Where is the city going? From urban design to urban living

In the 1960s, Jane Jacobs criticized modernist urbanism from the point of view of the integrated city. For her, the goal of urban renewal is to establish a better integrated relationship between urban space and urban function by repairing the gap between them. Rather than “beautifying” the urban environment.

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Once, in the process of rapid construction, we ignored real daily life on a human body scale and instead gave the city neat, orderly streets and dizzying urban skylines. The focus of the future of urban sustainability should be “people”. From top-down design to bottom-up construction, from urban design to urban living. Based on concrete and realistic daily life, streets and alleys are transformed by precise intervention in public space as part of China’s urban growth, from incremental expansion to inventory optimization. Bring back the hustle and bustle of city life.

Inadvertently, the space outside the buildings covered by the roofs is considered as the rest of the city. Jan Gehl promotes the development of public life as a driving force in urban design in How to Study Public Life and Life Between Buildings. Therefore, respecting the basic order and norms of the city, making full use of the “remaining space”, and revitalizing the city’s public life through “micro-renewal” have all become challenges for contemporary urban design. .

Based on the principle of “micro-updating” on a smaller scale and with less intervention, this intervention finally comes in two forms, “punctual” and “linear”.

Fewer interventions

“Point”, a specific intervention via knots, generally known as Urban Acupuncture. Changing the big city through small-scale interventions. By the direct intervention of a key point, it revitalizes the undesirable urban environment and its surroundings. Similar to the medical system, this intervention will trigger a beneficial chain reaction that will help heal and improve the whole system.

Patch-City Pavilion / ROOI design and research

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© SFAP

Patch-City Pavilion is a cultural revival project for old buildings. The project is located on the foundation of a former primary school in Guangzhou Tianhebei District. ROOI Design used a simple but precise way to intervene. “patch” is the concept achieved by using the shape of a box to abstractly express the city waterfall, enclosing a courtyard-like space. Items in the open box are stacked to form walls, which are also columns and windows that connect the city interface. The trees on the site become natural roofs, and the project fully mobilizes the elements around the site to form a living place. The venue functions as a theater for a showcase of events and emotions, where various public cultural activities could be hosted here. The modular form brings easy reproducibility and can be found in every nook and cranny of the city.

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© SFAP
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© SFAP

Nan Yuan Lv Yun Roof Co-construction Garden / 11ARCHITECTURE

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© Siming Wu

The project is located on the roof of a 6-storey apartment in Chengzhong Village, Nanshan District, Shenzhen. The open roof creates a 450 square meter rooftop garden, including a partially shaded event plaza, surrounded by flower beds and trusses. Rental farms were created and public events were regularly organized to develop the connection between the roof and the urban ground and attract the public. A rooftop public space offers several potential options in a metropolitan city like Shenzhen.

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© Siming Wu
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© Siming Wu

Shajing Old Fair Rejuvenation / ARCity Office

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ruin the aerial view of the garden. Image . Image © XUELIHONG

Shajing Ancient Fair is the largest existing historic district in Shenzhen, the overall style features a very distinctive blend of old and new and a state of multiple symbioses. In order to preserve the historical and cultural values ​​of Shajing Fair and explore a model of urban renewal and regeneration of urban value, ARCity Office has designed a set of landscape/building/interior reconstruction projects. select the most critical sites and intervene lightly to avoid fracturing social structure and spatial texture. This project consists of six groups of renovation and new designs located on both sides of the Longjin River: A. Landscape of the bank of the Longjin River; B. Longjin Water Pavilion; C. Public stage; D. Ruin Garden; E. Gable wall chamber; F. Old House Image Gallery.

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six renovation and new design projects on either side of the river. Image courtesy of ARCity office
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© XUELIHONG

Fill empty space

“Line”, using the remaining linear space typical of the city to create a new sequence of urban facades. Gaps have been caused in the city by areas above and below the viaduct, abandoned railway lines, old streets and other remaining areas. Use it and reuse it, like the High Line in New York, to transform unused space into a driving force for urban public space.

Jinjiang District Yucheng Street Renovation / Fanzhu Design

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urban corridor. Image © Arch-Exist

Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu is the most important shopping complex in Chengdu. The base of the “Yucheng Street” project is located southeast of Taikoo Li, separated by a section of the wall. One side of the wall has been the city’s busiest commercial street, and the other side is made up of old residential neighborhoods and scattered small shops. By updating the facade of the residential building on Yucheng Street, fixing the original street surface, adding part of a temporary structure, and turning the wall into an adhesive tape that connects the old and the new urban environment. The design chooses the landscape nodes according to the texture of the urban architecture and the layout of the roads. To create a welcoming atmosphere with a sense of participation and flexibility, the temporary construction uses prefabricated cabinets and adheres to the ideals of continuity, participation and assembly.

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different view. Image courtesy of Fanzhu Design
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Wall decoration. Image © Arch-Exist

Putuo Caoyang Centennial Park / Atelier Liu Yuyang Architects

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bridge and entrance to the basement in the southern part. Image © Runzi Zhu

The site was nearly a kilometer long, once carrying the branch line of the Zhenru Freight Railway and later the Caoyang Farmers’ Market. It was reprogrammed into a new multi-level, mixed-use, walkable, community-focused park shortly after the market closed in 2019. The special linear site is a residual space typical of megacities. The narrow site expands the space three times through three-dimensional design methods. In the 880-meter-long park, divided into northern and southern parts, 10 scenarios are designed to serve public functions such as gathering, animation, entertainment, leisure, sport, etc.

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North entrance to Caoyang road aerial view. Image © Runzi Zhu
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north play area and art wall. Image © Runzi Zhu

Design and Urban Research of the Old Town of Nantou + Biennial Renovation / URBANUS

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Place Vego. Photo © Chao Zhang

The old town of Nantou, located in the central area of ​​Shenzhen, China, has developed a complex pattern of “urban within a village within an urban”. The design combines the choice of location for the Biennale with an effort to rehabilitate the system of public open spaces sorely lacking in Nantou. From north to south and then east to west, the exhibition space is divided into five groups: a group of factory areas, a group B Cross Street, a group C Nanchengmen, a group of old buildings D, an E Chunjing Street group, etc. The seven overlapping thematic planes of “begin, inherit, turn, combine, gather, open and hide” constitute the spatial narrative of the entire exhibition.

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Design and urban research of the renovation biennial of the old town of Nantou aerial view. Photo © Chao Zhang
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Baode Plaza B3-3 Streets. Photo © Chao Zhang

This article is part of the ArchDaily topics: Cities and Living Trends. Each month we explore a topic in depth through articles, interviews, news and projects. Learn more about our ArchDaily topics. As always, at ArchDaily, we welcome contributions from our readers; if you want to submit an article or a project, contact us.