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    China Bound (hopefully)

    By Arjun Bhat
    Oct 2, '06 1:35 AM EST

    Well, my studio will be headed to China on Friday to conduct some research and make some observations for our Ideal City project. We're headed to Shenzen (right after a 2 day stop in Hong Kong) to speak with local representatives (the details of which I'm still not entirely sure of). So, barring any potential getting-a-visa-in-time troubles that I may encounter (which is a long story, but basically boils down to a case of me vs. a very short time schedule), I'll be in China this time next week. I was having trouble with getting my research strategy nailed down for when I get to Shenzen, so I decided to write down questions about the city as they came to me. But before that, I decided to play a game that one of my studio mates started last week - fill in the blank:

    A city made for _______ is made for success.

    My answers were:
    A city made for interstice is made for success.
    A city made for porosity is made for success.

    How would you fill in the blank?


    • myriam


      Oct 2, 06 2:40 am  · 
      Arnaud M.

      A city made for people is made for sucess.
      A city made for and by its users is made for sucess.

      Oct 2, 06 6:35 am  · 

      great and helpul game arjun

      i second people.

      A city made for memory?
      A city made for decay?
      A city made for godzilla to destroy?
      A city made for vouyerism?
      A city made for mobility?

      Oct 2, 06 7:09 am  · 
      Arnaud M.

      I just noticed the mispelling in success.
      [shame] I apologize [/shame].

      I like godzilla, It would be useful for some cities.

      Oct 2, 06 7:45 am  · 
      Arjun Bhat

      It is a very handy game, q. The credit goes to my classmate for starting it up.

      Oct 2, 06 8:37 am  · 

      3rd people...
      i also like vouyerism...and memory. more subtle, but still quite true of the good cities that I have experienced...

      Shenzhen, however, may not be successful at all. It is incredibly interesting and has much to tell, but it's not especially pleasant for people.

      Oct 2, 06 8:54 am  · 

      although Godzilla would probably love it!

      Oct 2, 06 8:58 am  · 

      what does 'a city made for "people"' mean?

      Oct 2, 06 9:07 am  · 

      and anyway isn't a "city" simply a congregation of people?

      Oct 2, 06 9:09 am  · 
      Arjun Bhat

      Shenzen is for sure not my "ideal city." we're going there because our site is just outside of Shenzen.

      Oct 2, 06 9:15 am  · 

      myriam, the city must have people, but lots of other stuff too. maybe a city made for people is a city where that other stuff is made with human activity as its' primary motivater?

      Oct 2, 06 9:18 am  · 

      I dont know i can argue that cities are increasingly not made for people...

      Oct 2, 06 9:20 am  · 

      but successful cities?

      Oct 2, 06 9:23 am  · 

      To me, a city is simply where people choose to come together and live right next to each other (for whatever reason: trade, culture, water proximity, safety in numbers, etc). The rest of it follows the people. Buildings will be built, infrastructure created, etc. etc. But what good is it all if conversation doesn't happen? If there isn't an exchange of ideas, and communication, instead of just people rubbing shoulders in proximity? So I guess I think a city is already where people are gathered, but a great city is one in which they talk to each other.

      Oct 2, 06 9:27 am  · 

      AP, does the city need to have "lots of other stuff" besides people?

      Oct 2, 06 9:28 am  · 

      I agree with your sentiment about communication.

      but, to answer your question:
      yes. people+

      housing, infrastructure for movement (whether walking, biking...), a network of gathering spaces - spaces of exchange (at the scale of a neighborhood and at the scale of the metropolis)...

      all of this exists in any city. the trouble with some cities is what drives the creation of these things. In Shenzhen, for example, the car was given priority in the creation of movement infrastructure. Bikes are considered, but clearly are secondary...

      Oct 2, 06 9:39 am  · 
      Arnaud M.

      When I said a city made for people, I had in mind the fact that most building aren't specifically-suited to human activities. A city made for people is a city in which buildings, but also other built environments are designed with the users' activities in mind and as pleasant as possible. This is what my thesis topic is leaning towards. You might want to have a look at my blog for more details.

      That also means that interaction is part of a city made for people. Interaction also means conversation.

      Oct 2, 06 10:06 am  · 

      cities are complex patterns that repeat thru time, is part of a collective memory archive, the intensity is adressing the repetition of events, and the complexity the ammount of interelations in between all the elements that form the "memory system" and that from their constant interactions generate what we know as city....

      read if u can EMERGENT SYSTEMS by Steven Johnson
      Oct 2, 06 11:50 am  · 

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