PROTOTYPICAL URBANITIES: Towards an Interstitial Ecology
China’s economic boom, combined with migration from the countryside to the cities, is boosting a high-speed urbanism that produces new cities in the shortest imaginable time and is completely changing the faces of the older towns. This directional urbanisation, propelled from within the coastal zones into the countryside, has brought even the smallest villages face to face with the phenomena of globalisation and its foreign capital and generic architecture.
Building upon a body of research established over the past four years of work in this field, LU has maintained its focus on China’s ambitions to build four hundred new cities by the year 2020 — with 12 million people expected to move from rural to urban locations — as the basis for its brief. Far from resisting this development, we have engaged opportunistically with the generation of ‘proto-strategies’ for new large-scale agglomerations as a means of critically addressing the phenomena of mass-produced urban sprawl. Our test-bed for this year has been the urban agglomerations around Beijing metropolitan area.