Related Staff : Natalia Echeverri
Students: CAI Xinya Sunny; CAI Wenwen Yuki; WU Yuewei Yuvi
The urbanization of the world is a kind of exteriorization of the inside as well as interiorization of the outside: the urban unfolds into the countryside just as the countryside folds back into the city. … Yet the fault-lines between these two worlds aren’t defined by any simple urban-rural divide, nor by anything North-South; instead, centers and peripheries are immanent within the accumulation of capital itself… -Merifield (2011) as quoted by Brenner, N., & Schmid, C. (2014). The ‘Urban Age’ in question. International journal of urban and regional research, 38(3), 731-755. Rapid urbanization occurring in Asian cities over the last four decades has left a unique and expansive set of urban conditions that challenge traditional notions of the city and its hinterland. Urban development today extends well beyond core municipal boundaries in a dynamic landscape that, free of traditional planning restrictions, is driven instead by economic, political, social, demographic and ecological flux. Described variously as urban-rural fringe, peri-urban, or urban hinterland, these peripheral urbanized landscapes contain a spectrum of rural and urban land uses, assorted building morphologies and fragmented scales, and diverse economic networks. Due to their liminal condition-not fully urban but not at all rural, densely populated but frequently containing productive landscapes–these areas are frequently ignored by urban core-centric policies, plans, and development services. Likewise, their potential social and ecological services are usually overlooked as planners seeking to soften the negative effects of urbanization. This thesis track will seek to bring these peripheral landscapes to the fore by developing frameworks that conceptualize their hybrid conditions. Students will start by defining an urban fringe and understanding it’s spatial identity. Designs will ultimately project these conditions of settlement, infrastructure, and ecology onto the larger urban system to develop new imaginaries about nature and the city. Can we learn from these hybrid conditions and speculate on how they can be applied elsewhere? Can the urban rural fringe become a mechanism that allow for urbanization in a more sustainable way? Can we find an identity to these fringe landscapes? Ultimately, students must also consider the medium of representation itself to grapple with the imagery of design/ research in a pre-professional, post-digital context.