Dynamic City Foundation



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The Chinese Dream - a society under construction

In 2003 Neville Mars founded the The Dynamic City Foundation (DCF) 动态城市基金会 ; a research and design institute focused on the rapid transformations of China's urban landscape. The conceptual underpinning of his work is based on the notion of urban growth as essentially evolutionary. This concept is described in his book on Chinese urbanization titled The Chinese Dream - a society under construction (010 Publishers, Mars and Hornsby, Rotterdam 2008). Since publication Mars has developed a number of sustainable urban plans for cities in China.

The DCF has been invited by the Dutch Government to organize a multidisciplinary research project to be presented at the Shanghai World Expo 2010. The BARC project works with 5 Dutch and 5 Chinese renowned design firms to produce an integrated sustainable vision for the city of Caofeidian in Hebei. See http://burb.tv/view/B.A.R.C.


The Dynamic City Foundation is an international research and design platform investigating the rapidly changing urban environment of China.

The DCF office is based in Beijing where it has developed the Urban China 2020 project since 2004. The goal of the project is in-depth study of what the outcome of China's flash-urbanization might be and how designers can respond to this process. The objective to build four hundred new cities by the year 2020, as formulated by the former Chinese Minister of Civil Affairs, provides this project with its research framework and its name: Urban China 2020. Central question is how to benefit from the dynamic forces at hand? The result is the book The Chinese Dream - a society under construction (010 Publishers, July 2008). For an illustrated introduction download a pdf of excerpted pages. Office address and DCF contact details here.

In a multidisciplinary team of sociologists, planners and designers the DCF does research and develops a catalog of design prototypes suitable for the increasingly market-driven conditions of the PR-China. Goal is to achieve strong cities in a clearly defined network by the year 2020 (sketch on the right). The work is presented in the form of models, workshops and [videos ]. In addition a number of descriptive essay will be produced. The results have been presented in exhibitions in China and Europe (Millennium Museum, Beijing; Guangzhou Triennial; DIAF international art festival, Beijing, Trace de Chine, Paris; Architects in Booming China, Amsterdam). The Urban China 2020 research results are published in this portal on which offers a global stage for discussion feedback on the urbanization of China. In addition all dynamic media such as movie clips, sound and the DCF image database is available.
dynamic density
The DCF has used the magnitude of the Chinese objective to its advantage and treat it as the starting point for a new design and planning strategy; Dynamic Density. This strategy aims to tackle sprawl and increase compactness over time; compactness not merely as a way to achieve efficiency and sustainability, but as a social necessity for the future of cities. The strategy acknowledges that density in the contemporary metropolis is subject to constant change. Dynamic Density is developed as an integrated strategy from a regional planning perspective to the architectural scale - further reading on Dynamic Density.

Initial research premise
The pace and scale of China’s transformation makes it almost unapproachable; existing tools and strategies have become hopelessly ineffective. From a planner’s perspective of regulation and conciliation such turbulent urban dynamics are alien and its ingredients precarious. Still in 2003 a project has been formulated that aims to map and respond to the landscape that is emerging in China. Urban China 2020 is the interdisciplinary research project initiated by the Dynamic City Foundation. Its only framework is the massive urbanization that still has to take place the coming decades. It scale is best illustrated by a proposal put forward in 2001 by the former Minister of Civil affairs that stated the goal to build 400 new cities by the year 2020.

Though no longer an official objective as many as 400 million to 1 billion farmers will, anticipated or not, arrange their lives in an urban fashion. This amounts to as much new urban space as 400 large cities, or indeed an entirely new urban continent. How this process will unfold is undetermined.
evolution of network of Chinese - CLICK twice to see the growth scenario from fortified, to sprawled back to compact.

The social divide between city and countryside is nowhere more clearly delineated than in China. Throughout history the two conditions have coexisted as parallel worlds dependent on each other. Even the farmers’ revolution did not bring these worlds together; indeed the communist era has delivered an almost insurmountable gap between peasants and urbanites. The spatial distinction between countryside and city, between rural and urban is steadily lost. The fringe of the cities is rapidly expanding and turning all but a few areas in partly urbanized regions. This century is promised to bring affluence to a new urban middle class and it will bring an urban lifestyle to a growing rural population. The rural reform is taken place against all odds, beyond the control of planners and policy makers. Halfway from primary to secondary economy, from farmland to the factory floor the urbanizing migrant is left to live in barracks reminiscent of the most primitive dormitories of the communist era. The signs of a shift towards an advanced society are omnipresent.

The project aims to shed light on the spatial impact and obstacles China’s urbanization will generate. The different angles in the book aim to render a picture of the future of urban China. The format is a scrapbook, a collective of ideas and observations; partly analytical, partly descriptive, sometimes scientific other times intuitive. It illustrates that the formation of 400 new cities albeit unregulated is already taking place. Indeed one mega-city of over 400 million inhabitants can be distinguished. This website and the ensuing book rather than achieving a finite conclusion it aims to present the relationship between a multitude of concepts that contribute to the vision for the year 2020.

3345 3346 3347
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Specializing in design research of green solutions for fast changing urban environments, the Dynamic City Foundation manifests its findings in a range of [media ] form publications to buildings to large artistic interventions. It dismantles long-term observations, spatial concepts, urban theory, and ideas along all lines to create tangible works of art. DCF is uniquely future-focused, and scientific about its imaginings at a time when closed-circuit televisions patrol streets, where deterritorialized space extends beyond nationhood, and in which urban sprawl spills beyond borders, requiring cultural, physical, and virtual space to be woven together densely as a synthetic mesh. Regarding Chinese cities not only as enormous, chaotic organisms, but as laboratories for global forces, DCF provides refreshing insights in an era of dangerous flash urbanization, in which there is no time to imagine a long-term future.

Past DCF exhibitions have included: FREEZE, a futuristic Noah’s Ark of ideas that forces the observer to imagine the world as it is today, in terms of flow and movement, beyond physical and political boundaries; Neon Dream, an animated city on a blinding neon wall, surrounding The Chinese Knot, a beguiling mass of highways tangled about China's Forbidden City; the multimedia model Beijing Boom Tower, accommodating all Chinese society in a single megablock; the interactive installation Beijing Real Time, allowing users to play a strategic game with Beijing’s sprawl over a Ming Dynasty table, and Golden Inflation, a luminous landscape of solid gold rendered in the form of inflatable golden mountains, exploring the nature of commerce, dreams, and the ineffable. DCF also guest edited #35 of Urban China Magazine and published its own BURB Magazine, a publication from the future that documents urban, political, and cultural issues in the year 2020 with a cynical wink to China's present.

Concerning one of the most rapidly growing countries in the world, DCF’s interventions thread together architectural, cultural, and political space by rejecting traditional boundaries. The installations are frequently larger than life, combining models, videos and interactive components demanding the participation of the audience. Simultaneously they challenge issues of generic space, personal space, identity, political interventions, notions of density, identity, social sustainability, reality, and what it means to live in a world of uncontrollable urban growth. Attuned to the new Chinese social condition, its conceptions are at once radical and welcoming, utopian and dystopian, obsessively detailed, and serious about the fantastical.


BURB 2: expanding as fast as the city ~ 和城市发展的一样快!

The speed of transformation demands a flexible and dynamic medium. This portal will publish the open-source research in annual installments or BURBs. The first BURB - the Chinese Dream is just completed and here available. For 2007 our new BURB just opened for contributions Super Satellites, the research of China's mushrooming new towns, their design, success and problems. Can an entirely new city really be engineered successfully?



动态城市基金会 (DCF)



在一个拥有社会学家、城市规划师以及建筑设计师们等众多不同专业的成员的小组里,DCF制定了一个设计原型的目录,用以适应中国日益增长的由市场推动的社会环境。该目的就在于,到2020年,使中国的城市在一个明确定义的网络里发展强大。整个计划会通过模型、车间和视频的形势来展现。 额外地,还会有一些叙述性的文章。 这些成果已经在中国和欧洲的展览中展示过了。 中国城市2020研究结果通过这种方式来公开,这种方式为中国城市化的讨论反馈提供了一个全球性的阶梯。而且,所有的动态媒介,比如视频剪辑,声音和DCF图片文件都在此被提供。

中国的发展目标是强大的,DCF把这种能量作为一种优势来对待,正是一个新的设立和规划策略的起点:活力密度。这一策略制旨在解决城市蔓延和提高城市耐久的简洁度;简洁度不仅仅作为取得高效率和持久性的方法,而且也是一个社会对于城市未来的必然性。 关于现代大都市密度的策略知识是一连续变革为条件的。它是作为一个综合的从地区发展远景到建筑等级的策略。







Owned by neville mars / Added by neville mars / 6.6 years ago / 66164 hits / 9 hours view time



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