More green, less glitz will improve city life

We need more green, not glitz in the city. We need the soothing green, the trees and shade, the parks where we can amble for a bit of respite from the concrete jungle.

Lack of natural landscape for public recreation is a major weakness in our striving international metropolis. Trees take time and they don’t yield a profit, like high rises on valuable real estate. All the same, greenery is good city planning.

Dazzling neon lights, skyscrapers, hustle and bustle are all captivating, but without greenery one gets exhausted in the concrete jungle and longs for fresh air, space and peace.

Shanghai’s public green space per capita is now 12 square meters, nearly double the figure 20 years ago, according to 2007 statistics by the Shanghai Forestry Bureau.

Read more of the 3 page Special @ Shanghai Daily – More green, less glitz will improve city life

Builders of city parks

PARKS are the refreshing green patches in a concrete, gray dominated urban environment.

They provide the city’s denizens with fresh air to breathe. Unfortunately, there are not too many of them here in Cebu City.

Open spaces, like parks and plazas, compliment architecture. City parks afford its dwellers space, not just for a momentary dialogue with nature but also a spot where they can appreciate the beautiful buildings and vistas around.

This feature reveals the creative takes by Cebuano architects on two of the city’s parks (this week, we talk abuot Fuente OsmeƱa rotunda). With their knowledge, training and experience in site development and planning of buildings, they bring their ideas for the improvement of these spaces in pen and ink.

Sun.Star Cebu – Builders of city parks 

Trend: Creativity Made in China – MAD Architects

Over the last two decades China has become known as the factory of the world; “Made in China” has often come to symbolize cheapness, sub-standard quality and lack of originality. More recently however, thanks to a booming economy, political deregulation and social development, China has witnessed the gradual evolution of a free-thinking generation of creative individuals who have broken free from the system to express themselves in profound and innovative ways.

As part of this movement, growing numbers of Chinese architects, emboldened by the general fervor currently gripping China’s artistic community, are designing buildings which are slowly but surely imprinting a new identity on the Chinese built landscape.

At the forefront of this architectural revolution have been Ma Yansong, a young US-educated Chinese architect, and his Beijing-based architectural agency MAD, founded in 2002. MAD took the international architectural scene by storm in 2006, as the first Chinese studio ever to win an design competition outside China. The “Absolute Tower” in Toronto, Canada, is scheduled for completion in 2009.

Read more @ Trend: Creativity Made in China – MAD Architects | CScout TrendBlog.

Dongtan Eco city shouldn’t be a marketing piece – Planners

Two countries will lead the world in eco-cities: China and Britain.” The words of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown lingered in the cold Shanghai winter air long after he had given tacit approval to the Dongtan ‘eco-city’, set to be constructed on the formerly preserved wetlands of Chongming Island, near Shanghai. Dongtan was initiated by Shanghai Industrial Investment Corp, which contracted British engineering firm Arup to work on the development.

The heavily hyped, and controversial, development is being marketed as the world’s first “self-sustaining eco city” – designed to house up to 90,000 people by 2010, with 90 per cent of all waste to be recovered, recycled or reused. Last November, it was recognised as one of the “most innovative and outstanding buildings in Asia” by the MIPIM Asia Awards in Hong Kong.

However, speculation persists about the yet-to-be-constructed Dongtan’s actual ecological credentials, and rumours have surfaced that its near-neighbour may be a Disneyland theme park (reported here).

China Business News and Business in China – BizChinaUpdate.

Singapore landscape industry to grow 10% a year

The landscape industry is worth an estimated S$1 billion and the government expects it to grow rapidly.

This is according to the Minister of State for National Development, Grace Fu.

She was speaking at the Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects (SILA) Design Awards Presentation and Dinner on Monday evening.

Ms Fu said the industry is expected to grow about 10 per cent a year, over the next few years.

Manpower demand is projected to grow at about 4 per cent per year for the next five years, creating about 700 jobs annually.

She added that besides Singapore, landscape architects are also highly sought after overseas, in China, India, Vietnam, and the Middle East. -CNA/vm

Channelnewsasia.com.

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