With the impending demise of modernist planning, the footprints and corpses of failed modernist visions are littered everywhere. A vacuum of implementable urban theories has occurred at the time when unprecedented expansion and restructuring of cities in rapidly developing economies are taking place. In this collection of essays, William S W Lim zeroes in on the peculiarities and dynamics of present Asian urban and architectural conditions in order to challenge and transcend the socio-ecological forms and political influences generated by the current system of global capitalism.Part I of this book consists of the main essay, which attempts to establish baselines for an effective formulation of ethical urbanism in Asia, by clarifying issues that have previously been unquestioningly bound up with Western values and discourses. As an architect/urbanist, Lim lends a determinedly spatialist and environmental perspective to issues such as rights, ethics, happiness and social justice, while compelling his readers to rethink previously established notions about them.Part II of this book consists of three city studies on Hanoi, Shanghai and Singapore, completed in the last two years, which attempt to match Lim's theoretical formulation with actual conditions occurring in Asia today. Also included is “Asian Architecture in the New Millennium”, a fascinating discourse on contemporary design conducted from a postmodern perspective.
Foreword by Leon van SchaikIncomplete Urbanism is a dynamic, hybrid interactive concept, which destabilizes the current architectural and urban theories and practices. Its main characteristics are indeterminacy, inconsistency and changeability, which are particularly challenging in the context of the New World Order and the fast emerging global digital network. It is a concept that can be effectively applied to any sizeable section of existing cities without the need for major readjustments and can be implemented at different rates in response to specific local conditions. As for the word ‘critical’, I use it deliberately in order to convey the essential need to think creatively and positively in a controversial contesting and social-orientated manner about what we do, as it will constructively influence the way we do things that impact our values and social environment.
Asian Alterity is an interdisciplinary theoretical analysis that vigorously contests the homogeneity of the mainstream Eurocentric values. Part I argues for the need for an alternate perspective to be introduced so as to understand the diversity of Asia's cultural differences at their varied development stages and to meet the complex challenges of the explosive urban expansion and disruptive changes in traditional cultures and lifestyles.Part II of the book consists of nine case studies of Asian major urban cities by well-established academic writers and urban theorists. Each author presents diverse aspects of urban dynamism. The case studies will collectively demonstrate a broad framework to understand the essentiality of the interdisciplinary mode of Cultural Studies as an important lens towards meeting the challenges in Asian Architecture and Urbanism.Highlights of the book:
Over the past few decades, rapid urbanisation has threatened to erode public space, especially in emerging economies. Market forces that prioritise profit generation are allowed to construct venues of consumption in its place. Though their physical appearance may resemble traditional public space, in reality, they are greatly restrictive and diminished in affordability, accessibility and social meaning. It is in this context that William SW Lim, chairman of Asian Urban Lab, has brought together architects, designers, historians, sociologists and urbanists from the region to discuss public space in selected Asian cities.Part One contains essays from participants from Chongqing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Taipei and observations from commentators. Several essays by William SW Lim on the subject round off the discussion in Part Two. The thoughtful essays in Public Space in Urban Asia emphasise how engaging with the present actuality of cities and public awareness of spatial justice in cities are crucial — for it is the achievement of spatial justice that will help create a greater level of happiness across societies in our increasingly urbanised world.