Introduction draft 2

Chapter 0. Introduction

How to read A Manifesto of Mistakes.

Planning is like light itself. It exists somewhere between solid and the amorphous, the particle and the wave. It is the dialectic between concrete and community that defines our field. We must go back and forth between the two to build an environment that meets our most basic needs

As a discipline, planning has become incredibly sophisticated in regards to the kind of tools we now have at our disposal. GIS, demographic mapping etc… [fill in this part]
In contexts of slow and incremental change, these can be effective in predicting the appropriate development in response to the needs of the local community. Our focus, however, is on China and India who fall into an altogether new context in which these models do not apply.

China and India are experiencing economic growth and urbanization that is occurring at such a pace and scale that it constantly outpaces urban theory and modelling. The experiences and contexts of both countries are mirrored in many ways. India, the world’s largest democracy, is dominated by informal developments. In Mumbai, it is estimated that up to 75% of people live in slums. This context is widely recognised as having one of the most bottom-up thrusts of organic growth. China, on the other hand, the world’s most populous nation, is popularly characterised by top-down chains of command and great central control over development. [even china exhibits organic bottom-up thrust? Or do I leave that for the next chapter?]
Together, they form a contiguous mass of the most densely populated land in the world - one in two people living on earth call this land home?...[find stats??]
The reality of jobs/planning culture in these contexts is that projects are BIG.

Enter sustainability:
The scale of development in both countries in has made the transition to ecocity-living more urgent than ever before. The path of these two giants will have far-reaching global impacts, especially in regards to climate change, food and water.
However, the speed and scale of
For example, in The Chinese Dream, we explored some of the many contradictions that have emerged between China’s ambitions for sustainable urbanism and the current reality of Chinese cities. The starkest example of this divergence came from an analysis of China’s ambition to build 400 new cities of one million people each. Rather, what they have ended up with is one vast urban landscape that is home to 400 million people.
China’s focus has since changed to ecocity-building. They want to build 100 ecocities but have no model. Notions of urban sustainability don’t hold up precisely where they’re most needed.
In working towards ambitions of sustainable urban life both China and India are confronted by three critical questions: How to be holistic? How to be long-term (in the face of short-term investment cycles)? How to be locally informed (or how to remain connected to the local context)? The Manifesto of Mistakes explores each of these through our three chapters. The nature of these as “how to” questions signals the intentions of this manifesto to be something of a practical guide… we are attempting to approach this issue from the standpoint of pragmatism. Research must continue but solutions must be attempted starting now. There is, as always, some room for trial and error in our movement towards the ecocity. Critical to our success however will be our ability to do two key thing. First we must remain humble in recognising our errors and, second, we must remain open to trying new approaches as new research and technologies develop. The path to sustainability will not be an easy one but it promises a far higher quality of life than the business-as-usual projections…?

Posted by Jessica Noyes / 9.5 years ago / 6755 hits