times.The road space per car in Chengdu is extremely low ( 18).Only 141 sqm per car, while in Beijing this is 188 sqm per car. The averagespeed in the city centre of Chengdu is already under biking-speed ( 19). Itis expected that in 2015 it will be near 0 kmph. Therefore Chengdu is inChina the most inefficient city measured by working-living transportation.Car ownership of Chengdu ranks 3rd in China. There are 1200 new carsper day extra, with 2.4 million already on the road. The use of public trans-port in Chengdu is lower than average in China ( 20). A metro system serv-ing the city is under construction. The first 2 lines are already finished ( 21). 33
  • INCOME & EXPENDITURE per capita (yuan) 22 PRIMARY SCHOOL pupils per teacher, 2008 18.000 16.000 Chengdu disposable income World 24 urban Chengdu total expenditure 14.000 China disposable income China expenditure 12.000 10.000 China 18 Chengdu disposable income 8.000 Chengdu total expenditure rural China disposable income 6.000 China expenditure European Union 15 4.000 2.000 0 United States 14 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 source: China Statistical Yearbook source: Worldbank23 HEALTH EXPENDITURE, 2007 (% of GDP) 25 EMPLOYMENT, 2008 (% of population 15+) Harbin United States 15,7% European Union 9,3% China 4,3% source: Worldbank China 71% United States 59% European Union 50% source: Worldbank Beijing Taiyuan IMMUNIZATION DPT (% of children ages 12-23 months) 26 FEMALE LABOR participation rate (% of female 15+) 100 75 Suzhou Nanchong 90 Shanghai 80 70 Chengdu Changsha Taizhou 70 65 60 50 Xiamen 60 40 Shenzhen 30 55 20 UNEMPLOYMENT 10 registrated unemployment 50 2007 (% of population 15+) 0 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 45 China United States European Union World 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 source: Worldbank China United States European Union World source: Worldbank24 NUTRITION SUPPLY per capita (Kcal per person per day) INFLATION consumer prices (annual %) 4500 25 4000 20 3500 15 3000 2500 10 2000 5 1500 0 1000 0 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 China United States World -5 China United States source: Worldbank source: Worldbank Living 34
  • 29 EXPENDITURE per capita, Chengdu 2008 DURABLE CONSUMER GOODS per 100 households, Chengdu 2008 27 HOUSEHOLD SIZE, Chengdu 200 5 100% 180 160 4,5 140 90% 120 100 4 80 80% 60 40 3,5 20 70% 0 3 air conditioners washing machine refrigerator shower color tv home computer mobile phone general phone family car motorcycle 60% 2,5 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 urban rural source: China Statistical Yearbook China Average Household Size (URBAN) 50% Average Household Size (URBAN) China Average Household Size (RURAL) Average Household Size (RURAL 40% source: China Statistical Yearbook 30% 20% 10% 0% urban rural Rest (clothes, tax, living) Habitat Live Recreation, education and cultural services Health Care Household equipment and services Food Products source: Webster Residential Mosque Buddhist temple Christian church Taoist temple Museum Sport facility High end hotel Theater University vertical citie Asia site28 FOOD CONSUMPTION per capita, Chengdu 2008 (kg) FOOD CONSUMPTION per FOOD CONSUMPTION expenditure per capita (yuan) capita, Chengdu 2008 (Kcal) 800 200 40 180 700 35 160 600 140 30 500 120 25 400 100 20 80 300 15 60 200 10 40 5 100 20 0 0 0 cereals fats and oils vegetables pig meat poultry products eggs class white wine fresh fruits dairy products cereals fats and oils vegetables pig meat poultry products eggs class white wine fresh fruits dairy products urban rural urban rural 2007 2008 source: China Statistical Yearbook source: China Statistical Yearbook source: China Statistical YearbookThe income and expenditure rates have tripled the last 10 years ( 22). Thehealth expenditure as a part of the gdp in China is 4%. This is less than inthe US (15%) and the EU (9%) ( 23). From 1990 an average Chinese personis eating more per day than an average person worldwide. But with around3000 kcal, this is still 700 kcal less than the average in the US ( 24). By2030 meat consumption will double in China. In 2008 the employment ofChina is 12% higher than in the US and 21% higher than in the EU ( 25).The female labour participation in China is high ( 26). About 70% of allthe working females are of the age of 15+. But this number is decreasing.The household size is decreasing. An urban household in Chengdu had anaverage of 3.5 persons in 1990 and an average of 2.7 in 2008 ( 27). The dailydiet of an urban person in Chengdu is more varied ( 28), but spend less on food ( 29). 35
  • AIR QUALITY 2009 34 33 AIR QUALITY 2009 Chengdu 600 120 100 500 80 New York Chinese average 60 400 40 20 300 0 200 London Amsterdam 100 0 Tokyo Ph Cl- NO3 SO24 NH4 K+ Na+ Ca2+ Mg2 Particulate matter (PM10) Sulfur dioxide (SO2) Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) Chengdu Chongqing Shanghai Beijing Istanbul Mexico Tokyo Lhasa source: WHO source: WHO31 FOREST area (% of land area) 36 FRESHWATER withdrawal, 2000 40 7% 26 % 35 67 % China 30 total: 549,76 cu km / year per capita: 415 cu m / year 25 13 % 20 Chengdu 41 % 15 46 % United States total: 477 cu km / year per capita: 1600 cu m / year 10 ACID RAIN 2008 1990 1995 2000 2005 PH > 5,6 China United States European Union World PH 5,0 - 5,6 domestic industry agricultural source: Worldbank PH 4,5 - 5,0 source: CIA factbook PH < 4,532 AGRICULTURAL land (% of land area) ARABLE land (% of land area) 30 CO2 emmisions (metric tons per capita) 25 35 65 60 30 20 55 25 15 50 20 45 15 10 40 10 35 5 5 30 0 0 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 25 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 China United States European Union World China United States European Union World source: Worldbank China United States European Union World source: Worldbank source: Worldbank Environment 36
  • MAJOR POLLUTANTS load ratio,35 AIR QUALITY per season, Chengdu 2009 inner city Chengdu 2009 37 ACID RAIN, Chengdu 2009 37 AIR POLLUTION, Chengdu 2009 9 winter 140 8 120 7 100 28% 80 6 46% 60 5 40 20 4 26% autumn 0 spring 3 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 acid rain frequency PMIO SO2 NO2 PH of precipitation normal PH source: China Academy of Urban Planning and Design Planning and Design Institute, Chengdu source: China Academy of Urban Planning and Design Planning and Design Institute, Chengdu summer PMIO NO2 SO2 measured measured measured WHO guideline  NO2 WHO guideline SO2 WHO guideline source: Chengdu Environmental Protection Bureau, WHO38 WATER QUALITY Mintuo River 40 35 30 source: China Academy of Urban Planning and Design Planning and Design Institute, Chengdu 25 20 15 10 5 0 best I II III IV V worse VI 2008 2009 source: Chengdu Environmental Protection Bureau NOISE POLLUTION, Chengdu 2009 ANNUAL WATER USE, Chengdu 2001 (total 335 million m3) residential 36% nondomestic 46% nonrevenue 18% source: Water in Asian cities. Asian Development Bank WATER CONSUMPTION by activity activities litres used toilet flushes 10 - 15 shower (per minute) 15 - 35 bath (full tub) 150 laundry machine (full load) 160 - 220 dishwasher 25 - 55 source: China Academy of Urban Planning and Design Planning and Design Institute, Chengdu dishwashing by hand (tap running) 110 shaving (tap running) 20 - 30 brushing teeth (tap running) 10 - 30 WATER Chengdu source: Water in Asian cities. Asian Development Bank built area water vertical city Asia site WATER CONSUMPTION volume, 2001 (million cubic meters per day) WATER PRODUCTION volume, 2001 (million cubic meters per day) WATER CONSUMPTION per capita, 2001 (liters per day) Vientiane Phnom Penh Kathmandu Phnom Penh Vientiane Jakarta Kathmandu Kathmandu Phnom Penh Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar Delhi Colombo Colombo Vientiane Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur Dhaka Ho Chi Minh Ho Chi Minh Colombo Jakarta Chengdu Manila Dhaka Dhaka Kuala Lumpur Chengdu Jakarta Chengdu Osaka Osaka Ho Chi Minh Delhi Karachi Hong Kong Karachi Tashkent Karachi Manila Hong Kong Seoul Tashkent Delhi Shanghai Hong Kong Seoul Osaka Seoul Manila Ulaanbaatar Shanghai Shanghai Tashkent 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 domestic nondomestic surface water underground water source: Water in Asian cities. Asian Development Bank source: Water in Asian cities. Asian Development Bank source: Water in Asian cities. Asian Development Bank From 2006 the co2 emission per capita in China is higher than average worldwide, but still lower than in the Western countries ( 30). In China there is a strong rise of forest area ( 31). About 10% from 1990 to 2008. Worldwide this is getting lower (-2% from 1990 to 2008). The agricultural land in China was in 1990 only 37% of the total land area, in 2008 this is more than 60% ( 32). Which means that nature is being transformed to agriculture to still feed to growing population. Compared to the Chinese average the number of particulate matter (pm10), which causes bad air qual- ity, of Chengdu is good ( 33), but compared to other world cities it is bad ( 34). Compared to who standards it is 2.5 times worse ( 35). Almost one third of China is hit by acid rain ( 36), leading to the worlds most polluted cities ( 37) and a polluted river in Chengdu ( 38). 37
  • energy water consumption (liter/day/capita) urban area (sqkm) migrants waste per capita income & expenditure (yuan) food consumption (kcal/day/capita) population private cars water availability (liter/day/capita) biodiversity cars’ average speed (km/h)1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2030 2035 2040 2045 39. China at the crossroads. 38
  • CrossroadsLearning from the data, it can be argued that the world is heading intotwo directions; the Western world can be characterized as a world of stag-nation with a high gdp level but stagnation in population growth. Yet theEastern world, South America and Africa are still growing in both gdplevel and population. One can state that China is exploding and Europeand the US are imploding.However China is facing economic, demographic, environmental, socialand spatial challenges. Oil and wheat prices will rise. Water availabilityis dropping. Waste will increase. Rainfall will rise. Urbanization eats upits surrounding landscape. Biodiversity is dropping. The amount of carsis exploding. Energy demand will triple. There is an aging population.Income and expenditure are rising, therefore making the availability ofcheap labor, the economic backbone of China, decrease. In short, UrbanChina is at the crossroads ( 39). In order to attempt to resolve the chal-lenges, which path will China take? A choice is needed to counter thetrends.It is the hypothesis of this thesis, that the underlying framework of thecity, its streets and public space is the basis for development, because theseare a lasting foundation for years. By improving public space, the chal-lenges facing China might be mitigated. Therefore it is crucial to under-stand space, the Chinese perception of it and how to structure it. The nextchapter deals with that. 39
  • 40
  • 3THEORYThe data chapter showed that China is at the crossroads. The hypothe-sis of this thesis is that by improving the spatial quality of public spaces,the challenges facing China will be mitigated. But despite the increasedattention given to spatial design of public space in China, the spatialquality of public space, both in the existing city as in new extensions,has not been improved, or even is deteriorated. It leads more and moreto an alienated relationship with the city.These spaces, meaningful for everyday life, are predominantly smallplaces (<2 ha) in large amounts scattered through the urban fabric,such as pocket parks, small squares and courtyards. Notions of Hei-degger provide a conceptual framework to understand the mechanismsbehind these spaces and how they can become meaningful. Within thisframework Chinese literature aimed at the perception of public space isdiscussed resulting in recommendations to improve the spatial qualityof these spaces in the existing city or in a new urban design. 41
  • 3.1 PROBLEM OF THE ORDINARY3.1.1 Urban placemakingSince the Chinese Communist government formally adopted market-orien-tated economic policies in 1978 levels of urbanization have increased from18 percent to 50 percent (McKinsey, 2008). This growth is also mirrored byan incredible pace of change of ‘urban placemaking’. ‘The new significance,awareness and attention that is given to planning of open public space hasalready led to improvements, mostly with large scale urban designs’ (Has-senpflug, 2004).AlienationHowever, according to several scholars the spatial quality of public places,meaningful for everyday life, has not been improved proportionally and,is sometimes even deteriorated (Miao, 2011; Hassenpflug, 2004; Yang and42
  • Local gathering in Chengdu.Volkman, 2010; Miao, 2001). The spaces therefore ‘lack to accommodatethe local residents and community needs’. Chen & Romice (2009) arguethat ‘the result for everyday life is the alienation with the relationship tothe city’ and state that ‘the main cause is tactless reconstruction’. In thenew Chinese city subtle collective typologies, green and pedestrian friendlystreets are rapidly being replaced by a Neo-Corbusion landscape with largesquares, impressive parks, eye-catching architecture, high-rise apartmentsand privatized compounds. More precisely, public space increasingly plays aseparating role, and is being ignored to be a basic building block of the city(Zhu, 2003; Miao, 2011; Abramson, 2008). It is the hypothesis of this thesis,that if this becomes the new tendency of all future developments, it wouldbe the absolute deathblow of public life and several problems facing Chinawill be fortified. 43
  • 1 A Pocket park in Hong Kong.Research questionTherefore it is crucial to learn from the current state of knowledge abouthow to foster public life in urban places and to understand what is a ‘place’and what makes it meaningful for everyday life. Both in existing situationsas in new urban designs. Therefore this chapter aims to answer the ques-tion what are recommendations for designing public places that serve localresidents’ and community everyday needs, in order to improve the spatialquality of these places in Chinese cities?3.1.2 Theory structureRemarkably, according to several scholars, there is a common urgent notion,but still a lack of contemporary Chinese literature and research about thissubject (Miao, 2011; Zhu, 2003; Chen and Romice, 2009). However, severalWestern authors have written about making meaningful places and alsoChina has a profound collection of classic architectural literature about thesubject. In 2000 years of architectural history, China progressively devel-oped its perception of space, both in urban as in rural settings, and its mean-ing for everyday life. Therefore classic Chinese literature about the percep-tion of public space will be discussed.Public places are in this thesis understood as spaces that mainly serve localresidents’ and community everyday needs. The places do not necessarilyhave important landmarks, icons or other major symbolic structures, or areserving one dominant function, like highways and shopping malls. Accord-ing to Miao (2011), these places in China are predominantly small places(<2 ha) in large amounts scattered through the urban fabric, such as pocketparks ( 3.1), small squares and courtyards. It can also be a linear space likea pedestrian street.44
  • Since ‘public place’ is such a broad term, it is important to first discuss thegeneral definitions of ‘place’ and ‘public’ and how it can be meaningful foreveryday life, or in other words for ‘the ordinary’. Notions of Heideggerand Western urban theory provide a conceptual framework to criticallydefine this (chapter 2). From there on an attempt will be made to under-stand what ‘public’ and ‘place’ meant in traditional Chinese cities (chapter3). This sheds some light on the current spatial problems of public spaceand some tangible building blocks for a spatial framework can be derivedfrom this.Certainly, spatial design alone has a limited role in the production of publicspace (Lefebvre, 2000; Castells, 1977), but this theory review can help tofoster ordinary public life and reinforce the unifying role public space canhave. The results are an underpinning of the second part of the thesis, inwhich a new urban architectural model is proposed for the city of Chengdu.3.2 DEFINITION OF THE ORDINARYIn Western urban theory places that are meaningful for ‘the ordinary’ or‘the everyday’ is a concept often being reflected about. On one hand as abasis for an attitude towards design, or on the other hand as a backgroundfor criticising the assumed increasing ‘placelessness’ in the modern metrop-olis. The underlying premise in these theories seems to be taking the exist-ing situation and something elusive as ‘the spirit of the place’ as a startingpoint for design and reflection, in order to create meaningful ordinaryplaces in the city, while in new developments this is often neglected. Sev-eral authors endorse this, while others criticise this basic premise. There arehowever similarities between the current critiques on contemporary Chi-nese cities and critique in the last three decades on the Western metropolis.3.2.1 Importance of ordinary public placesThe theoretical roots of the importance of ordinary public places for every-day life can be found with Heidegger. Heidegger argues that a fundamentalelement, in the social construction of a place, is the existential necessity forpeople to define themselves in relation to the material world. Heideggerargues that human beings originate in an alienated condition, and definethemselves, through their social spatial environment. The creation of ‘place’roots them in the world, their homes and localities becoming biographies ofthat creation (Heidegger, 1971). Central in Heidegger’s ideas is the notion of‘dwelling”. ‘To dwell’ is to live a life that is informed by a particular experi-ence – the experience or feeling of being ‘at home’ in one’s world. 45
  • Against a traditional view of space as an empty container for discrete bodies, Heidegger understands space as a living space that is in relation to man. Chillida (1970) shows us that space is the liveliest of all, the one that surrounds us.Body and material worldOur capacity to dwell allows us to construct meaningful places. So a ‘place’is much more than just an urban form. According to Aravot (2002) ‘it struc-tures the daily routines of economic and social life; it provides opportuni-ties and constraints; it provides an arena in which everyday knowledgeand experience is gathered; it provides a site for socialization and socialreproduction and an arena for contesting social norms’. Madsen & Plunz(2002) add a crucial concept namely, that people can conduct their day-to-day public lives without having to make it an object of conscious attention.The experience of everyday ordinary routines in familiar settings leads to ashared meaning of a place. People become familiar with one another. Oftenthis carries over into people’s attitudes and feelings about themselves andtheir locality and to the symbolism they attach to that place. Entrikin (1991)adds the notion that ‘these places are dependent on perspective: Places areconstructed by their inhabitants from a subjective point of view, whilesimultaneously they are constructed and seen as an external ‘other’ by out-siders.’ Also places can be temporarily and made by events like music, exhi-bitions, festivals and can be meaningful for a fixed amount of time.46
  • Overall, a place is both a centre of meaning and the external context of peo-ple’s actions. Williams (1975) concludes that when this happens, the result is‘a collective and self-conscious ‘structure of feeling’: the affective frame ofreference generated among people as a result of the experiences and memo-ries that they associate with a particular place’. Or in Heideggers’ terms ‘toform a unity between the body and the material world.’Contextual meaningHeidegger uses the example of a bridge that can create from an unde-fined space a meaningful place. The bridge, in his terminology, ‘collectsthe square’: it collects the earth as landscape around the stream; the bridgemakes the power of water, wind and rain tangible, it points towards the sky;the bridge provides access to people and it has a symbolic meaning whichbrings the divine into memory. In short, the bridge makes by using its con-text possible that a meaningful place arises. The sculptor Eduardo Chillidacaptures this idea in his modern sculpture Praise of the Horizon ( 3.2).3.2 Creating of a place in Eduardo Chillidas Eligio del Horizonte (Praise of the Horizon). 47
  • 3.3 Tao Ku Presenting a Lyric to Chin Jo-lan Tang Yin (1470-1532), Ming Dynasty.48
  • The notions of Heidegger match with early ideas in Chinese philosophy.Ancient Chinese scroll paintings depict this. In these landscape paintingspeople are encompassed by the environment as they go about the variousactivities. T’ang Yin, one of the great Chinese painters, depicted for example Heidegger had a profounda scholar sitting on a daybed amid the trees, while listening to some music interest in Chinese ancientplayed by his daughter ( 3.3). The trees and stone, bamboo and plantain, thought and had severaland potted flowers, as well as the daybed and painted screens are all painted interactions with easterncarefully. The enclosed composition creates an intimate setting. The goal of philosophers.these landscape paintings, is to depict the environment not as an object of asubjective act of contemplation, but as something that is continuous aroundpeople; the very condition of living.3.2.2 Situate the ordinaryCreating places that are meaningful for everyday, became also a majortheme in Western urban theory and architecture. Gregotti (1966) for exam-ple makes the existing landscape the central element in his architecture. Heargues that ‘architecture cannot constrain itself to a mere object focusedapproach. Architecture is actually a construction of landscape’. Thus, theobjective is ‘to make nature liveable, and so it needs to acknowledge themateriality of the existing context as its main inspiration source. Technol-ogy can never be the starting point, but it should be the interpretation ofthe landscape and the interaction with it’, according to Gregotti. Norberg-Schulz points directly to Heidegger and his concept of ‘dwell’ and ‘place’(2003): “A place is a space which has a distinct character. Since ancient timesthe genius loci, or ‘spirit of place’, has been recognized as the concrete real-ity man has to face and come to terms with in his daily life. Architecturemeans to visualize the genius loci and the task of the architect is to createmeaningful places where he helps man to dwell’ (Trancik, 1986, p. 114).Place theoryTrancik (1986) synthesizes these notions in his ‘place theory’ ( 3.4). Heargues that, the essence in spatial design lies in “understanding the culturaland human characteristics of physical space. If in abstract, physical terms,space is a bounded or purposeful void with the potential of physically link-ing things, it only becomes place when it is given a contextual meaningderived from cultural or regional content” (1986, p.112). “For designers tocreate truly unique places, they must more than superficially explore thelocal history, the feelings and needs of the populace, the traditions of crafts-manship and indigenous materials and the political and economic realitiesof the community” (Trancik, 1986, p. 114). The role of the urban design isthen to increase the capacity of the city to foster a positive ‘sense of place’.This ‘sense of place’ is always socially constructed, but in ordinary places, itis especially important, because it affects everyday life. 3.4 Place theory. 49
  • Designing the ordinaryAccording to Tranciks ‘place theory’ often the most meaningful design ofplaces comes from minimal interference in the social and physical settinginstead of radical transformation. It “often includes history and the elementof time and attempts to enhance the fit between new design and existingconditions’. This ‘ecological approach’ to design (McHarg, 1992) aims atdiscovering and working with the intrinsic qualities of a given locale andis diametrically opposed to the internationalism advocated in the earlyModern Movement.These publications can be seen as a theoretical underpinning for design-ers who also dealt with ‘the ordinary’ like van Eyck, Hertzberger, Kahn,Venturi and Chermayeff. Venturi, for example, argued that a building ora place derives meaning from its context, and different contexts requiredifferent forms of architectural expression (1977) ( 3.5). Also in Britisharchitecture and art in the 1950s, with people like Nigel Henderson, Rich-ard Hamilton, James Stirling and Alison and Peter Smithson ‘sought theessence of the everyday trough a sensitivity to the hardships and charmof life in the raw’ (Lichtenstein, 2001). The Smithsons (1970) for examplewere searching for the ordinary in the meaning of a place in the relationbetween house, street, neighbourhood and city, in which ‘the street standsfor a community of bodily contact, the neighbourhood for a community ofacquaintances and the city for a community of intellectual contact.’ ( 3.6)Hertzberger adds another dimension to this notion of placemaking for theeveryday: ‘Designing is nothing more than finding out what the person andobject want to be: form then makes itself. There is really no need for inven- 3.5. Learning from Levitown.50
  • 3.6 House of the Future by Alison and Peter Smithson.The general conditions of a consumer society are absorbed in a new definition and revaluation of the ordinary.tion – you must just listen carefully (Trancik, 1986, p. 114). This suggeststhat, like Heidegger’s notion of dwelling, a site or location already embodiesthe necessary information for design to take place.Another development that emphasises the importance of ordinary placesand how to foster that is ‘critical regionalism’. Frampton argues that “ahybrid ‘world culture’ will only come into being through a cross-fertiliza-tion between rooted culture on the one hand and universal civilization onthe other” (1993). Frampton states that “If any central principle of criticalregionalism can be isolated, then it is surely a commitment to place ratherthan space, or, in Heideggerian terminology, to the nearness of ‘raum’,rather than the distance of ‘spatium’.”(Nesbitt, 1996, p. 481). This is impor-tant because of the emphasis on “raum,” or room, as a condition of placemaking. Therefore critical regionalism emphasizes site-specific factors suchas topography, climate and the play of light.3.2.3 SynthesisLearning from these theoretical contemplations, it can be argued that inorder to let a place be meaningful for local residents and communities, tobecome a part of everyday life, the basis should not only have the lineamentsof good urban form, but in Sherman’s (1988) terms, must go beyond ‘surfaceappearance’ to foster what Whyte (1980) documented in The Social Life ofSmall Urban Spaces: routine encounters and shared experiences. Thereforethe role of urban design is not to merely manipulate form to make ‘space’but to create ‘place’ through a synthesis of the qualities of the total envi-ronment, including the social. It is not a falsifiable and tangible conception,but the goal should be ‘to discover the best fit between the existing physicaland cultural context and the needs and aspirations of contemporary users’(Trancik, 1986). 51
  • 3.3 LOSS OF THE ORDINARY3.3.1 Socio-spatial dialecticHeidegger’s notions and the discussed Western conceptions provide aframework to better understand the current Chinese situation in cities.Public places are constantly under social construction by people respondingto the opportunities and constraints of their particular locality (Groth andBressi, 1997; Jive and Larkham, 2003). As people live and work in places,they gradually impose themselves on their environment, modifying andadjusting it to suit their needs and express their values. At the same time,they gradually accommodate both to their physical environment and tothe values, attitudes and behaviour of people around them: the socio-spa-tial dialectic (Soja, 2000). People are slowly but constantly modifying andreshaping places, and places are constantly coping with change and influ-encing their inhabitants.3.3.2 Radical transformation in ChinaThis thesis argues that it is precisely at this point where problems startin Chinese public spaces. China’s urban development over the past fivedecades has been the direct outcome of national political strategizing, statearticulation and reconfiguration, and shifts in global capital accumula-tion. In the last twenty years, some 225 million rural people have flockedto China’s coastal cities (McKinsey, 2008). As a result, the cities have beenconfronted with radical transformation on an unprecedented scale and atan extraordinary rate, mostly neglecting the existing context ( 3.7). In 1998alone some 27 million people moved from the countryside to China’s cities,more than the sum of all European immigration to America between 1820and 1920. In Shanghai alone, more than 80 million square metres of com-mercial floor space was erected between 1990 and 2004 – the equivalent of334 Empire State Buildings (Campanella, 2009). This hasn’t come withouta cost. Campanella recalls that ‘China has razed more old neighbourhoods 3.7 tills from the Urban void series by Ai Wei Wei.52
  • - and displaced more urban residents - than any nation in peacetime’. InShanghai, ‘more people were displaced by redevelopment in the 1990s alonethan by thirty years of urban renewal in the entire United States’, accordingto Campanella.Superimposing Le CorbusierSpatially this has led to an explicit rejection of the street ( 3.8) - the tradi-tional public space in China - in favour of functionally distinct travel ways,dispersed towers and loosely defined open space. Inspired by the ModernMovement, the superblock is becoming the unit of inner-city development,even as the block itself begins to fragment and lose its definition. The streetis reinterpreted as a set of distinct pathways segregated in space accordingto the speed and mode of travel they support (Abramson, 2008) ( 3.9 3.10).It is in fact the superimposing of Le Corbusier’s Plan Voisin over the existingurban fabric, leading to a mix of contrasting urban forms. This process isassociated with land speculation and physical planning controls. This resultsin scattered forms of land development, containing a heterogeneous mix ofurban and rural employment and land-use. Traditional forms are closelysituated next to high-rise apartment blocks: A Neo-Corbusion landscape. 3.8 42 storeys of apartments, Tung Chung, Hong Kong. 53
  • 3.9 Plan for street widening overlaid on existing street network in Beijing’s West City District, 1997. Motor vehicles Non-MV Sidewalk Service Total Centre Side Redline Design Lane Breakdown lane width each road paved median median Green % of Total width speed Section Number width lane each each side side one side width strip strips strips widthRoad class (metres) (km/hr) type of lanes (metres) side (metres) (metres) (metres) (meters) (metres) (metres) (metres) (metres) greenHigh-speed 80 80 IV 6 3.75 3 9 3 – 52.5 2 5 1.25 31 II 6 3.75 3 – 3 14 48.5 2 10 1.25 36 80 IV 8 3.75 – 7 3 – 50 2 3 1 35Arterial 70 60 IV 6 3.75 – 7 3 – 42.5 2 2.5 1 36 60 III 6 3.75 – 6 3 – 40.5 0.5 3 1 29Sub-arterial 50 50 III 4 3.5 – 6 3 – 32 – 2.5 1 32 I 4 3.5 – 5 3 – 30 – – 0.75 37 40 40 I 4 3.5 – 5 3 – 30 – – 0.75 21 35 I 2 3.5 – 4.5 3 – 22 – – – 37Branch 30 30 I 2 3.5 – 3.5 3 – 20 – – – 33 25 I 2 3.5 – 2.5 3 – 18 – – – 28Note: Section Type I refers to low-volume motorized and non-motorized traffic, and densely built-up old city conditions; Section Type II refers to high-volume motorized and low-volume non-motorized traffic; Section Type III refers to high-volume motorized and non-motorized traffic; Section Type IV refers to high-speed, high volume non-motorized as well as motorized traffic. 3.10 Table of Key Elements and Parameters of Urban Street Sections’, Beijing Urban Master Plan 1991-2010 54
  • 3.11 DecoCity. Optimistic spectacular design on the edge of Chengdu inspired by Art Deco and the risingsun. Including a Bryant Park and a unique landscaping according to the designer (GlobalDesign 2011).This Neo-Corbusion landscape works as a pragmatic flywheel for improv-ing living standards. Apartments and basic amenities like electricity, toiletfacilities, wastewater outlets and safe drinking water can be built fast andcost-effective. The city has become hyper-adaptable for the demandingmarket with a permanent state of change and promising better future.A new sort of ‘Eastern fatalism’: little planning, but according to Knight(2010) with a ‘receptive and optimistic attitude towards the future’ ( 3.11).On the other hand, the question rises, does the city still provide in Hei-degger’s terms a tangible framework ‘to dwell’, or to form a frameworkthat fosters ‘a unity between body and material world’?3.3.3 PlacelessnessSome authors’ answer to this question is positive (Lin, 2007; Faure, 2008).They acknowledge that due to the radical transformation a modern con-sumption society is arising. This makes mobility and individual freedomof choice possible resulting in the idea that identities and places are moreloosely related which surely brings a certain liberation and emancipatorypotential. Koolhaas writings (1995) puts this in perspective by explainingthe idea of ‘the generic city’. A city which can be understood as a general-ization of the non-place. These are places of permanent transit, in wherethe preliminary and the transitory take the lead. It is a city that is ‘liberatedof identity, place and history’. This would mean that places are outdatedand placelessness is the inevitable destiny of the urban condition. 55
  • Third District South, Changping District, Beijing photographed by Sze Tsung Leong.56
  • 57
  • To the contrary, several other authors argue that modernization of Chinese cities more and more ignores to form a tangible framework ‘to dwell’. The radical urbanization has not only changed the environment, but also the relationship of people and their interactions with it. For example Chen & Romice (2009) and Abramson (2008) argue that it leads to a decline of the quality and use of ordinary public places, and on a subconscious level to a feeling that cities are becoming ‘placeless’. Byung-Eon (2011, p. 4) diagno- ses that ‘the capitalized modernization of China leads to a loss of authen- tic meaning in the characters’ daily lives, thus distancing them from their social and natural environments.’ Echo of 80s and 90s This recent Chinese critique can be seen as an echo of earlier Western critiques in especially the 80s and 90s with a more negative tone on the modern metropolis ( 3.12). Several authors linked the latest developments in modern urban space to a rhetoric of the loss of place. For example, Cac- ciari (1993) means that a radical alienation, the alienation from a place, is the basis of all developments within modernism. According to Virilio (1982) cities become more and more ‘passages, as it were permanent transit spaces’. A network space replaces thus the logics of a place. Augé (1992) confirms this diagnosis of increasing placelessness, by stating that recognizable 3.12 The cover illustration onCullens book shows a man in anon-place environment drawinga compact city. Cullen: A victimof the prairie planning traces out his public protest, the reminder of a properly concentratedtown, And the diagram city hasbeen split into parts ( ... ) all that remains is to join them so thatwe can build the house of man. 58
  • places, that are meaningful for her inhabitants, come under pressure due tothe increasing importance of non-places, like airports and parking places.Sorkin (1992) as well means that recent developments de-attach cities fromtheir geographical location. The new city, according to Sorkin, is based on a‘disappearance of stable relations with a physical and cultural geography ofa place’, on a ‘weakening of the ties with any particular place’. This wave ofpublications has made it seem as if (public) places has suffered permanenterosion and loss of quality, and is no longer a matter of concern to designers.However, several authors discussed in this chapter acknowledged the cru-cial importance of a place for everyday life. But is it still possible to design‘places’, especially in a radically transforming Chinese urban society, withmore and more ‘non-places’? How to escape from this paradoxical situa-tion? Or in Heideggers terms, how to re-unite the body and the materialworld?3.3.4 Body and environmentOne of the clues to answer this question is the notion that, the way peopleuse and value places is highly influenced by their perception of space(Aravot, 2002). Therefore, in order to improve or create ‘places’, a broaderview on the environment and the human body becomes significant.The significance of perception of space is underpinned by Merlau-Ponty.He stated that rather than a mind and a body, man is a mind with a body, abeing who can only get to the truth of things because its body is, as it were,embedded in those things (Merleau-Ponty, 2004). Merleau-Ponty empha-sized the fundamental role of perception in understanding the world aswell as interacting with it. Our body becomes the medium to know andexperience our surrounding physical environment and therefore the experi-ence is dependant to each individual. Not only our own body, but previousexperiences, cultural background and expectations influence significantlyour spatial perception as well.Perceptual experience of spaceTherefore the perceptual experience of space represents a key issue in thesuccess of any urban design. This is even more important since according toseveral authors Chinese people, more than Western people, tend to see theworld in a perceptual and intuitive way (Xiaodong and Kang Shua, 2007).The quality of urban space is ultimately determined by the extent to whichit is able to provide answers to specific questions at all levels of scale. Spaceand the perception of it is the starting point of urban design. This is dif-ferent than the recent urbanization in the Neo-Corbusion landscape where 59
  • it is more focused on the spectacle and the object, than on space itself. Bytaking the perceptual quality of space again as starting point of design, analternative is provided to the abstraction of space as an autonomous phe-nomenon that does no more than form an ‘image’. It is an awareness of theexperience of scale and materiality. This notion will form a key element indesigning public places in this thesis. So, what can be said about the Chineseperception of space that influences the quality of public places?3.4 PERCEPTION OF THE ORDINARY3.4.1 Perception of spaceIn order to understand the Chinese perception of public space, one wouldhave to understand how a culture perceives and formulates the idea of spaceand public. This is not the same in every culture. The essential differencesin Western and Eastern cultures render superficial generic appearancesirrelevant. The cities of China are rooted in so-called Chinese values -stress of a Confucian ethos, collectivity over individuality, consensus overdissent, pragmatism over ideology, state control over private enterprise,conservatism over radicalism and a profound attachment to the family as aninstitution. In terms of built form, this translates to a series of key elementsand phrases that capture the essence of the way Chinese people perceivespace.The main focus of the chapter is not a study of tradition, or on politicalsystems, but it is trying to understand the fundamental perception of spacethat shaped China for centuries and still is affecting Chinese people’s every-day life. It aims at formulating some tangible building blocks for a spatialframework.Urban and rural ChinaThe development of Chinese architecture and its culture is the process ofaccumulated evolution, rather than outright revolution. This continu-ous tradition knows no bound. The specific pattern could take place any-where, whether on rural open land, a farm house or in a theatre, whetherin an official building or a tea house in a common street. This chapter isbased on Chinese literature about the cultural values and the conceptionof space (Miao, 2001; Miao, 2011; Miao, 1990; Gaubatz, 1996; Chen andRomice, 2009; Wang, 2008; Wang, 2002; Yang and Volkman, 2010; Gu andWhitehand, 2006; Xiaoxie, 1985; Li, 2002; Xiaodong and Kang Shua, 2007;Kostof, 1991).60
  • 3.4.2 PrinciplesZhouli and Feng ShuiBased on the literature, two sets of theory about the Chinese city dominate.The first is recorded in Zhouli (Western Zhou dynasty, tenth to seventhBC). Its rational principles shaped most of China’s important cities whichappear in several physical characteristics. The theory advocated a central-ized government and Confucian philosophical and cultural traditions. Chi-nese culture is still deeply influenced by this. It therefore modelled a generalcity layout, building codes and the proportions of public space ( 3.13).The second theory is recorded in Guanzi (Zhou and western Han dynasty,fifth and first century BC). It is also known as Feng Shui (meaning windand water). This document advocates a natural philosophy that idealhuman settlements should be coherent with their environments. To theChinese it is the art of living in harmony with nature. In building a city,‘the natural conditions can be relied on, and the productive advantage of theland can be beneficial, which will support the people’s life there and providefor raising livestock’ (Xu, 2000, p. 40). An example is that cities and build-ings should be built with mountains to the north. This protects the building 3.13 The generic model as documented in Kao Gong Ji. 61
  • from cold winds and bad ghosts. A river to the south brings warm breezesand friendly wanderers with it. These two elements together representedthe original meaning of yin and yang. Feng Shui is still an important part oftoday’s urban design and architecture.The rational and the natural principles emphasized by Zhouli and FengShui complemented each other and together they form the theoretical basisfor traditional Chinese urban forms, and the cultural perception of it. Miao(1990) extracts five major values from this, and several perceptual principlescan be associated with this: honouring the monarchy and relation to thepublic (Linearity), maintaining the social hierarchy (Hierarchy), strength-ening the importance of family and kinship (Unity), making full use of nat-ural opportunities (Human scale) and thus creating an holistic environment(Enclosure).These five perceptual principles lay at the roots of the experience of publicspace in China. The meaning of these principles will be discussed, and tobetter understand, in contrast with Western forms. By understanding theseprinciples, the building blocks for a spatial framework can be formulated.3.4.3 LinearityCentrality in relation to the cities power and public life is differently per-ceived in the West than in China. In the west large central and static nodesplay an important role in public life, while in China small, scattered placesand linear streets are crucial. A patchwork against a network.Definition of two city centresWestern pre-industrial towns often had two large major public open spaces,namely the market square and the square in front of the church. Bothspaces were used daily by all residents. The two squares worked together toserve everyday public life. The two squares are however mostly physicallyconnected, creating a two-part nucleus. Therefore one can speak of onecentral place which acted as a hub for political, cultural and religious life.Chinese pre-industrial city centres had however two squares, functionallyand spatially separated ( 3.14). The local Yamen (administrative centre)was often placed in the geometrical centre. It lacked accessibility and wasthus more symbolic to local residents. It was to honour the centralized mon-archy. The civic centre, however was often a combination of commercialstreets and a few public buildings. The commercial streets provided a goodscale for pedestrians. Canopies along the street edge protected people fromrain and hot summer sun. The more exclusive semi-private areas wereplaced in a back building behind a courtyard. This pattern created many62
  • yamen civic center 3.14 The two city centres in China. Today the cities are known for numerous centres.voids behind the facades of the streets. These voids relieved the psychologi-cal pressure of the linearity of public space.This structure had a symbolism as well. Traditional Chinese people tendedto view the world in a perceptual and intuitive way. The network of streets,for example, was thought of as ‘the arteries and veins of the human body,”where any choke point “will cause diseases in the nature and human soci-ety”. (Li et al., 1883, p. 43). This is similar to Western comparisons with thecity and the human body. For example de Solá-Morales (1995) argues thatthe classical western theory is based on the Vitruvian notion that beauty ofarchitecture, represents the beauty of the human body. In an urban environ-ment or building there is harmony in which all parts are related, just likethe parts in the human body.Linear public spaceA central ‘square’ is a type of public space, represented in western cities. It isa comparatively large open space, architecturally defined, with several build-ings along it ( 3.15). Such a type of space was not in favour in pre-industrialChinese cities. Here, the public realm was not centrally organized but tooka linear form, that of a commercial street, with some smaller nodes along it.MotionThe perception of these open public spaces was mostly that of forward orbackward motion. ‘Static’ public activities took place in a different pattern, 3.15 Baziqiao, a commercialsuch as small nodes along the street, like the ends of a bridge or in front of area in Shaoxing, Zhejianga temple. Also semi-public places like teahouses and in courtyards of public Province.institutions were meeting places. Public open spaces did exist, but were dif-ferent from western squares. Their size was small and scattered throughthe urban fabric ( 3.16). Also unifying design elements, such as groundpaving or similar treatment of facades, were absent. More importantly, the 63
  • 3.16 The linear public space.very few large open spaces were not used by the public. Commercial activi-ties were prohibited, and the centralized government showcased there theirpower. The predominantly linear public space demanded transverse ele-ments that could create manageable sections. Decorative gates were used tobreak the linearity.3.4.4 HierarchyChinese pre-industrial cities are hierarchical organized. This hierarchy wasthe result of a written code which specified a set of rules for an ideal city.The rules were not only about general city lay out but also with specificdimensions, heights, materials, decorations and colours of the buildings. Itreflected a ‘good’ society according to Confucian doctrine. Which in firstsight seemed to be a chaos was in fact a very organized hierarchical system.Influence of an orthogonal modelThe general lay-out of ancient cities in Europe, like Athens and Romewere often a collage of highly individualized volumes and irregular left-over spaces. No overall spatial hierarchy could be found. Most medievaland renaissance towns shared some common elements. It displayed manynon-orthogonal configurations of public space like amphitheatres, piazzas,radial streets. Overall the towns show a high variety of architecture andurban layout.In contrast, cities in China exhibited a certain similarity in general layout.Several features distinguishes it from European cities. Major circulationroutes, like streets and canals, tended to form a orthogonal, hierarchical net-work in the shape of a “+”, “T”, or a “#” grid ( 3.17). Also the network wasoriented toward the primary directions. The most important street, was amajor axis which often ran north to south and the building orientation sug-gest that south was the most important side of the city. The administrativecentre, was often located near the crossing point of the “+”, “T”, or a “#”.Finally buildings were quite uniform in their rectangular plan and primary64
  • yamen church 3.17 The orthogonal model.orientation. This overall orthogonal model, which was a result from theZhouli theory, had as much influence as other more local factors such astopography, climate and population.Hierarchy on every scaleThis hierarchy was implemented on every scale ( 3.18). From city scale tothe most private parts of the house. For example, this led to a fish-bone ortree-like structure in the hutongs in Beijing (Yang, 2004). These are hier-archical systems leading from the public to the very private. Lanes, usu-ally running east-west, and alleyways are used to connect neighbourhoods, 3.18 Hierarchy on every scale. 65
  • 66
  • 3.19 Walled courtyard houses in the bustling urban area with diverse commercial activities, depicted byZhang, the painter of Song Dynasty (960-1279 ad), in his famous drawing ‘Qing Ming Shang He Tu’. 67
  • which themselves are made up of one or more smaller blocks. The hierar-chy is emphasised by varying the width of the lanes so that, in general, theybecome narrower as they become shorter and closer to the houses.Existing natural topographyThis led to a uniform composition. Since there were so strict regulations,inevitably, the identity of each town could only be created with limitedmeans: the existing natural topography. This meant that every town inChina had a similar basis, but a different spatial outcome according to itstopography ( 3.19).3.4.5 UnityChinese culture is deeply influenced by Confucianism ( 3.20). Confucianphilosophy valued family and kinship as the basic unit of society. A famousChinese phrase like ”we fight together with brothers and sisters” reflectsthis ethical order about the importance of the collective. When Chinese aresurprised or shocked by something they rather say ‘O mother’, than theAmerican phrase of ‘O my god’ (Wei-ming, 2008).MicrocosmosOn the level of the individual dwelling, this also can be traced back. Thedomesticity of a Chinese family is build up as a micro cosmos ( 3.21) ofChinese private life, with walls serving to enclose, protect and define thedwelling. Old houses, from the countryside as well as in the city, like thehutongs in Beijing or the Minxi clay buildings in the Yongding County con-sist of courtyards with the family elderly living at the sunny part and theirchildren living on the side parts. Such a physical pattern strengthened theimage of self-containment. Naturally, the family became the basic unit ofsociety. 3.21 The dwelling as microcosmos of family live.68
  • 3.22 The walled residential street.Street relationThis also had influence on the relation to the street ( 3.22). Narrow, wind-ing streets are both present in pre-industrial western as well as in Chinesetowns. However, the relationship between the street and the house is dif-ferent.In European cities the relationship is between the solid of buildings andthe void of the street space. Moreover, the interiors of the house are oftenopened directly to the street trough doors and windows. Domestic activitieseasily flow into the public domain, using the street partly as a front yard.In contrast, Chinese streets within the quarters and blocks were more sepa-rate from the house. The courtyard house, the standard traditional Chineseresidence, showed thus a bare façade. No display of a front yard, and a min- 3.20 Chinese family working on the land. 69
  • imum of window openings are displayed. Not many activities happened ina residential street. The pre-industrial Chinese city always contained someform of private open space such as a courtyard between the main room of ahouse and the street. This meant that walls, not buildings, defined the resi-dential street. Behind the walls, there was a minimum separation betweenrooms and private open space.3.4.6 Human scaleSince the cities were formed with walls, this had influence on the scale andproportion of the city, which can be seen back in the traditional morphology( 3.23).Horizontal cityCourtyards, gardens, small open areas and other forms of open space areshallow hollows in the structure. The buildings around them were onlyone or two stories high ( 3.24). Since the dimension of the building massbetween courtyards rarely exceeded 7 to 10 metres, the shallow hollowswere distributed evenly in the urban fabric. Every house, thus enjoyed apiece of open private space, and since the streets were orientated on thesouth, the open spaces took full advantage of sunshine in winter and pre-vailing winds in summer. Deep eaves of the traditional architecture shel-tered the house from the sun in the summer. The city as a whole was cano-pied under trees rising out of the small open areas. A horizontal humanscaled city was the natural outcome. 3.24. The low building and evenly distributed small open spaces.This is fundamentally different than in the west. The west, starting withthe enlightenment, emphasised core values of individuality and a devotionto heaven and god. The architecture reflects this with buildings that areelegant, open, impressive and vertical. From Gothic churches to modernskyscrapers. Dwellings in European pre-industrial towns were closely builtto a height of at least three to four stories, and private open space was scarce.Mostly the solid buildings were not integrated with void garden spaces. Thegarden spaces were often consolidated in a large piece in the centre of eachblock.70
  • 3.23 Traditional Courtyard House and Low-Rise High-Density.3.4.7 EnclosureThe different perceptual principles of linearity, hierarchy, unity and humanscale are synthesized with the key principle of enclosure, which aims tocreate an holistic environment. Even, the Chinese word for space itself,kongjian, represents ‘the creation and ordering of empty volumes as a resultof the ‘enclosure’ or bounding, of three-dimensional elements (walls, win-dows, thresholds, screens, roofs)’. This works on every scale. From countryto bedroom.Series of walled enclosuresSpace is fundamentally perceived like a series of enclosed worlds, and thesmaller units repeat on a reduced scale the forms of the larger one ( 3.25).A building may be viewed as a city on a tiny scale, while the town is a hugebuilding on a vast scale. Even the boundary between city and countrysideand country and world was formed through enclosures, like the GreatWall. Chinese cities have internal walls, isolating forbidden cities, monas- 3.25 Series of enclosed worlds. 71
  • teries, parks and other precincts. Even sometimes smaller walls further sub- divide these places. It thus makes a series of walled enclosures. The variety and significance of walls is evident from the number of words in Chinese describing their different forms and meanings. For example, high walls around courtyards were called qiang, implying something used to shield oneself; house walls and part walls were called, bi, connoting something that warded off and resisted the wind and cold; and low walls were called, yuan, suggesting something one leaned on and thus took as Even the Chinese word for city and wall (cheng) was the same. Sense of mystery Walls are the most prominent physical manifestation of enclosure, since they manage transitions across the threshold by means of openings that can be consciously experienced. Within a walled enclosure, the tangible pres- ence and solidity of the walls and the balance between space and mass, also impart a sense of security. A wall as a form of enclosure is differently per- ceived in the west where it was more a form of protection of its burghers. In China, the ‘wall’ operates also on the psychological level; an order that could be kept in accord with the ideal order of the cosmos. 3.25 Series of enclosed worlds in Wenzhufang, Chengdu. 72
  • The spaces that are enclosed by a series of walls are not perceived as fixedentities. Space is never an absolute ‘object’, and for this reason it necessitatesmovement, a going into space itself, rather than a viewing of space from theoutside and from a distance. The enclosing of space is appreciated in termsof movement from one space to another; it is dynamic. Space is thereforeexperienced trough a crossing of various enclosures and different spatialsequences. The next space is always unpredictable which creates a sense ofmystery ( 3.26 3.27). It thus presents space little by little ( 3.27).Wall as key elementBy enclosing with boundaries a general public and private space becomesa particular place. A wall provides a key element in creating meaningfulplaces for everyday life. It provides a structure for ones position in space,time and society and a tangible spatial reference for everyday life. It makesthe infinite ‘natural space’ comprehensible, enabling meaningful humaninterrelation with it. This principle of enclosure is central to the perception 3.27 Presenting space littleand appreciation of ordinary public space. by little. 3.26 Bamboo path, Dufu Cottage, Chengdu. 73
  • 3.4.8 Understanding Chinese citiesOverall it can be concluded that Chinese traditional cities are conceivedboth as a whole, tend to look like a chaos, but are usually based on a planwhich is consistently applied on the existing topography. It is a collectivework of art, in contrast with the individual way of building in westerncities. A few principles are systematically applied following precedentsestablished long before. This has evolved for centuries. Only until recently,they have been exposed to foreign models. Even the modern word for citychanged from cheng (wall) to chengshi, which is a composite of the wordswalls and market. Almost as an expression of the new found relationshipwith the global market. Although this new found relationship has broughtvariations and freedom influencing what has been an almost closed archi-tectural style, it also produced a difficult relationship between the tradi-tional principles and the contemporary forms (Hee, 2007).A few examples illustrates this. Contemporary urban projects in Chinahave since 1980 been characterized by large-scale demolition of existingbuildings and pedestrian streets ( 3.28). Public space is not linearly orga-nized anymore, mostly neglecting existing topography and designed withlarge dimensioned squares to showcase the governments accomplishments( 3.29 3.30). A study found that the 12 squares in the largest Chinese citieshad an average of nearly 13 hectares (Wang, 2002). The relation towards thestreet is also fundamentally different, with parking lots and high-rise apart-ments ( 3.31). The buildings itself are more conceived as individual objects,instead of being part of an urban context (Zhu, 2003, p. 9). 3.28 Ignoring existing topography. 3.29 versized open space Changzhou. 3.30 1.4 km long Olympic Boulevard Beijing. 3.31 Sidewalk condition Shanghai.74
  • 3.32 The basic premise of the Vertical Cities Asia is Vertical.MisinterpretationThe cause of these problems may be a misinterpretation of the Chinese per-ception of space and the ignoring of the tangible signs of the past. The resultis a loss of meaningful public places.The misinterpretation seem to be derived from a Western perception ofpublic space, hence the baroque axis, the Parisian boulevards, the mod-ernistic extensions with apartment blocks, symmetric and uniform designsof squares and the popularity of big architectural western manifestoes(Yang and Volkman, 2010; Miao, 2011; Yu and Padua, 2007; Ren, 2011;Abramson, 2008; Olds, 2001). There is however a fundamental differencethat cannot be ignored. Western culture makes a separation between builtenvironment and nature and breaks it up into bigger pieces, distributing iton important nodes in the vertical city. Thus strengthening the importanceof individuality. On the contrary, when learning from Chinese culture,Confucian values, which are still deeply rooted in today’s society, prescribea unity between manmade open space and nature and blends it into smallerpieces distributed evenly throughout a human scaled and horizontal city. Itthus strengthens the importance of family and kinship.Therefore it can also be argued that, the ‘Vertical Cities Asia’ as a start-ing point of the competition, is a contradiction, biased by western perspec-tives on cities ( 3.33). Cultural perceptions of space, like linearity, hierarchy,unity, human scale and enclosure are being neglected. 75
  • 3.5 THE RE-DISCOVERY OF THE ORDINARY3.5.1 DiscussionThis theory chapter aimed to answer the question what are recommenda-tions for designing public places that serve local residents’ and communityeveryday needs, in order to improve the spatial quality of these places inChinese cities?The first step undertaken to answer this was to get an idea of what a ‘place’is, and how it can be meaningful for everyday life. Heidegger’s notions andWestern urban theory discussed in this chapter argue that people requirea relatively stable and continuous system of places in which to developthemselves, their social lives, and their culture. From the theories it can belearned that urban design must respond to that and, if possible, enhanceenvironmental identity and the ‘sense of place’. Taking the existing situa-tion as a starting point for design would be the easiest first step to create a‘place’. However, despite the importance of a ‘place’, whether it is made byan event or an urban setting, authors like Koolhaas argued that the mean-ing of a place is diminishing in modern metropolises. So the question riseshow to design ‘places’, is it even possible, especially in a radically transform-ing Chinese urban society?One of the clues to answer this question is the notion that, the way peopleuse and value places is highly influenced by their perception of space There-fore it becomes significant to have a broader view on the environment andthe human body. The perceptual experience of space represents a key issuein the success of any urban design and therefore this chapter discussed fun-damental perceptual principles of linearity, hierarchy, unity, human scaleand enclosure in traditional Chinese cities.But is falling back on these historical principles a useful step? Can they bestill useful in modern fast growing Chinese metropolises? Goethe wroteabout his attitude towards history, and stated that “Incidentally, I despiseeverything which merely instructs me without increasing or immediatelyenlivening my activity”. Or in other words, a merely historical attitude canlead to dogma’s, passivity and misinterpretation. In an increasingly com-petitive world, ‘placemaking’ have become an important element of con-sumer culture. Responding to this, developers have promoted and rein-vented traditions and historic districts. As the United Nations Centre forHuman Settlements (2001, p. 38) noted: ‘The particular historic character ofa city often gets submerged in the direct and overt quest for an internationalimage and international business...Local identity becomes an ornament, a76
  • public relations artefact designed to aid marketing. Authenticity is paid for,encapsulated, mummified, located and displayed to attract tourists ratherthan to shelter continuities of tradition or the lives of its historic creators.’The ‘sense of place’ can become a valuable asset. In China the re-creationof traditional districts and settings is becoming widespread that they havebecome a mainstay of a ‘heritage industry’. As a result, as depicted in thebook of Den Hartog (2010), these ‘degenaritive utopias of global capital-ism’ (Harvey, 2000) often copied images and symbols derived from historicstyles. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but space is seen as an autonomousphenomenon that does no more than form a static ‘image’ that looks his-torical. The spectacle and the object itself are rather important. It becomes a‘materialized utopia’. Harvey (2000, p. 196): ‘These spaces are closed, oftenauthoritarian, ultimately undialectical as soon as they are rendered con-crete’. Thus begins a quest for an alternative. Harvey writes: ‘The task is topull together a spatiotemporal utopianism – a dialectical utopianism – thatis rooted in our present possibilities’. Or, a spatio-temporal framework thatprovides a relatively stable system that shelters continuity.3.5.2 Conclusion: Form places by enclosing spacesThe discussed principles can provide building blocks for this framework.The principles can be considered as the ‘tangible signs of the past’. Theyform the durable elements which can continuously take on new functions.They form continuity in Chinese cities which are confronted with discon-tinuity and can contribute to the elusive ‘soul of the city’, or ‘sense of place’,which is so important for everyday life.Enclosure, with the wall as its symbol, forms the key element in this, thusmysteriously presenting space little by little. It touches the core of Chinesecity life. By enclosing with boundaries a general public space can becomea particular space, a ‘place’ that can be meaningful for everyday life: Formplaces by enclosing spaces.Concluding, playing with enclosure on every scale in urban design andtaking the existing situation as a starting point would be the main recom-mendation derived from this theory chapter. This will be further studied inthe next part Design of this thesis, in a study in Chengdu. In this way localpeople and communities may easier attach meaning to their environment.It can ultimately lead to Heideggers’ understanding of ‘to dwell’, or a feel-ing of being ‘at home’ in one’s world, to form a unity between the body andthe material world: It would be the re-discovery of the ordinary. 77
  • Building blocks yamenLinearity Hierarchy small scattered hierarchical system network of streets similarity in volumes public space is the streetUnity Human scale collective inward small scattered private spaces focus on family horizontal city78
  • Enclosure space is perceived as a series of walled enclosures presenting space little by little form meaningful places by enclosing spaces local context determines outcome 79
  • 80
  • 4DESIGNThe data and theory chapter showed that Urban China is at the cross-croads and public space in under pressure. The next chapter a newurban architectural model will be proposed to counter the challengesby investingating the building blocks of enclosure, hierarchy, unity andhuman scale on a specific site in Chengdu. The first part was send in tothe competition in Singapore. The zoom in, chapter 4.4, is a detailedworking out of the Wall. 81
  • 4.1 DIAGNOSIS4.1.1 ChengduHistoryChengdu is an ancient city with origins dating back more than 2500 years.The city started in a safe basin flanked by mountains along a strategicalposition near the Mintuo river ( 4.3). The basin is similar in size of Ger-many. The fertile part of the basin is called the Chengdu Plain, on whichthe city is located. The combination of rich alluvial soils and a subtropi-cal monsoon climate makes the Sichuan ( 4.1). plain the most fertile insouthwest China and ideal to support a large variety of crops, includingrice, wheat, and rape seed. The fertile Chengdu Plain is historically calledTianfu, which literally means “the Land of Abundance”.82
  • 4.1 Mountainous area in Sichuan province. 83
  • Shenyang Beijing Tianjin Zhengzhou Xuzhou Xi’an Shanghai Chengdu Chengdu Wuhan Chongqing 1 Chinese cities in 2010 Shenzhen Hong Kong population > 5 mln Guangzhou population > 7 mln population > 10 mln * including agglomerations Dongguang and Foshan 4.2 Most western big city. Urban China is devloping on 1/3 of the total land mass. 4.3. Basin the size of Germany in which Chengdu is located.84
  • Panda Golden Monkey Musk deer Red Panda Takin Serow Naemorhedus goral Cuculus canor Cornus Tsuga dumosa (D. Acer davidii Bamboo Betula utilis D. Don controversa Hemsl Don) Eichler Ailurus fulgens Ailurus fulge 4.5 Unique biodiversity around Chengdu.UniqueDuring the early days, Chengdu was, just like other Chinese cities, a walledcity. It was a fairly typical inland city ( 4.2)., with a long historical and cul-tural tradition. A local intellectual wrote of its special position: “Sichuanoverlooks China, and Chengdu is the center of Sichuan, with fertile lands,rich natural resources, high population density, well-developed productionof silk, many historical sites, and beautiful scenery’ (Wang, 2003, p. 35).Until around 1900 the West had little impact on Chengdu; as an Englishtraveler declared, “It is a city which owes absolutely nothing to Europeaninfluence” (Bird, 1899, p.350). Compared to the cities of coastal, northern,and even central China like Shanghai and Beijing, Chengdu maintained amuch more traditional and relaxing culture and lifestyle, with tea houses,areas to play mahjong and places to eat traditional chicken feet.Climate, flora and faunaThe average daytime is in July and August around 30 °C, with afternoontemperatures sometimes reaching 33 °C (next page for a detailed graphicalanalysis 4.4). The average lowest temperatures are in January are around2.8 °C, with sometimes dropping below freezing. Rainfall is common year-round but with peaks in July and August. Chengdu also has one of thelowest sunshine totals in China (less sunshine annually than London), andmost days are cloudy and overcast even if without rain. This is especiallyso in the winter months, when it is typically interminably grey and dreary.Spring (March-April) tends to be sunnier and warmer than autumn (Octo-ber-November). Due to the mild climate there is no special need in buildingconstruction, to resist extreme situations. Also there is no direct sunlightand almost no wind. This has the benefit that there is light in narrow situa-tions just to the ground floor, which allows to build dense. The inexistenceof wind forms a problem for fresh air circulation.The Sichuan basin is also known for its unique biodiversity, which today 80 % of Chinese vegetationcontains 80% of the Chinese vegetation being represented and of all endan- and 1/5 of all endangered floragered flora and fauna, like the Giant Panda (Wu, Yu, & Yang, 2009) ( 4.5). and fauna is represented in theBut this fairly safe and hot haven changed the last decade radically under area of Chengdu.influence of forces from outside. 85
  • °C 50 40 30 20 10 0 4 4 8 12 8 16 12 20 16 24 28 20 32 24 36 Hr 40 44 48 52Wk Average temperature in Chengdu Optimal building volume orientation 4.4. Detailed graphical climate research with Ecotect.86
  • km/h % 50 100 40 80 30 60 20 40 10 20 0 0 4 4 4 8 4 8 8 12 8 12 16 12 16 12 20 20 16 16 24 24 20 28 20 28 32 24 32 24 36 36 Hr Hr 40 40 44 44 48 48 52 52Wk WkAverage Wind Speed (km/h) Relative Humidity (%) low humidity in morning windspeeds 1.3 m/s °C °C 50 50 40 40 30 30 20 20 10 10 0 0 4 4 4 4 8 8 12 8 12 8 16 12 16 12 20 16 20 16 24 24 28 20 28 20 32 24 32 24 36 36 Hr Hr 40 40 44 44 48 48 52 52Wk WkMaximum Temperature (°C) Minimum Temperature (°C) average daytime july 30 -33 average per year 15-16 W/m² W/m² 1000 1000 800 800 600 600 400 400 200 200 0 0 4 4 4 4 8 8 12 8 12 8 16 12 16 12 20 16 20 16 24 24 28 20 28 20 32 24 32 24 36 36 Hr Hr 40 40 44 44 48 48 52 52Wk WkDirect Solar Radiation (W/m²) Diffuse Solar Radiation (W/m²) low sunshine total (less than London) % mm 10 100 9 80 7 60 6 4 40 3 20 1 0 0 4 4 4 4 8 8 12 8 12 8 16 12 16 12 20 16 20 16 24 24 28 20 28 20 32 24 32 24 36 36 Hr Hr 40 40 44 44 48 48 52 52Wk WkAverage Cloud Cover (%) Average Daily Rainfall (mm) cloudy year-round 87
  • Sichuan rural area around Chengdu.88
  • 89
  • 0.4m 1500 0.6m 1940 1990 2000 8.0m 9.0m 90
  • 2010 12.2m Growth path projected on the soils. Chengdustarted as a stop on the Great Silk Road where therivers crossed. The growth happend mostly on thegrey warp soil which was less fertile than the sur-rounding soils. 91
  • ExplosionAfter the first Five Year Plan in 1953 the first government planned andfunded developments started. From 1980 onwards the city exploded afterthe economic reforms introduced by Deng. This process was strengthenedby the Go West policy in the nineties. Western China became the focus ofdevelopment efforts in China. The policy was initiated in 1999 to compen-sate for an earlier emphasis on coastal development. During the periodfrom 1990 till today the urban land almost tripled (2009) ( 4.6), eating upvaluable and rich landscape. The population grew from 8 million in 1990 to12.2 million today (Press, 2009). This growth contains mainly manufactur-ing, businesses and producer services, airport developments and residentialzones ( 4.7 4.8 4.9). Also, in recent years Chengdu showed an enormousgrowth rate of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of 50% each year (Lan andYin, 2009) far more than the Chinese average ( 4.10). This FDI even fur-ther accelerates urban growth and generates far more growth than earlierforms of industrialization ( 4.11). As a result the city almost doubled inthe last 5 years. Since Chengdu attracts more and more FDI, inevitable theurban sprawl will continue. 400 350 300 X 1,5 250 200 150 100 50 economic reform industrialization, export, Global, manufacturing FDI 0 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 4.10 Chengdu: 5 times more FDI than 4.11 FDI generates more urban km2 thanChinese average. earlier forms of industrialization.92
  • BUILT AREA growth before 1990 1990 - 20101990 - 2010 X 3 4.6 Recent explosion in growth. 18.000300 16.000 Chengdu disposable income IMPORT & EXPORT total, Chengdu (billion yuan) urban Chengdu total expenditure250 14.000 China disposable income China expenditure200 12.000 200 10.000150 Chengdu disposable income 8.000 Chengdu total expenditure 150 rural China disposable income 63,39100 6.000 China expenditure 100 4.000 38,03 50 2.000 50 90,72 6,63 57,13 0 0 0 1980 1990 2000 2008 1990 1995 2000 2005 2008 source: China Statistical Yearbook 8,18 2000 2007 2008 business volume export import source: China Statistical Yearbook source: China Statistical YearbookX 15 X 10 X 30 4.7 Business volume growth. 4.8 Residential growth. 4.9 Industry growth. 93
  • TollHowever this enormous growth has its toll. Especially the increase in airpollution ( 4.12), the loss of valuable nature and arable land and the publicspace and collective typologies being under pressure. When comparingthe air quality measurements of Chengdu (Chengdu Statistical Yearbook,2007) with the standards given by the World Health Organization (Krzy-zanowski and Cohen, 2008), it can be seen that the main particles that areresponsible for bad air quality (SO2, NO2, PM10) are found three timesmore than the WHO guidelines ( 4.13). It is not as bad as the Chinese aver-age and big cities like Beijing and Shenzhen, but still when comparing toother world cities, Chengdu is far behind. The bad air quality becomes evenmore visible since Chengdu is located in a large basin, and is enclosed bymountains. The city is therefore known for the always present grey skies.The haze is pervasive and a popular saying is “if a dog sees the sun, he willbark at the intruder”(Block, 2008, par. 1) ( 4.14). Thus the cities ambition isto increase the air quality and its vision is to become a ‘world-class gardencity’, that is ‘environmentally sustainable, surrounded by beautiful ruralscenery and enhanced by modern features’(Qing and Guo-jie, 2007, p. 123).So how to achieve this?4.1.2 DoomsdayIf we would project the estimated population growth in the same space-consuming manner as the last decade, the ‘world-class garden city’ wouldbe totally infeasible. We would need to lay out a square of 20 by 20 km(without even taking into account the fact that the average floor space useper person now is 26 m2 and will probably increase drastically the comingyears). Almost a second city need to be built ( 4.15). According to the mas-terplan of Chengdu the fingers in the fingermodel will be extended andnew hubs will be layed out outside the city. But these fingers will grow outof proportion (now already 25 km between the outer edges and the CBD),leading to urban sprawl and traffic congestion ( 4.16). The new airportbetween Chongqing and Chengdu will even accelerate this process. Pre-94
  • 4.12 Air pollution projected on map. winter 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 autumn 0 spring summerPMIO NO2 SO2 measured measured measured WHO guideline  NO2 WHO guideline SO2 WHO guideline source: Chengdu Environmental Protection Bureau, WHO 4.13 Air comparison with WHO guidelines. 95
  • Chengdu 4.14 Sichuan basin under permanent haze.96
  • 97
  • cious land will be eaten ( 4.17). Old typologies focused on Chinese family live and the community is being replaced with privatized islands far outside the centre . These big compounds are mainly accessible by car. Thus, more ring-roads will be built and inhabitants become more dependent on cars, resulting in traffic jams and increase in air pollutants. The cities develop- ment will gradually slow down, become more congested and will decrease in livability and efficiency. Research suggests that Chengdu is already the most inefficient city in China measured by the time it takes for people to travel to work (Sankhe et al., 2011). The average speed by car in Chengdu within the city centre will soon be lower than just walking ( 4.18). The finger model is no longer sustainable ( 4.19). We have to look for a new urban architectural model that cater to a greater population without com- promising the quality of life. 2010 2030 2050 12.2 16.7 20.32050 27X27 KM 2030 20X20 KM ? 4.15 Growth direction. 98
  • 400 AVERAGE SPEED city centre, Chengdu (kmph)350 25300 20250 15 biking200 10150 5100 0 50 economic reform industrialization, export, Global, 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 manufacturing FDI average during rush hour 0 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 4.16 Expected growth in urban km2. 4.18 Average speed city centre, Chengdu (kmph). 4.19 Doomsday. 99
  • 2-5-20001-5-2003 4.17 Gradually eating up farming land.100
  • 26-7-20064-8-2009 101
  • 4.2 CONCEPT4.2.1 The WallWhat if we stop the urban sprawl by densifying the current city edge? Bytaking radically the existing city form as a starting point. The proposal is anew dense urban zone around the city that will tackle urban sprawl. Thisnew zone is called the Wall ( 4.20). The Wall encloses the space of the cityand makes the transition between landscape and city manifest. In the Walldwellings, local and global companies, industry, parking, community ser-vices, public transport and all other sorts of program can be carved in. Bigopenings and vistas make sure the Wall feels porous and open.102
  • 156 KM2 ¥ 4.20 Proposal: The Wall. 103
  • By proposing a strong counterpoint at the city edge, the area in between theCBD and the new urban Wall will gain value. The suburbs which are todayon the edges will be upgraded to green lungs in the middle of the city. Linestowards the wall will be upgraded. The projected growth of the region is10 million more inhabitants in 2025. If we propose to make the Wall 500meters wide, drape it around the cities edge, the area that can be build is 156sqkm ( 4.21). This is equivalent to the area of two and a half Manhattans.If we house the maximum of 100.000 people per sqkm, almost 16 millionpeople could potentially move into the new Wall ( 4.22).4.2.2 FrameworkThe Wall can not only give the opportunity to further densify the city,accommodate the projected population growth, but it can also function as aframework for applying ideas in a larger context. The Wall will not be dealtwith as separate masterplans or buildings with air purifiers, air condition-ers or other building techniques, but is more a series of parallel strategiesthat truly can have the potential to tackle bad air quality. According to theEnvironmental Protection Agency of Chengdu (2009), the main contribu-tors to bad air quality today are transport and industry (including the coalindustry) (Streets and Waldhoff, 2000) ( 4.23). Research (2009) shows thatChina could bring its cities to a Level III air quality standard (defined asChina’s “safety level”) through a combination of transport and industrystrategies including increased density, expanded public-transit provision,the conversion of public fleets to clean technology, the implementation andenforcement of industry emissions standards, and congestion measures suchas restricting vehicle ownership ( 4.24). A case study by McKinsey of Shen-zhen shows this can cut nitrogen oxide concentrations dramatically by 90percent (2008). The Wall accepts this as the basis of its new planning system,in order to decrease the air pollution radically. The Wall can integrallytackle the two polluters of transport and industry at its source; it will cutemissions and capture before it blows freely into the air.4.2.3 Increasing air qualityTransportationThe first air polluter that the Wall addresses is transportation. Air pollutantsfrom transport include nitrogen oxides, particles, carbon monoxide and hydro-carbons. All have a damaging impact on the health of people, animals and veg-etation locally. The private car is the main contributor to this. Cars have a majorimpact on the environment through their construction, use and eventual disposal.It is estimated that of the CO2 emissions produced over a cars lifespan 10% comefrom its manufacture and 5% from its disposal, with the remaining 85% comingfrom fuel use and servicing operations (Guan, 2008; Woetzel et al., 2008).104
  • 156 KM2 4.21 Unroll the Wall. 400 350 300 250 200 2010 2030 2050 POTENTIAL THE WALL 150 12.2 16.7 20.3 27.5 100 50 economic reform industrialization, export, Global, manufacturing FDI 0 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 4.22 Keeping Urban land en potential accomodation. OTHER 2.89 AGRICULTURE COMMERCIAL AND - 40% RESIDENTIAL HEATING CONSUMER ANDCOMMERCIAL PRODUCTS -90% 52% - 50% 27% 0.29 TRANSPORT Base Expanded Tightened Target (Level INDUSTRY forecast public transit, emissions III standard) density, fleet industry SOURCE: ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, 2007 4.23 Main air pollutors. 4.24 Decreasing bad air quality. 105
  • In Chengdu, 1200 new driver licences are issued each day. It is now already the third biggest city, after Shanghai and Beijing, of private car ownership in the country (Li et al., 2010). In addition to these emissions of carbon diox- ide and other air pollutants, the vehicle and related industries (e.g. fuels) consume large amounts of raw materials, and produce significant quantities of waste. Chengdu has a large automobile manufacturing industry, with firms like Volvo, BMW, Mercedez-Benz and Toyoto. When analyzing the cities transport system, it can be seen that the outskirts of the city are not well connected by public transport, making people dependent on car use. Congestion is therefore increasing ( 4.25). The millions of new migrants, who most of them do not have a private car yet, will accelerate this process. 2.89 Public transport system as backbone - 40% So a radical choice in public-transit provision will be inevitable for the city’s -90% future. By connecting the existing metro system ( 4.27) with the Wall, an - 50% expanded public-transit will be provided, thus decrease dependency on the 0.29 car. The existing metro system and the Wall will be connected with a local-Base Expanded Tightened Target (Levelforecast public transit, emissions density, fleet industry III standard) ised feeder system ( 4.28). This is a rapid hop-on hop-off system, similar to the Light-Rail-Transit (LRT) in Singapore, which ‘feeds’ the Wall and existing metro network ( 4.29). The system is closer to an automated people mover system such as those found in many airports around the world than a traditional light rail system. All the lines are fully automated and elevated, and run on viaducts in order to save scarce land space. Train arrival and departure times are almost guaranteed this way. Walking distances are no longer than 10 minutes. This means a 500 metre radius. It is also cleaner as the trains are electrically powered, and therefore lessens the effects of air pollution. In addition to that Wall Trains will run all along the Wall, pro- viding faster travel times from one part of the Wall the another ( 4.30). This new transport system will be the backbone of the Wall. It provides people a fast and reliable way of transport. When comparing travel times with the car the effect is enormous. It can cut travel time from one part of the city to another by half ( 4.31). DENSITY LOCALISED GREEN FEEDER SYSTEM HOUSES URBAN GROWING CITY SPRAWL RELIES ON CAR USE ? O2 CO2 EXISTING UNDERGROUND CARBON EXISTING METRO SYSTEM PARKING CAPTURE METRO SYSTEM 4.26 The Wall - clustered transport system. 106
  • 4.27 Existing metro system.4.29 Localized feeder systems. 4.28 Connecting with localized feeder systems. Route 50km @ 80km/h = 0h38min Transition 2x = 0h10min 18 stops @ 1min = 0h18min 1h11min CDB 25km @ 15km/h = 1h40min Outskirts 45km @ 80km/h = 0h35min 2h15min4.31 Travel time comparison. 4.30 Wall train. 107
  • 2.89 Clustered system of industries - 40% The second main polluter is industry. Today industries are randomly added -90% on free strips of land and set up as separate systems. Chengdu has had an - 50% enormous growth of manufacturing and construction industries, including 0.29Base Expanded Tightened Target (Level giant plants of Foxconn, Siemens and General Electric. On Google Earthforecast public transit, emissions III standard) density, fleet industry these industries are easily recognizable by the blue roofs scattered around the city ( 4.32). By tightening the separate emission-standards the indus- try already become cleaner, but the Wall can even further increase this. By clustering industry in the Wall the total system becomes more sustainable (Singh and Evans, 2009) ( 4.33). Sharing energy, waste, heat and CO2 cap- ture systems will have a large influence, compared to only tightening the standards per factory separately. By providing a total cycle system, waste of one factory can be used by another factory. During the transition period between fossil and clean energy a CO2 capture system can work. Dwellings or offices can also benefit from clustering industry. For example, dwellings need warm water for showering and other personal use and factories can provide warm water as a remainder of the cooling of machines. Because distances in the Wall are not too big, heat can easily be transported without loss of energy. So, next to the new transport backbone, one dense clustered system of industries in the Wall will be the second contributor to improve air quality. This results in a theoretical generic model of the Wall ( 4.34 4.35). INDUSTRY DWELLINGS EXISTING GREEN INDUSTRY DWELLINGS INDUSTRY HOUSES A B C D O2 WASTE A B E COLD CO2 HEAT CO2 F C D G 4.33 The Wall - clustered industries system. 108
  • 4.32 Satellite images from various industries in Chengdu. 4.34 The Wall - integral system of industries and transport will greatly benifit air quality. reuse waste recylce4.34 The Wall - generic model of integral system. 109
  • 4.2.4 Generic becomes specificThis generic model of the Wall will have different spatial outcomes oneach specific location. It reacts on the local soil, vegetation and program inthe city. Sometimes the shape of the Wall is a clear line, sometimes it splitsinto two lines. At other parts it is a dotted or a gradient line. At interestingplaces it makes a loop or embraces special places ( 4.36). The spatial appear-ance of the Wall in Chengdu can be divided into three parts ( 4.37). In thenorthern part of the city the main soil type is grey warp soil with forest asthe main identity carrier ( 4.38). In the south west the Mintuo river givespossibilities to shape the Wall radically and merge it with drinking waterretrieval, storage and the existing dam ( 4.39). The site of the competition,in the south east of the city, is shaped by the paddy fields and the TianfuHigh Tech Park. The landscape structure consists of a hilly pattern withrice fields and small ribbon villages on the higher parts. The high tech parkis build up with top global technology firms. Shape and program of theWall reacts on this. 4.36 Different forms of the Wall.110
  • 4.37 The wall reacts on soil types and the city. 111
  • 4.38 Forest Wall in the north.112
  • 4.39 Water Wall in the south-west, integrated with dam. 113
  • ProgramThe high tech zone can be extended to our site. It will be the end of the hightech zone ( 4.40). The site can coordinate between government agencies,private companies and academic institutions to build up Chengdu’s role inthe high tech market. Furthermore by adding local communal program,like a market hall, opera, restaurants, wellness, and shared facilities forbusinesses like, small start-up support, education, a convention centre andexhibition hall the global and local will be connected ( 4.41). In that wayinstitutionally controlled, developer-driven (top-down) and small businessand local communal facilities, will merge in this part of the Wall and makesit specific. residential 50% education and research 14% office and retail 18% factories and workshops 3% leisure 15% 100.000 people 50% residential FAR 5,3 (100.000 x 26,90) x 2 = 5.380.000m2 global local 4.41 Program with FAR of 5,3.114
  • 4.3 FRAMEWORK4.3.1 Building the wallThe competition requires to investigate 100,000 people for 1 sqkm. Accord-ing to Chinese planning documents one person needs 26,90 sqm of floorspace. The residential component should make up to 50% of the total floorspace. This means a floor area ratio of 5,3. ( 4.41 p. 114). If we add ourdesired program to this and would build one big form we need to build a250x250x260 meters cube. Our first step consists of laying out the genericWall. This means an urban zone of maximum 1000 meters wide (a radius of500 metres from the metro station) with the public transport as a backbone.( 4.42). The 500 meters radius width is derived from research of publictransport engineer White (2008) stating that this is a desirable 10 minutewalking distance to the nearest station.GridThe second step is to come up with a grid that can be flexible as well as spe-cific to the Asian context. The grids of Barcelona, Paris ( 4.43), Tokyo andNew York are interesting, but are yet too sparse or too generic. Westerngrids like the famous Manhattan grid of New York ( 4.44) are based onwestern values. That means that values derived trough centuries value ver-ticality greatly. In the theory chapter (3) of this thesis it is stated that China’straditional principles value horizontality more (Wang, 2008). Starting withConfuciun values of the collective, the architecture responds to this morein forms that emphasize enclosure. The domesticity of a Chinese family ismore build up as a micro cosmos of Chinese private life, with walls serv-ing to enclose, protect and define the dwelling. This means buildings donot have to be necessarily vertical and high towards the sky, but are ratherfocused on the collective and can grow accordingly. Flexible grid plots areneeded.The inspiration for a flexible grid that will take on the specifics of China’surban development comes from the possibility to click different collectivetypologies together ( 4.45),. Different block sizes are possible with a basicblock size of 30x80 meters ( 4.46), allowing to build higher, but alwaysdemand for collective places. Different studies showed that with this gridgrain it is possible to realize the desired FAR of 5.3.116
  • 4.42 Public transport as backbone. 4.43 Paris grid FAR Manhattan grid. FAR 8. 4.46 30x80 grid. 117
  • 4.45 New collective typologies based on 30x80 grid. Inspired by traditional typologies.118
  • 4.46 30 X 80 Grid. 119
  • 4.46a. 30 X80 Grid.120
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  • ProgramBecause the Wall asks to build 3km2 of the total site, it is necessary to spreadout 3 cubes of 250x250x260. The first option is to place the public servicesand offices in the middle of the Wall, close to the public transport andthe residential on the edges. Everybody is living on the edge, but the cen-tral strip with offices and public services will probably not be used 24/7.The second option to lay out the program is to cluster it in zones, but thisstrengthens the separation of living and working. The third option is morefeasible to mix the functions ( 4.47). With an emphasis of living at the edgeand offices and commercial zones near the metro station.DensityThe second question is where to densify. Again there are several options.A higher density in the middle strip will block the views and have no focuspoint. On the other hand the densest part is close to public transport. Bydensifying in clusters, the Wall will feel more porous allowing openings tothe landscape. The preferably option will be a combination. Clusters nearfocus points like the metro and less dense parts at edges ( 4.48). These firststeps are to set up the basic lay-out of the site.4.3.2 Integrating the wallNow the Wall will react on the specifics of the site and the landscape. Thefirst intervention will be connecting with the planned metro system ( 4.48).A big ring of a dense urban district, called the WBD (Wall Business Dis-trict) will follow. Since there are planned important places like governmen-tal buildings, parks and business in the masterplan next to the site, big piers willconnect these to the landscape ( 4.49). Like duck tape the Wall will be stitchedinto its context, breaking the linearity of the Wall. The piers embrace the land-scape into the site.Secondly all this will be connected by a big spine trough the Wall ( 4.50).This spine is the main public space in the Wall. The public transport, shops(IKEA), offices, industry (Foxconn), governmental buildings and leisure(Sichuan opera) are all placed next to or under the spine. The spine willform a route architecturale with different densities, vistas and program. Thefinal form of the Wall itself is shaped by the landscape and the city ( 4.51).Lower, wet parts in the north and south carve out big ponds in the Wall.The highest part of the mountain will cut a hole in the WBD, providing acentral park. And the spine will follow the topography of the paddy fields.122
  • 4.47 3 cubes of 250x250x260 spread out. 4.48. Different densities and ring around metrostation.4.49 Connecting places. 4.50 Central spine.4.51 Final masterplan reacting on landscape and existing city structure. 123
  • 4.51 Final masterplan.124
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  • Edge of the Wall.126
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  • Model of final masterplan.128
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  • APPLE DELL FOXCONN siemens M IKEA starbucks volvo SUZUKI Program on the spine. Program of the site. FAR 7.0 FAR 2.7 FAR 3.7 FAR 2.9 FAR 9.1 FAR 2.3 FAR 3.5 Densities of the site.130
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  • 6 Biggest parts of the Wall.140
  • 4.4 ZOOM IN: THE SPONGEThe Wall itself forms not only a way to accomodate future residents, butalso encloses the existing space of the city. One part of the Wall will beworked out in detail in this chapter. This part is called the Sponge. Thetheory part of this thesis recommended to form places by enclosing spaces,and take the existing situation as a starting point for design. The build-ing blocks formulated in the theory part form sustainable elements whichcan continuously take on new functions and can contribute to the ‘soul ofthe city’, or ‘sense of place’. In this way local people and communities mayeasier attach meaning to their environment. yamenLinearity HierarchyUnity Human scale Enclosure 141
  • Photos of the site.142
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  • 4.4.1 Existing contextPublic transport parametersThe first parameters in the design are based on the public transport as back-bone of the wall ( 4.52). On the particular site there are 3 metro stationsplanned. A radius of 500 metres sets the maximum allowed building area,in order to maintain a maximum of 10 minute walk from house to metrostation.ValleyThe second step is to build up a framework based on the existing landscapeand building structure on the site ( 4.53). The landscape on the chosen partof the wall has some interesting features. It is made up of a terraced agri-cultural landscape which produces rice, wheat, vegetables, beef, pork, tea,medicinal herbs, tobacco and silk.The site has a significant difference in heights which goes from 560 metresto almost 610 metres. Central on the site is a valley with a high productionin grain ( 4.54). The first articulation of the framework is articulating thetopography. This valley will be maintained and will form a new green andlush backbone on the site. During summer this valley will form impressiveyellow colours, due to the growing of the grain, while in winter a nice greenvalley will emerge. It changes colour with the harvesting. The valley canform a natural park system throughout the site.144
  • 4.52 Public transport parameters.4.53 Landscape structure.4.54 Valley. 145
  • 4.54 Valley.146
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  • Bamboo hills and water pondsAnother interesting feature of the site are the hills with bamboo forests(Moso bamboo or Phyllostachys pubescens) ( 4.55). Besides the spatialquality, bamboo has some major ecological benefits. With its fast growthrate and high annual regrowth after harvesting, the bamboo forest has ahigh carbon storage potential. A high annual rate of carbon accumulationmeans that the bamboo forests are one of the most efficient types of forestvegetation for carbon fixation. Bamboo forests have an extensive rhizomesystem (horizontal stems) , a thick litter layer, highly elastic culms, and adense canopy. These characteristics give bamboo forests a high capacity forerosion control, soil and water conservation, landslide prevention, protec-tion of riverbanks, and windbreak and shelterbelt potential. Since Chengduis known for its rainfall and moisture, the bamboo forests can help withthis, since they have a strong capacity for rainfall interception and moistureretention.Finally these bamboo hills will form natural ‘oxygen bars’ for the site, andcan therefore clean the air and reduce noise. It maintains wildlife biodiver-sity by providing food and habitat for numerous species of insects in the soiland tree layers, as well as for spiders, butterflies, birds and other higher lifeforms (Lou et al., 2010). Socially, local residents harvest the bamboo, anduse it for a wide range of products. This does not harm the ecological ben-efits described above.The existing water ponds form water storages and air purifiers ( 4.55). Theprimary function is to collect water from strong rainfall. As an additionaleffect the evaporated water cools air and enforces a circulation of the airtrough the city on warm summer days. This rain will be collected at theponds and the vegetation (reed as halophytes) will purify this in a naturalway. The sun evaporates this water again, but then cleaned, or the waterinfiltrates in the aquifer, also cleaned. 4.55 Bamboo hills and water ponds.148
  • Natural ventilatorThe valley, bamboo hills and water ponds will have an interesting effect onthe everyday living quality and especially the air quality of the site. SinceChengdu has practically no winds, alternatives need to be fostered, thelandscape can work as a natural ventilator for the new build areas. Buildareas have higher temperatures, which is called the heat-island effect, anda lower air pressure, than the landscape. The water ponds will cool air andenforce circulation of air. From the landscape a cool and humid airflow willwork as a natural ventilator in the city ( 4.56). So, the valley ,the bamboohills and water ponds will form retreatment and refreshment areas, bothsocially as ecologically on the site. O2 O2 O2 O2 O2 H L rainfall interception L reducing moisture valley carbon L evaporation water H H H Grey water water ponds rain water collection polluted ground water in aquifer 4.56 Natural ventilator.Upgrading existing networkThe existing roads connect places in the city and landscape. These wellpaved streets can be maintained and form an infrastructural framework forthe site ( 4.57). The existing buildings along these roads, can be integratedin new blocks. These roads will form the primary arteries in the hierar-chy. ( 4.58, p.159) Therefore a symmetrical profile with a clear distinctionbetween private and public is prescribed. A continuity of the facade, no set-back, a (semi-) public first floor and a maximum of 6 stories and mixed landuse will provide a flow of people and goods. 4.57 Existing network. 149
  • 4.4.2 Series of enclosed worldsWhat results is a framework build up from the existing situation. The nextsteps will interpret the building blocks formulated in the theory part in thisparticular site.LinearityThe main intervention is adding new lanes to the infrastructural network,by placing these in a east-west direction ( 4.59). These lanes will follow theterraces, and will mimic the rice paddies. These south facing streets willtake full advantage of sunshine in winter and prevailing winds in summer.These roads will form the secondary arteries focused on the flows of dailylife. An asymmetrical profile emphasizes this ( 4.60, p.150). A transitionzone of 5 metres which can contain porches, veranda’s and front yards, within the street public spaces consisting of sitting elements, planting, vendorsand street stalls. To improve the interaction between street and block withinevery 7 metres there need to be an entrance. First floors are accessible withshops, restaurants, teahouses or other semi-public facilities. The blocks arerecognizable and controllable entities. 4.59 Secondary arteries.150
  • 23 7 15 7 23 - symetrical profile - continuity facade - no setback - transparency 1st floor - max 5 stories - land use mix - max 12 m between each entrance - max 25% open space on plot4.58 Primary arteries. 151
  • - transition zone 5 m ( porches, veranda’s, frontyard) - 3-4 stories - asymetrical profile - height differences - max 7 m. between each entrance - sitting elements - land use mix - vendors and street stalls - planting as space- makers 4.60 Secondary arteries, asymetrical profile. 152
  • HierarchyWhat results is a hierarchical system leading from the public to the very pri-vate. The hierarchy is emphasised by varying the width of the lanes so that, yamenin general, they become narrower as they become shorter and closer to thehouses. Within this framework building plots can be pointed out ( 4.61).This framework makes the spatial and social readable and transparent.Different programs can emphasise this hierarchy, with around the valley amixed program of living and leisure ( 4.62). The main arteries carry com-merce, offices and dwellings, while the secondary arteries are mainly dwell-ings. At strategic spots, meaning where landscape, main arteries and metrostations come together, special buildings can form focus points. 4.61 Building plots. 4.62 Program. 153
  • UnityTo develop the plots into urban blocks, the idea of collectivity is leading.The domesticity of a Chinese family is build up as a micro cosmos of Chi-nese private life, with walls serving to enclose, protect and define the dwell-ing, therefore the blocks need to provide private spaces. In contrary withWestern blocks and High-rise free standing towers, private spaces shouldbe distributed evenly throughout the block. The goal is to form a unitybetween manmade open space and nature and blending it into smallerpieces distributed evenly throughout a human scaled and horizontal city.Human scaleBy placing walls of 6 metres on the edges, which are steady soils of clayand sand, of the existing rice paddy structure, a possibility emerges to createthese private spaces ( 4.63). The plots will be divided into manageablesmaller plots in which individual units can be developed. On the smallerplots a maximum of 60% is allowed to build, no higher than 4 stories. Everyhouse enjoys thus a piece of open private space. Since there is no direct sun-light in Chengdu, light will reach the ground floors easily. Developers areallowed to build within one block a maximum of 10 plots including thewalls at once. This prevents the emerging of large gated compounds andallows for a bottom-up development. Farmers who live on the site can selltheir land to investors or government and buy a new walled house or canexpand their existing house. Certain plots will be reserved for semi-publicaccessibility ( 4.64). 20% of these plots are allowed to be build, which resultsin small alleyways penetrating the block. Walls on these plots will be cutwith holes which can be consciously experienced. Entrances of the individ-ual units are located on these alleyways, with bamboo screens in front of thedoors, to make a semi-private front.154
  • 4.62 Valley 4.62 Building plots 4.63 New walls. 4.64 Collective spaces155
  • 4.65 Final model of development.156
  • 4.66 Different building typologies 157
  • 4.65 Final model of development.158
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  • EnclosureThe structure that results is called the Sponge. It is a structure that cangrow or even shrink easily and is highly adaptable to the market. It is aframework that is formed radically by the existing natural topography (4.66, p.160), and an interpretation of the building blocks from the theorypart. The result is a series of enclosed worlds with human scaled courtyards,gardens, small open areas and other forms of open space, alternating withthe main roads, bamboo hills, water ponds and valley ( 4.67, p.162).160
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  • 4.66 Existing terraced landscape structure with paddy fields.162
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  • 4.67 New development.164
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  • 4.69 Birds eye perspective166
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  • 4.70 Inzoom168
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  • 4.71 Birds eye of the edge.170
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  • 4.72 Inzoom of the spine.172
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  • 4.73 Birds eye of the spine.174
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  • 4.78 1:500184
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  • 4.79 Section 1:500. Movement through enclosed worlds.186
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  • Storage + first filter Clean air Wall water transport system Black water Chinese citronella grass hylophytes and gravel Water tank Storage pondsClarification plant Grey water Clean gutter Helophytes Primary sedimentation Planted trench filter Chengdu water system 4.81 Water cleaning system Also in materialization this can be emphasised. Rainwater runs on 1 metre wide water gutters in public space trough the enclosed worlds to the water catchment ponds ( 4.81). These water gutters are filled with stones and marbles, therefore intensifying the sound of the streaming water ( 4.82). This has a cooling and calming effect on micro level. The walls itself can be build from white concrete blocks. This maximizes sunshine reflection and keeps the adjacent spaces cool in the summer. Indigenous plants like Ligus- trum wallichii, Liriope spicata and Aconitum carmichaeli and herbs like Gentiana scabra, Duchesnea indica contain healing effects for body and air and function like natural incense ( 4.83 p.190). Bamboo screens can further subdivide spaces. By planting differently in colour and effect in each space, the sequence of enclosed worlds will also be emphasised with touch and smell. The pavement can be made of brick baked from the local soil. This results in a colour range from dark brown to yellow and grey. By enclosing with walls and emphasizing this with the distribution of materials, plants and streaming water a general public space can become a particular place. It provides a structure for ones position in space, time and society and a tangible spatial reference for everyday life. It makes the infinite ‘natural space’ comprehensible, enabling meaningful human inter- relation with it. 190
  • 4.82 Inzoom water cleaning system. 191
  • 4.83 1:5 Wall section with water transport192
  • WaterGravelbedPrefab concrete with constructed gutterPrefab concreteCoated steel gutter Helophytes Concrete Gravel 193
  • 4.84 Different plantation in sections.194
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  • 4.85 Public space section water gutter196
  • 4.86 Public space section Bamboo screen 197
  • 4.87 Model198
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  • 4.88 Density200
  • 1,7 FSI 60,000 people on 1km2201
  • 4.4.3 Walking from metro to bedroomFrom eye-level this results in a sequence of walled enclosures.Movement through these walled world forms the key experienceof space. Space is experienced trough a crossing of various enclo-sures and different spatial sequences. The next space is alwaysunpredictable which creates a sense of mystery. It thus presentsspace little by little.202
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  • 4.89 Spine with public transport.204
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  • 4.90 Small public space and teahouse.206
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  • 4.91 Alley208
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  • 4.92 Overlooking water pond and existing building.210
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  • 4.93 Collective space with water gutter.212
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  • 4.94 Private courtyard.214
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  • 4.95 Bedroom.216
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  • 4.5 EVALUATION4.5.1 Hypothesis evaluationTo fix the value of the results the initial design brief is recalled. “The devel-opment of ideas and theories in urban growth and architectural form relatedto density, liveability and sustainability specific to the rapid and exponentialgrowth of urbanism in Asia…it seeks design solutions for a balanced envi-ronment for urban life where public amenities and work opportunities arewithin easy access. It encourages efficient and clean modes of travels thatcontribute to clean and fresh air.”The design brief seeks an alternative urban architectural model for Chi-nese cities. This thesis adds the significance of public space to this, with thehypothesis that by re-discovering the fundamental role of ordinary publicspace in Chinese cities, several other problems can be addressed and evenbe reduced.4.5.2 CritiqueHowever, a few critical comments can be made when evaluating the results.These comments can be better explained by putting The Wall in a shorthistorical perspective.The theoretical roots of the Wall can be found with the concept of ‘thelinear city’. The linear city concept was an urban plan for an elongatedurban formation. The linear city was first developed by Arturo Soria yMata in Madrid ( 4.97) during the end of the 19th century, but was pro-moted by the Sovjet planner Nikolai Alexander Miljutin ( 4.98) in the late1920s. The concept had a revival in the 1950s and 1960s ( 4.99).Interesting is to see that the argumentation used for The Wall come closewith earlier argumentations in Linear City concepts. Collins, a planner whowrote firstly about the concept in 1959: “A linear city is one that is formed- and grows - along a line. This line is usually its artery of transport forpeople, for goods, and for services: roads, rails, pipes, and wires (note thesimilarity with the central spine in the wall). A city of this sort can growfreely - infinitely - in increments that are repetitive in character. Its internalcirculatory system is planned for the utmost efficiency: all its parts are, pre-sumably, of easy accessibility to each other and share the same urban ame-nities. Since the extensions of the growing city are narrow in width, all its218
  • 4.97 Soria y Mata, 1882. Linear city. 4.98 N. Miljutin, 1930. Tractorstoi, Stalingrad4.97 Soria y Mata, 1882. Linear city.4.99 R. Malcolmson, 1957, Metro-linear City Project.4.99 Le Corbusier 1932, The Industrial Linear city. 219
  • 4.100 Le Corbusier. La Ville Radieusepoints are in close confrontation with natural landscape, and the country-side in turn partakes of the advantages of modern city life, brought to it bythe linear corridor.” (Collins, 1959, p. 2). Collins describes and categorizes agreat variety of linear-development concepts and designs. A few argumentscan be constantly derived from this: ° Limited extension of the city; ° Efficiency in building; ° A fordist mass production. The linear city is like an assembly line; ° Landscape on one hand and city on the other. Best of both worlds; ° Orientation on transport.Especially in the increasing mobile society in the 1950s and 1950s, just likeis happening today in China, the concept gained popularity. But Collins alsopointed out that “it should be kept in mind that, regardless of the artists’renderings by which they may on occasion be presented, linear planning isprimarily a schema, a process, a system, and not a physical or architecturalactuality”.220
  • Thus, the linear city is mainly a modernist concept and can be regardedas an urban/spatial expression of modernist (fordist) production, inspiredby repetition, mass production, and the development of the train, highwayand the assembly line. The basis of the concept is the rather blueprint likeapproach ( 4.100). Besides the blueprint approach there is an approachbased on scheme’s. Problematic is that these schemes are rarely made tan-gible. Also possible hidden burdens can be named like, how to stop sprawlwith a build wall? What will be additional urban rules, and can there berules, or are economic forces to strong? And what will happen to people ifthey are living their daily life on the edge of the city?Mostly these schemes ignore local differences. In the main concept of theWall this is tried to be prevented, but it still ignores some very crucial small-scale local characteristics like bamboo forests, farms, water ponds and exist-ing roads. Also from the main concept of the Wall the critique can be thatit remained a scheme. In the Zoom-in the Sponge (chapter 4.4) it is triedto make the concept more tangible and respect local characteristics. Thesponge takes the existing context radically as a basis, resulting in a frombirds-eye rather irregular form, but from eye-level some qualities are pre-sented that touches the essence of Chinese perception of space.4.5.3 The Wall as integral designCan the Wall be seen as an integral design and be an answer to the rapidand exponential growth of urbanism in Asia ( 4.101)? energy water consumption (liter/day/capita) urban area (sqkm) migrants waste per capita income & expenditure (yuan) food consumption (kcal/day/capita) population private cars water availability (liter/day/capita) biodiversity cars’ average speed (km/h)1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2030 2035 2040 2045 4.101 Challenges facing China. 221
  • 4.102 Integral design.In the Wall the challenges will not be dealt with as separate tasks but, ratheras an holistic strategy ( 4.102). Not only the flow of people, but flow ofenergy, waste, water, fauna and flora. Traffic congestion and sprawledindustries are decreased therefore having a major effect on air quality.Water can be purified and used as drinking water or for other uses likethe shower or toilets. Wast can be collectively dealt with troughout thewhole Wall. Biodiversity and vegetation in the landscape can be untouched.Migrants from rural areas can move to the Wall, overlooking the farmlandon one hand, and on the other hand see the opportunities of the city. Foodcan still be produced in the landscape and collectively transported in a shortdistance to the Wall. This more technical approach to the challenges, iscomplemented with attention to the design and experience of spaces. TheSponge investigates this deeper. Crucial principles like collectivity andenclosure form the public spaces, therefore putting emphasis again on ordi-nary public spaces.The integratlity in the design is highlighted by the jury comments: “Anoriginal and ambitious vision. The wall is a strategic approach that startswith a detailed site-specific analysis but culminating in a robust and gen-eral solution for the entire china. The sense of balance in the design, scaleand depth of thinking is most impressive. The wall plays many roles bothfunctionally and metaphorically; it goes beyond being a physical and meta-phorical boundary and dwells on the typology of courtyards and Chinesecultures.”222
  • 4.103 New Chinese Walls4.5.4 New Chinese WallsThe Chinese cities grew enormously last decades, spreading to almost infin-ity. The idea of the Chinese Wall can be projected at different cities ( 4.103).350 million people will be added to China’s urban population by 2025. 40billion sqm of floor space will be built. The urban Walls can accommodatethis growth, making the urbanization more compact and sparing the scarcelandscape. The cities would grow to dense super cities. This generates themost GDP per capita, is more energy efficient and it would contain theloss of arable land. Implementing the Wall as a new urban architecturalmodel could be easier than it might seem as the current dispersed modelapproaches its limits. In fact, the Chinese national leadership recognizes andimplicitly supports a sharp, radical and significant course change to a newurban architectural model; it calls for an industrial and economic rebalanc-ing to achieve a more harmonious society in the 12th Five Year Plan. Thesenew Walls can guide this rebalancing. They can be the second Great Chi-nese Walls to be erected, therefore preparing China for its urban billion! 223
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  • This research started with the question: “How to design an alternativecompact urban architectural model for Chengdu, that fosters ordinarypublic places, resulting in a masterplan with a density of 100,000 people persqkm?”Alternative compact urban architectural model350 million people will move from the countryside to the Chinese cities inthe coming decades. However the current dispersed model is no longerdurable to cope with this. The arable land resources will shrink rapidly, thelandscape and environment will further be affected and other problems willincrease. From a spatial point of view, public space is especially under pres-sure. This thesis takes the city of Chengdu, part of one of the world’s big-gest agglomerations, as a case study.If the excepted growth rate in the city of Chengdu continues in the samespace-consuming manner as today, the city will doubled in size by 2030.The Wall takes the existing situation radically as a starting point, therebymitigating the pressures the city is facing. The Wall can be seen as an alter-native that fosters compact growth. This thesis formulated some funda-mental principles of Chinese culture that cannot be ignored in an alterna-tive city model, thereby challenging the underlying premise of the VerticalCities Asia, that only high-rise can be a solution.Ordinary public placeThe principles of linearity, hierarchy, unity, human scale and enclosure canprovide building blocks for this model. The principles can be considered asthe ‘tangible signs of the past’. They form the sustainable elements which226
  • can continuously take on new functions. They can form continuity in Chi-nese cities which are confronted with discontinuity.MasterplanThe Wall tries to form a unity between manmade open space and natureand blends it into smaller pieces distributed evenly throughout a humanscaled and horizontal city. It thus strengthens the importance of family andkinship. Enclosure, which forms the key element in this, touches the coreof Chinese city life. Walls are the most prominent physical manifestation ofenclosure, since they manage transitions across the threshold by means ofopenings that can be consciously experienced. From eye-level perspective amovement through a series of enclosed world forms a fundamental qualityin the new masterplan.Concluding, enclosing spaces and taking the existing situation as a start-ing point would be the main conclusion derived from this thesis. By enclos-ing with boundaries a general public space can become a particular space, a‘place’ that can be meaningful for everyday life. It provides a structure forones position in space, time and society and a tangible spatial reference foreveryday life. It makes the infinite ‘natural space’ comprehensible, enablingmeaningful human interrelation with it. This principle is central to theperception and appreciation of ordinary public space. It would be the re-discovery of the ordinary. 227
  • SamenvattingIn de afgelopen decennia zijn Chinese steden zonder enige rem, met eenenorme snelheid gegroeid. In 2025 zullen naar verwachting bijna één mil-jard mensen in China in de stad wonen. Dit brengt enorme uitdagingen metzich mee op het gebied van economie, demografie, leefbaarheid, natuur,transport en milieu. China is op dit moment op een kruispunt: Doorgaanmet de huidige verspreide groei, of zoeken naar alternatieve compactestadsmodellen om de uitdagingen tot een integraal geheel samen te smeden.Het is de hypothese van deze thesis dat de publieke ruimte van levensbel-ang is in deze missie. Het bindt de stad en het geeft een duurzame structuurvoor de komende jaren. Echter deze publieke ruimte staat onder druk. Ple-kken die belangrijk zijn in het dagelijkse gebruik worden vervangen doorimponerende stadsassen, verkeerswegen en pleinen. Een op modernistische,pragmatische leest geschroeide en op Westerse stadsmodellen geinspireerdestadsontwikkeling zorgt voor een gefragmenteerde en snel uitdijende stad.In de stad Chengdu komen deze krachten de afgelopen jaren extra sterk totuitdrukking.Als de verwachte populatiegroei op Chengdu geprojecteerd wordt en destad op dezelfde ruimteverslindende wijze hier mee om zal gaan, zal hetstedelijk oppervlakte in 2030 zijn verdubbeld. Dit zal resulteren in eenverdere urban sprawl met als gevolg, onvermijdelijke verkeersopstoppin-gen en een toename van luchtvervuiling zal volgen. Dit terwijl de huidigeluchtvervuiling al 2,5 keer hoger is dan de WHO richtlijnen. Met het pro-ject The Wall wordt een integraal plan geboden waarbij de urban sprawleen halt wordt toegeroepen en tegelijkertijd een op de Chinese perceptievan ruimte gerichte publieke ruimte weer centraal stelt.In het plan wordt voorgesteld op de huidige stadsgrens sterk te verdi-chten: een nieuwe stedelijke ‘muur’ rondom de stad; The Wall. The Wallzorgt voor behoud van het kostbare land en maakt de overgang van staden landschap manifest. Grote opening en vistas, parken, pleinen en water-partijen geven de muur geen gesloten maar juist een open gevoel. Nieuwontwikkelde ‘courtyard’ typologieën, gebaseerd op confuciaanse waardenals gemeenschappelijkheid en familie, bieden een aangenaam en menselijkwoonklimaat. Op elke locatie in de stad neemt The Wall de vorm aan vande specifieke kwaliteiten van het landschap en stedelijke context, waar-door zij blijft verrassen. In een verdere uitwerking worden bijvoorbeeld debestaande rijstvelden structuur als basis genomen voor ontwikkeling. Dit228
  • resulteert in een van vogelvlucht perspectief schijnbaar chaotisch ontwerp,maar heeft een duidelijke hierachie en levert op ooghoogte verrassendeervaringen. Hierbij word de muur op verschillende schalen als fundamen-teel ruimte-ervarings element ingezet.The Wall is een stadsmodel die grenzen, net als oude middeleeuwse Chi-nese en Europese steden opnieuw definieert, waardoor de stad gedwongenwordt te verdichten. Onderzoek van het McKinsey Global Institute toontaan dat geconcentreerde groei productiviteit en efficiency doet toene-men, en waarschuwt dat dit noodzakelijk is voor een duurzame toekomstvan China. The Wall fungeert ook als framework voor nieuwe mogeli-jkheden om de stad van schone lucht te voorzien. Door de sterk verdichteWall kunnen zowel transport als industrie, de grootste vervuilingsbron-nen, geclusterd worden tot een integraal systeem welke aangesloten wordop bestaande netwerken. De breedte van The Wall is gebaseerd op demaximale loopafstanden vanaf het openbaar vervoer. Hiermee neemt deafhankelijkheid van de auto af en daarmee de uitstoot van vervuiling. Ditnieuwe transport systeem is de publieke ruggengraat van The Wall. Hetgeclusterde industrie systeem geeft mogelijkheden tot het delen van ener-gie, warmte, water en afval. CO2-afvang wordt hierdoor op grotere schaalmogelijk gemaakt. Op deze wijze kan luchtvervuiling bij de bron wordenaangepakt. Het generieke model The Wall zou niet alleen in Chengdu,maar ook in andere Aziatische opkomende steden in allerlei vormen metrespect voor locale condities toegepast kunnen worden.Juryrapport‘The Wall’ weet volgens de jury van de internationale prijsvraag VerticalCities Asia op ingenieuze wijze verschillende schaalniveaus van Chengduaan elkaar te knopen en kende het plan de tweede prijs toe. Volgens dejury worden vernieuwende en tegelijkertijd praktische ontwerpen voor destad voorgesteld. The Wall werd bovendien geroemd om het feit dat hetontwerp was gebaseerd op gedegen architectonisch en stedenbouwkundigonderzoek. Het jury rapport over ‘The Wall’: “An original and ambitiousvision. The wall is a strategic approach that starts with a detailed site-spe-cific analysis but culminating in a robust and general solution for the entirechina. The sense of balance in the design, scale and depth of thinking ismost impressive. The wall plays many roles both functionally and meta-phorically; it goes beyond being a physical and metaphorical boundary anddwells on the typology of courtyards and Chinese cultures.” 229
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  • AcknowledgementsSpecial thanks to Mitesh Dixit, studio leader of Vertical Cities Asia, andHenco Bekkering, my mentor during my graduation, together with whomI have been able to test out my ideas, who provided numerous impulses andwho showed enthusiasm for this undertaking. And to Deborah Haupt-mann, the second reader of this thesis, for her input and critical reflec-tions on several concept texts and presentations. Thanks also to Bart vanLakwijk en Herman Pel, my colleague students, with whom I undertookthe first part of the project. Thanks for your enthusiasm, knowledge, pas-sion and critics during my graduation year. I was lucky to have you in mygroup. To the students of the studio Vertical Cities Asia who made the proj-ect together I think a great experience. To Luisa Calabrese, Kees Kaan andHenri van Bennekom for their valuable comments during presentations. Tomy fellow students, especially my Atlantis friends. Finally, to friends andfamily who supported me during my studies and graduation in particular.J. N., Rotterdam, Jan. 2012 237
  • This thesis is a specific research about the city of Chengdu inWestern China. The city is at the very heart of the dramatictransformation of China and can be seen as a perfect modelcity of recent growth. Together with the city of Chongqing itis one of the largest urban agglomerations in the world. Thecity showed an explosive growth in GDP, urban area, infra-structure and living standards. There are however enormousqualitative challenges for further growth concerning landuse, domesticity, biodiversity, water and air quality; The cityis at the crossroads. In order to attempt to resolve the chal-lenges, which path will it take?It is the hypothesis of this thesis, that the underlying frame-work of the city, its streets and public spaces, is the basisfor development, because these are a lasting foundation foryears. The thesis takes on the perspective of ordinary publicplaces that are meaningful for everyday life. Therefore it iscrucial to understand space, the Chinese perception of it andhow to structure it. The result of this thesis is a proposal foran alternative urban architectural model that will guide thecity towards compact growth, giving at the same time ‘place’to the millions of new migrants.