Design Research Studio, Asia

Often the water paradigm in Asian cities was one of (1) integration of different actors, forces, aspects of life and (2) adaptation and a certain degree of accommodation of the forces of nature. Today – in a period of economic liberalization and transition from tradition to modernity – water is often regarded from a singular and dominating perspective (be it political, technical or commercial). As both urbanization and environmental challenges increase, water issues are on the rise while the plural and adaptive manner to deal with them is side-lined in the name single actors or single sector dominance. Today, Vietnamese and Chinese cities are facing incredible challenges. Existing urban cores are far beyond their carrying-capacity and infrastructure provision can simply not keep apace with the rapid urban transformations. 

The objectives of the studio were:

- to speculate on alternative urban morphologies for cities under the pressure of rapid urbanization.

- to address the multi-dimensional, the multi-disciplinary and the territorial/spatial nature of the water issue, in this case flooding and harvesting caused by rapid urbanization and severe environmental changes

- to facilitate interpretative synthesis in terms of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a territory that faces the danger of flooding;

- to bridge the gap between sectors, between disciplines, between knowledge and policy by facilitating the formulation of territory-based strategic programs and projects that are capable to act as integrating devices.

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