Urban Edition | Looking Back, Peering Ahead, Four Asian Cities, 10 Years; Are Eco-Cities Ecological?
“The case of rapid urbanisation, scarcity of resources, climate change and thus the need for sustainable development has been made extensively worldwide…” – Judith Ryser
Asian cities are growing fast. Too fast. But we know this already. We also know that the same forces driving the creation of urban wealth are the ones that make city living difficult. The result is urban fragmentation and the widespread destruction of old neighbourhoods. The solution, according to some, is a rethink of how cities are designed.
In this Urban issue, we asked Judith Ryser—an urban expert based in the UK—to probe the idea of an eco-city, to ask hard questions of projects that say they are ecological. She critiques 10 self-professed eco-cities in Asia, based on what they say on paper they will do. Her verdict is not optimistic.
Also, instead of reporting on large projects that adopt the prefix ‘eco’ (except for ones that Ryser discusses), we look at four existing Asian cities—Hong Kong; Ho Chi Minh City; Manila; and Singapore—through the eyes of four experts who live in them. They were asked to describe how and why their city changed in the last decade.
“To excite people to take up sustainability it’s not enough to have highly efficient, low-energy buildings. When people go into places and feel, for many reasons and on many levels, ‘yes, this is how I want to live, and believe we should live’, that’s when sustainability will be embraced with enthusiasm.” We also had a candid conversation with renowned architecture critic and writer Peter Buchanan, and he tells us that in moving forward architecture has to be part of the cultural regeneration that gives people dignity, meaning and a sense of relationship to the world.
For all these and more stories on urbanism, visit www.futurarc.com or purchase a copy of the magazine.