Kowloon Walled City: Hyper Density!
Micheal Wolf Photography: Architecture of Density
I had the privileged of hear Micheal Wolf talk in person about his photos. He explained how he has a deep love and appreciation for Hong Kong, he finds the environment truly unique, and though perhaps surreal and a little daunting- fosters many creative uses of space and adds whimsical detail to daily life.
These photos capture the scale and intensity of density in Hong Kong.
"True quest is about agency, and the capacity to be driven past one’s limits in pursuit of something greater. It’s about desire that extends beyond what we may know about who we are. It’s a test of mettle, a destiny."
"A man with a quest, internal or external, makes the choice at every stage about whether to endure the consequences or turn back, and that choice is imbued with heroism. Women, however, are restricted to a single tragic or fatal choice. We trace all of their failures, as well as the dangers that befall them, back to this foundational moment of sin or tragedy, instead of linking these encounters and moments in a narrative of exploration that allows for an outcome which can unite these individual choices in any heroic way. I will also admit that I think fixed narratives can be pretty dangerous. As vessels that shape our sense of self, they can be narcotic, limiting, and boring, and our development as humans is directly tied to our ability to cut across these simplistic story lines rather than be enslaved by them. Keystones in the arch under which we pass into a landscape of adolescent narcissism—that is what I think of fixed narratives. But they also keep us safe. They mark our place in society and make sure we’re seen. Therefore, the only thing more dangerous than having simplistic narratives is having no narrative at all, which is deadly."
Chinese Shanghai (pg. 7 - 8)
Often referred to as the “Paris of the Orient,” Shanghai was primarily a modern manufacturing and business emporium where a new urban class - an intelligentsia, a business and working class - originated. The city was both a capitalist and cultural center, which had more in situations of higher education than Beijing, and though it was not considered the intellectual center Beijing was, neither was it solely devoted to business and money.
Shanghai had a large publishing industry, both foreign and Chinese, hundreds of printing presses, and a number of Chinese- and English- language dailes. The first modern Chinese newspaper, Shenbao, was published in Shanghai from 1872 on… and bookstores along Fuzhou and Henan Roads were a major attraction. A thriving motion picture industry and a large number of movie theaters were another modern novelty of the urban scene. In Shanghai a person could see the latest Hollywood productions as well as films produced in Shanghai studios. The movie house, writes Leo Lee, “created both the material conditions and cultural climate for movie going as a new habit of urban life.”
The Refugee Flood, December 1938 to September 1939
The refugees that came ashore in December 1938 were blissfully unaware of the profound unease that lurked beneath the surface calm. So were the ones who came thereafter, having narrowly escaped the conflagration that would soon engulf Europe. But the SMC was far from calm when on Dec 20, 1938, over 500 refugees arrived and when in the next eight months Italian, German, and Japanese ships docked… bringing the number of refugess now in Shanghai to 17,000.
I spent countless hours in middle school defending my carefully planed suburban neighborhoods from alien invasion, fires, and rioting… oh wait, maybe that’s why I want to be an urban planner?
The Sim City from my childhood has been totally remodeled and looks fantastic. With new focus on sustainability, and pulls design features from real live cities around the world.
For any fans out there check out this article~
Seriously. Can’t. Wait. to Play!
"Stone Librande: From working on SimCity games in the past, we already have a library here with a lot of city planning books. Those were really good as a reference, but I found, personally, that the thing I was most attracted to was using Google Earth and Google Street View to go anywhere in the world and look down on real cities. I found it to be an extremely powerful way to understand the differences between cities and small towns in different regions.
Google has a tool in there that you can use to measure out how big things are. When I first started out, I used that a lot to investigate different cities. I’d bring up San Francisco and measure the parks and the streets, and then I’d go to my home town and measure it, to figure out how it differed and so on. My inspiration wasn’t really drawn from urban planning books; it was more from deconstructing the existing world.”
- The Atlantic
I haven’t updated shanghai-daze in far too long. Somehow between travel and coming back to Shanghai- things have been a whirl wind of activity, adventure, and heart ache.
It is my penultimate month in the city. And I can’t help but feel like it is the end of a beautiful and slightly obsessive relationship, complete with the stress of separation anxiety. The city has been really good to me, in so many ways it has helped me grow and shape my path into adult life.
There are many things I wish I still had time to do and see, but at the end of the day I have no regrets.
Traveling to India and Egypt gave me a whole new lens to view the city and the country through. It opened up many areas of discussion, mainly comparisons between China and the Middle East, China and India, India and the Middle East, religious nations and non-religious nations, politically active environments and politically non-active environments… the list goes on. But all in all I can’t help but feel that the world is huge, and I know so little…
Today its a rainy spring day, it is cool and grey. I am sitting in a brightly lit internet cafe on DaXue Lu. The floor-to-ceiling french doors are open to the street and I can hear the rain splashing on the flagstones outside, intermixed with the swoosh of the occasional car, and the piano music playing over the stereo system. It’s days like these that I feel reflective, and at peace.
I found this poem online by a blogger, Glym Burridge, it suits the feeling of things~
Ample shade of elm-entwined boulevards
Pardons sprawling lines of cars
Flanked by Shaolin temples & Starbucks
In their steamy, modern marriage
Contours of grand buildings etched in penciled neon
Cause evening’s skyline to gently sizzle
Lighting the smiles of a patient people
Who know the future is theirs
Learn how to manage conflict, because the greater the level you can tolerate, the more freedom you will retain.http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-women-should-embrace-a-good-enough-life/2013/04/18/4b2b086c-a5db-11e2-a8e2-5b98cb59187f_story_3.html
Jannaagraha Orginization for Urban Change in India
I am currently in Bangalore, India. And am looking forward to a tour of the Jannagraha office, this afternoon, based here in Bangalore!
This orginization has created a series of citizen action projects and tools to transform urban life in cities and towns across India. They seek to engage citizens with education materials and improve civic knowledge, and then empower them with tools to actually effect governance. I am deeply impressed with their work to date.
They are tackling issues on a local scalem like fixing potholes - to huge concerns like tackling national corruption by reporting bribes.
1. I PAID A BRIBE http://www.ipaidabribe.com/
2. I CHANGE MY CITY http://www.ichangemycity.com/
The Jannagraha website: http://www.janaagraha.org/civicissue/urban-planning