Related Staff : Natalia Echeverri
Students: DUAN Yu Vicky; LAM Sau Chin Michelle; TAN Qian Sissi; TANG Yang Tony
This thesis will consider the possibilities of the “urban / landscape misfit” in the context of the contemporary Asian city. In the last four decades, rapid urbanization, massive scales of investment, and weak development controls, have led to landscape of fragments and discontinuities. In this context, traditional concepts of viewing the city and practices of landscape and planning have become simplistic and outdated given the scale, speed and agents of development in these places. Reaching beyond urban design, these new realities will require a trans-disciplinary approach drawing from practices in the parallel fields of, architecture, landscape architecture, ecology, urban planning, and engineering. The contested space of the “misfit” become the opportunity to reexamine issues of scale, landscape, and space in the city and to expand notions of the modern urban ‘fabric’. As defined in the Oxford English Dictionary, a misfit is “a person whose behavior or attitude sets them apart from others in an uncomfortably conspicuous way”. Individual thesis projects will explore the concept of misfit as it might apply to the urban and landscape environment. Although the term, when applied in a sociological context, has a negative connotation, one could also argue that a culture is defined by its misfits. Similarly, a vibrant city might also be defined by its misfitting urban pieces; landscapes might be defined by their extremes of diversity, by their invasives. Rural to urban transformation has left ecological misfits where towering developments sit adjacent to small-scale farmland and fishing ponds. Urban villages, widespread in cities of Dongguan, are a form of Political and Economic misfit, where legal status and land ownership laws mismatched with the scales and infrastructures of the modern Chinese city. Students in this thesis track will find their own examples of the urban / landscape misfit as they explore not only ways of ‘fitting’ appropriately, but also the productive aspects of being conspicuously unfit.