Deconstructing the Superblock: Universal Solutions vs. Cultural Specificity in Chinese Urban Planning

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Creator: 

Gajer, Steven

Date: 

2015

Abstract: 

Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, an unprecedented 300 million Chinese have migrated to cities. As a means of responding to this immense growth, urban development has generally taken the form of repetitive towers corralled into gated superblocks that are separated by wide, arterial streets. This approach to planning has a long history in China. Rooted in cultural values which are uniquely Chinese, it stands in contrast to traditional Western patterns of urbanization that emphasize the individual. Nonetheless, Reform Era tower ensembles have been criticized for being homogeneous, car-centric, and lacking human scale – problems that may threaten their long-term sustainability. Attempts to apply Western precepts to the reinvention of the Chinese superblock frequently do not take into account particularities of the Chinese context. This thesis explores an adapted approach to urban development that is informed by the Western experience while remaining rooted in China's urban traditions.

Subject: 

Architecture
Urban and Regional Planning
Geography

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Architecture: 
M.Arch.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Architecture

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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