Time to stop building cities without souls – China Daily

At his first sight of Las Vegas, a Chinese student of community participation in urban development remarked, “I feel as if I am back in Beijing’s second ring road!”

Indeed, the shadow of the American casino capital looms large over Beijing and many other Chinese cities, which vie with one another in copying the model of Las Vegas to become a mixture of something of everything.

With a messy combination of bits from New York City, Paris, Italy, Egypt and others, Las Vegas could satisfy a fancy of the wonderland.

Yet the city in the wild desert is a nightmare for urban planners, as it has developed with little planning. Even though Las Vegas hosted the centennial convention of the American Planning Association (APA) in late April, many American planners dismiss it as a good example of urban development.

To their regret, however, Las Vegas becomes a role model for too many Chinese cities in their drive for urban development. Like Las Vegas, these cities with entirely different cultural and socioeconomic contexts are sprawling ever wider with ever more and taller high-rises, until they become jungles of cement.

Perhaps the decision-makers and designers of Chinese cities should come to such a consensus. They should learn from the culture and traditions of their own cities before they set out to borrow others’ experiences. If they fail to develop a taste for the treasures under their eyes, it is doubtful that they can pick out something valuable elsewhere.

Read more at the Source: China Daily – to stop building cities without souls by Xiong Lei

“Asia-Pacific Gateway for Climate Change” – UN ESCAP

Countries from Asia and the Pacific, both developed and developing, are gathering in Bangkok to share experiences on “co-benefits approach to climate change” – win-win actions which cut greenhouse gas emissions while alleviating poverty.

The meeting today (23 April) is organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with the Japanese Ministry of the Environment and the Japanese Overseas Environmental Cooperation Centre.

About 50 participants are sharing good practices on “co-benefits”. The use of landfill gas is an example. Decaying rubbish creates large amounts of greenhouse gasses. Other examples of co-benefits projects are springing up across the region.

In the Philippines, enhanced public transportation services are reducing commute times and carbon emissions at the same time. A project in Malaysia introduced innovative strategies for waste management which lower emission while at the same time reducing the build up of waste.

The meeting was opened by the Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Mr. Shigeru Mochida, and Japan’s Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Mr. Toshiro Kojima. Presentations are given by participants from China, Indonesia, Japan, the United States, Thailand, and from ESCAP and OECD, among others.

SOURCE: Bangkok (United Nations Information Services)

Pecha Kucha Beijing Volume No.8

Pecha Kucha Beijing Volume No.8  –  18th of May 2008  –  04:00pm at Yugong Yishan –  Admission RMB 20, 
A
fter a small pause to regain energy, Pecha Kucha Beijing is back in full swing!
The line up of Volume 8’s speakers is compiled of professionals of the fashion industry, artists, architects and multimedia specialists.

Pecha Kucha北京 第八回
地点:愚公移山
时间:2008518日,下午400,门票:20RMB
经过一个短暂的间隔后,Pecha Kucha北京重新回来!
这次的演讲者由来自时装设计,艺术,建筑和多媒体的专业人员组成.

Hungry Mile wasteland warning

THE man advising New York on how to revamp its public spaces has slammed the NSW Government’s plan for the former Hungry Mile site, warning it will become “fearsome at night” and a “wasteland” on weekends and public holidays.

The Government wants to transform the historic wharves at East Darling Harbour in what it describes as the biggest urban renewal project in a generation.

Half of the 22-hectare site would become a waterside wedge of parkland and public open space. The other half would consist of residential and commercial buildings.

But the Danish urban planner Jan Gehl, who is visiting Sydney, said a lack of nearby residents, a parkland too large for its own good and a location too difficult to reach, would make the area, known as Barangaroo, dangerous and deserted.

Read more @ the Source: smh.com.au Hungry Mile wasteland warning

West Lake urban area scheme announced – Vietnam

The Ha Noi Department of Planning and Architecture late last week announced details of the West Lake urban area project.

The urban area, which has a total investment capital of US$314-mil in its first phase, will cover an area of more than 200ha and can accommodate around 20,000 people.

The new urban area will consist of housing, office buildings, high-end hotels, parks, banks and commercial centres.

The project is expected to have the land clearance phase completed in 2009 and basic building completed in 2011

Source: VietNamNet – West Lake urban area scheme announced.

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