ArchDaily Review of deCoding Asian Urbanism

March 3, 2022

As is obvious to anyone with even a passing interest in demographics, cities are becoming denser—much denser. Rural life continues its steady emptying-out as urban life accelerates its explosive filling-in. The tilt has been apparent at least since the middle of the last century when the French geographer Jean Gottmann invented the word “megalopolis” to describe the continuous urbanization from Boston to Washington, D.C., then containing one-fifth of the United States’ population. But nowhere has the shift from countryside to city been more dramatic than in present-day Asia.

The rise of Asian cities has been meteoric, in ways catastrophic, in ways exquisite, and in every instance bigger, denser, and taller than their western counterparts. This reality is the subject of a new book (published by the A+D Museum and Harvard South Asia Institute) and exhibition ……

The deCoding Asian Urbanism exhibition is a sequence of discrete rooms, beginning with a world map depicting relative city densities, and ending with a scrolling video display of bar graphs showing the growth of cities over time, from 1500 to 2100—a devastating flash of numbers that summarize the rise and fall of empires and the concomitant rise and fall of cities. Between these two data sets, one is immersed in moving images of intensive street life in Asia, filmed and edited into flowing kaleidoscopes……

 Excerpt from the reviews by Greg Goldin in Arch Daily. Read the full article here.