Metropolis Magazine Review of deCoding Asian Urbanism

February 25, 2022

The burgeoning Asian megalopolis confronts a paradox that, increasingly, afflicts older, Western cities whose roots in the pre-automotive age, though frayed, still offer, in Hannah Arendt’s famous phrase, “a space of human appearance.” The demands of hyper-capitalism and global corporate wealth dictate a new urban form, designed essentially as landing pads for an international elite. Farooq Ameen, deCoding’s editor, curator, and founding principal at City Design Studio, notes that they feature “airports, hotels, malls, business parks and factories, gated skyscraper ‘communities’ and office towers, dotted with virtuoso architecture” as the marker for arriviste economies controlled largely by totalitarian governments. …….. Against this placelessness is pitted the vitality of the vernacular, the dynamism of the dispossessed, whose lives are built around historical memory, cultural avowal, the immediacy of personal encounter. ………  

 There are no easy answers to reform—literally—what the Indian architect Charles Correa noted 30 years ago was “a brutal mismatch between the form of our cities and the way we use them.” Yet, refashioning Asian cities is a more urgent task than ever before if they—and many other developing cities, some lodged within the so-called First World—are to become something more than models of the dislocation imposed by the exportation of wealth from the periphery to the centers of finance capital……….

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