The 14th edition of the International Forum on Urbanism conference, 25-27 November, is a reflection on and a stepping stone towards resilient urbanism. As many perspectives exist in this field, reflected in studies and practices by scholars, practitioners, policy makers, as well as the daily experiences of people, conflicts in interests and value systems also persist, which call for dialogues between dichotomies of discourses. Nowadays it might not be difficult to have a common definition of urbanism, which is concerned with understanding the spatial organization and dynamics of the built environment and with inventing new ways to maintain spatial quality and equality. However, the world is not yet on the same page about the meaning of resilient and sustainable urbanism, and the ways to approach it. The existing dichotomies of discourses need to be bridged as the challenges cities and regions face now and in the future are enormous, which are affected and determined by unexpected extreme events like the pandemic, economic crisis and climate change.
Chaos”, “organic”, “contested”, “messy” are terms evidently used to describe the nature of Indian cities, as 60-80 % are nearly “unplanned” and “self-constructed”. However, these expressions stand antithetical to modern urban spatial practices of planning and planned development which are embedded in regimes of formality and legality. Many of the larger cities have some form of a Master Plan to anticipate its urban development and civic infrastructure. Despite their Master Plans, they are largely seen as “unplanned”. What implications do plans have, then, on the inherent form and the self-evident nature of Indian cities? The paper looks at the case of the capital city Delhi, which is in the process of visioning its future for the next 20 years through its ongoing Master Planning process. By 2041, the population of the city is expected to reach the 30 million mark, struggling with growing housing shortage, disparate urban expansion, growing pollution levels, job-loss growth. Bahn (2013) describes this “chaos that is urban development” as a consequence of planning. It is with these casualties of development, that this paper concerns itself. In that case, the paper demonstrates the learnings from the use of the interactive toolkit, ‘Kaun hai Master? Kya hai Plan?’ ( ‘Who is the Master? What is the Plan?’) which was used as a template to discuss planning processes and encourage citizens to become a part of the conversation on future plans for the city. The toolkit was designed as a part of the Main Bhi Dilli (‘I am Delhi too’) campaign, a civic society campaign in Delhi formed to inclusively reimagine the Master Plan 2041, of which the author is also a part. Premised on the key takeaways from workshops along with ethnographic study in the form of oral stories, and key policy documents, the paper discusses five narratives around the state of housing, basic services, livelihoods, public infrastructure and public transport. These stories are particular but also emblematic as they depict both the urban condition as well as the social and economic dimensions of the citizens. By telling these, the paper attempts to address the gap between the final rhetoric of the Master Plan and the dynamic reality of people and its urban condition, using bottom-up planning approaches.
Abstract: The cities of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) have been experiencing an unprecedented urban expansion for the past four decades, leading to emergence of one of the most populous and dynamic urban regions. However, these rapidly expanding cities located in a low-lying delta area also face increasing flood risk due to a combination of anthropogenic and natural factors. We use the concept of boundary spanning in combination with an institutionalist perspective to shed light on the barriers and opportunities for development of adaptive capacity in the face of that risk in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. As recognised in the flood risk management literature, such boundary spanning is necessary to effectively address the challenge of spatial adaptation to the growing flood risk, as it entails, for instance collaborating between policy sectors (horizontal boundaries), across levels of government (vertical boundaries) and between short-term and long-term planning agendas (temporal boundaries). Through the prism of institutions (e.g. planning system), ideas (e.g. dominant values in planning) and interests (e.g. rational choice-driven strategic behaviour of the actors involved), we assess how contextual institutional and cultural factors matter for the ability of those cities to address the growing flood risk in the face of climate change. The study builds on analysis of spatial planning and flood risk management policy documents, interviews with practitioners and experts, and site visits. Our findings show that due to institutional lock-ins and conflicting policy goals, horizontal boundary spanning remains hindered in both cases, despite emerging policy innovations, such as the Sponge City Plan in Guangzhou or the rollout of multi-functional and Nature-Based Solutions in Hong Kong. The responsibilities of institutions in both cities remain blurred, ‘planning for growth’ ignores flood and climate risk issues, and urban expansion into vulnerable areas continues. Important differences, however, exist in terms of vertical boundary spanning, pointing to different policy implications for each of the two cities. Wordcount: 3223
Research highlights 1) The paper discusses a perspective for analyzing urban transitions of modern China. 2) The perspective focuses on the reconciliation process of bottom-up public needs and top-down politico-economic goals, and the process can be partially observed through the transformation of local economic organizations. 3) The perspective helps to understand how a particular city region has adapted to past transitions, which may help the city region in adapting to new development paradigms.
This paper compares eco-sanitation interventions in Hong Kong, Berlin, and Brussels by applying a structurally extended SWOT matrix for evaluating their transformative relations and capabilities in their respective contexts. The enablers and barriers underlying these human waste cycling communities are assessed by combining qualitative-quantitative data collection and multiform analysis. By complementing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis with the emergent framework of Ideas-Arrangement-Effects (I-A-T), the study assesses the explorative potential manifested in these cases. The eco-toilet communities address unsustainable food systems by acting in concert with people, places, and microbes in a profoundly self-implicating process that stems from an oscillation between actionable immersion and perspectival detachment. This dynamic creates a reflexive conduit for counter-intuitive doing and thinking that diversifies dominant and hegemonic perspectives. The three cases demonstrate how cultivating a rich, interactive context on the physical, social, and psychological levels is conducive to the suspense and exchange of positions and a plurality of perspectives on the world, both human and nonhuman. Community acceptance and individual satisfaction with urban eco-toilets stems from balancing this unsettling repositioning with supportive involvement, whereas disrupting bathroom routines, group debates, and agroecological experimentation makes people act in better-attuned relations with unknowable otherness.
Peri-urban landscapes present a growing challenge for urban planners. Vast territories that comprise high population densities but few clear centralities erode the epistemological integrity of popular planning models. Meanwhile, as in situ urban-industrial development and top-down planned infrastructures transform these intricate landscapes, both the conceptual and practical challenges augment. Here, geospatial data can provide valuable insights. Network analyses can visualise the transformations within the peri-urban morphology. However, common ‘unweighted’ network graphs don’t reflect operational realities on the ground and thus fail to inform planning strategies. This paper explores combining distance and travel speeds to develop a ‘time-weighted' network model of the desakotas of Central Java. A one-hour travel boundary is introduced to demarcate the study area. Inadvertently, this reveals a regional loop that follows the expanding highway system, which suggests a limited efficacy of toll road developments. In response, this model lays the groundwork to evaluate a typical planning scenario: to build, or not to build a new toll road. The paper concludes that, the complexity of the impact on local communities, landscapes, and the regional ‘accessibility profile’ demands multi-scalar, multifaceted impact analyses to apprise strategic planning.
This article presents, in a resumed form, our preliminary analysis on the evolutionary framework for new types of intersections, dialogues, and conflicts between urban administrations and civic movements in Portugal. The analysis is based on a conceptual classification spectrum for the characterization and influence of urban movements; and concomitantly on two case studies developed around urban requalification processes in two central public spaces in the cities of Lisbon – the Martim Moniz Square – and Aveiro – the Rossio Garden. In these cases, the conflicts and the interconnections between local authorities and social movements have been evolving through very interesting forms. Expressing not only relevant changes occurring on urban civic movements themselves, but also an inevitable – although still quite limited and visibly thwarted political culture – reconfiguration on urban governments and its administration.
Climate change has been a rising issue with a persisting global warming. In Glassgow 2021, Cop26 has aimed at 1.5° within reach through adaptation, mitigation, finance and collaboration. Global sea-level rise (GSLR) endangers coastal cities with the increase of 0.3 m in sea level annually in different regions. In the realm of adaptation, a pragmatic intervention and smart nature-based solutions (NBS) is to adapt to change. Studying Coastal regions contours and simulating a GSLR can track channels to adapt to this change and benefit it to support blue infrastructure (BI). Green life sustains natural ecosystems in-tangent with built environment which requires BI to maintain its livability. Branching water through channels to artificial lake is a NBS to react to GSLR instead of resisting it. GIS analytical tools and 3D simulation platform traces low-elevation coastal zones to adopt this strategy. BI branching is a parametric solution by replacing water spread on surface while endangering on-land life with orienting the increase in water to artificial blue features through water streams. This strategy promotes aquatic ecosystem life and expand it to remote areas while enriching urban comfort. Change is the notion on which life on earth evolutes or else we will still be living in the dinosaurs’ era. Eventually, an adaptive geographic metamorphosis occurs to adapt rather than resist change through BI Transfiguration.
Through a visual exploration of the Rio de la Plata’s littoral zone in Buenos Aires, the project seeks to reframe the ecological and aesthetic significance of the post-natural shoreline. The aim is to bring into focus the small-scale ecosystems at stake in the large-scale destruction of River Basin ecologies, exploring the liminal littoral where hybrid ecosystems flourish. The method consists of the study of visual documents from the shoreline that enable new ways of seeing the amphibious territories we live in. The muddy, shallow shore in Buenos Aires has always presented a problem for urban planning. Deemed unattractive and featureless in conventional terms, it has been severely undervalued as both a fragile ecosystem and waterfront. The built environment has been superimposed on top of an artificial sealed surface, and the native flora and fauna has been suppressed and controlled. The identity of the autochthonous landscape has largely been lost and the city’s inhabitants never really come into contact with the wetlands. The shoreline is a valuable urban commons that supports an ever-shifting, intricate system that thrives as a forgotten margin of the city. This research focuses on the urban shoreline, understanding it as a political subject and space in conflict, and in need of new approaches to urban practices.
The current paper presents a tool able to achieve sustainable landscapes, meaning that the final product is the intertwining of design processes instead of arriving at a predetermined final form which is unfolded with the systems found in place. Spatial explorations are realised under the methodological umbrella of Research through Design, where the territory is analysed, synthetized, and evaluated through creative manners. This results in the exploration of geographical, cultural, and social dimensions in the form of mapping and designing transformative models. The aim of this research paper is to explore the idea of site specificity as a design tool to achieve sustainability in social-ecological systems, which claims the capacities of resilience and adaptation as its essential components. The emergence of proposing this project in Lambayeque, Peru arises from the need to mitigate the ravages caused by natural disasters, where flooding wreaks havoc resulting in the loss of productive land and critical infrastructure, as well as devastated towns, affecting mostly vulnerable population. The result is the capacity of natures – with a certain degree of manipulation – to become the stitching element throughout a dispersed territory in the form of green and blue networks running across the region, as part of sustainable urban water landscapes.
After four decades of fierce urban growth driven by economic development, China recently adopted a ‘three red lines’ policy to protect its permanent farmland, vital ecosystems, and to contain urban expansion. To delineate urban growth boundaries (UGBs), current methods all employ quantitative land-use suitability indicators to define a compromise between competing spatial claims. However, ignoring site characteristics and underpinned by an increasingly dualistic conception of the urban and the rural realms, these methods often result in divisive UGBs devoid of any spatial quality. This paper explores how UGBs, rather than passive borders, can be designed as context-responsive and integrative urban-rural interfaces. A brief description of the urban growth phenomenon and the authorities’ responses at the national level is followed by more specific investigations in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region. Six representative urban-rural edges are examined in terms of historical development, planning, policies, current challenges, and opportunities. Based on the analysis, alternative design strategies are proposed to refine the definition of UGBs from a perspective of spatial quality and programmatic innovation. A final part discusses how the design explorations in the YRD can be systematized as a qualitative context-responsive method for UGB planning in China.