MØM - text outline


Cover - End of the city -> Objective lens for a new urban fabric
Flyleaf - Asia introduces new Urban-Rural-Industrial hybrid
Preface - [Pg6] What happened in 10 years? - Reverse Urbanization - Thesis - How to Read
Pg7 - [Pg7] The Chinese Dream
Pg8 - [Pg8] Clusters > 250M
Pg9 - [Pg9] Urban Bubbles
Pg10 - [Pg10] The Middle Kingdom
Pg11 - [Pg18] People {PUC}
Pg12 - [Pg11] Urban Field / Total population / Total surface
Pg13 - [Pg12] Urban Expansion / Concentration is de facto happening - 2.5% GDP Growth
Pg14 - [Pg13] Cluster Theory
Pg15 - [Pg14] Conceptual Shift
Pg16 - [Pg15+diagram from 42] Complexity of Dynamic Landscape
Pg17 - [Pg16] Planned new cities -> Mega urban field
Pg18 - [Pg17} Contiguous area size of France, density of xxx

Central Arguments / Thesis MØM

Asia has produced a hybrid rural-urban space typology which challenges conventional understandings and has rendered useless the traditional tools of urban planning. The networks, formalized in concrete and referred to as cities, are often misunderstood as their form, and not truly as systems of connectivity. In Asia, the growing gap between urban theory and practice has left planning floundering without the tools to effectively plan healthy new cityscape; as such Manifesto of Mistakes repositions planning as a mediator in the continuous clash of top-down forces and bottom-up urbanism. MØM introduces an evolutionary approach to upgrading, densifying, and diversifying Asia’s established cities and urban landscapes, demanding a move away from new town planning; simply put, a moratorium on new cities and outward expansion. MØM constructs a theoretical framework for sustainable planning, based on fostering urban experimentation across scales; MØM is an end to manifestos for a discipline in its infancy.


Pg6 {Pg6}

The past decade has been a tumultuous time in Chinese urban history. There have been dramatic transitions in the Chinese landscape as cities grew and urbanization flourished. There has been massive amounts of migration to the cities, and interestingly a rising tide of return to smaller towns and villages. The 12th Five Year Plan called for a more harmonious society, while the 13th Five Year Plan shifts more focus to sustainability.

MØM is comprised of two sections: Chinese urban theory, and supporting case studies. Urban theory is broken into modules, each introducing a powerful idea.

MØM demands an end to manifestos. As such, the concepts with which we are working are flawed and always will be. No module is complete. And yet, we must attempt to understand our urban reality, so we struggle with powerful ideas, fully understanding that they are all fluid and that there are no definites, especially in policy and planning.

The Chinese Dream

Pg7 {Pg7}

Mars' previous book, published a decade ago, was titled "The Chinese Dream", the same title as the 2010 12th Five Year Plan. This coincidence might be traced through a rather short route from an interview with Mars.
headshots of reporters tracing "The Chinese Dream"

Global Clusters

Pg8 {Pg8}

It is their roughness that makes megaclusters a powerful concept, alluding to a potent urban reality without rigid delineations

This map uses global flight patterns and international maritime traffic to show the interconnectedness that comprises our planetary urban networks. These networks influence the daily lives of almost of all of the world’s billions of people and are far reaching, complex, international systems allowing for the flows of people, ideas, and capital. At the global scale, there are regions where these networks tighten and coalesce into megaclusters. In 2015, there were a mere five concentrations of population which exceeded 250 million people. These megaclusters are clearly visible through NASA’s classic light emission rendering of the globe. Over the coming years, the number of global megaclusters will increase. In 2008, it was pronounced that half the world has been tallied as living in cities. However, this statistic is completely dependent on a multitude of arbitrary ways of defining cities. In their simplicity, these blurry global megaclusters, are perhaps more revealing, as by our rough estimation, about half the world’s population in 2015 now lives within their many nodes. It is precisely this roughness that makes megaclusters a powerful concept, alluding to a potent urban reality without rigid delineations.

  • Data from Population Reference Bureau, American Community Survey, NASA


historically urban formations have followed the most fertile land ... which now means these two programs are competing for the same space ... threatening global food security ... etc.

Urban Populations

Pg9 {Pg9}

The lower levels of “urbanization” in fact suggest a that a different process is occurring in Asia, especially in China, India, and Indonesia: urbanization will encompass the rise of a hybrid rural-urban space typology.

Many parts of the world are rapidly approaching very high levels of urbanization. The now classic adage holds that 50% of the world’s population lived in urban areas in 2008. While this assertion is rather flawed, it is worth nothing that as per usual, the great exception is Asia. Even most parts of Africa are expected to experience higher rates of traditional models of urbanization. The population of China and India is expected to peak or at least stabilize around 2030, yet urbanization is expected to remain at a lower level than many other industrial economies, lingering somewhere between 50-70% around 2050, but may never exceed those percentages.

Of course “urbanized” can never have an accurate definition. However, we still choose to engage with these numbers as a point of reference, in order to be able to discuss the changes that are taking place. While proportionally, Asia will not experience the same level of urbanization, in absolute numbers, Asia will be the region in which urbanization is most felt due to sheer population. The lower levels of “urbanization” in fact suggest a that a different process is occurring in Asia, one that differs substantially from western conceptions of the process. Instead, in Asia, especially in China, India, and Indonesia, urbanization will encompass the rise of a hybrid rural-urban space typology.
Unesco absolute numbers in Asia and peak urbanization not met ... Asia leveling out at moderate rates of urbanization .. at the moment of populations projections also leveling out ... but Asia, notable India China in absolute numbers the greatest factors

The Middle Kingdom

Pg10 {Pg10}

China awakening from its hibernation and seeking to once again global influence and shift the global geopolitical balance of power through trade, infrastructure, and education on the global scale.

After a moment of disconnection, China is waking up from its hibernation and once again extending its global influence. The country is making more and greater investments abroad, financing infrastructure, energy, and real estate, amongst a variety of other sectors. The rings on this map indicate the amount of Chinese investment in US Dollars. Fueled by recent certification as a Main World Currency by the International Monetary Fund1, China is expanding the power of its currency, the RenMinBi, by trading the currency directly in countries around the world. Additionally, China is quietly yet consistently building massive international infrastructure to develop more powerful trading power. For example, China’s largest international project has been the modernization of the Nigerian Railway. Chinese policy is attempting to steer the global economy away from a “east produces, west consumes” pattern towards a more complex flow of capital.

The world’s ports increasingly are visited by Chinese vessels, plans for unfathomably long high-speed railways are increasingly visible, and pipelines have snuck their way through central Asia. The One Belt One Road initiative is China’s new foreign relations goal, creating locomotion and maritime trade infrastructure through trade partnerships and development agreements with as many as 65 countries. The policy imagines a “new Silk Road” comprised of a global high-speed rail network with 5 primary branches reaching from London all the way to the Americas, with China in the center, as well a number of global shipping routes similarly focused on China. The project is controversial as it directly seeks to alter the international balance of power, swelling China's position in the world.

Intellectually, China is widening its horizons, sending more students abroad than any other country. Those students go all around the world, with a vast number heading to the USA. It is of note that by and large those students will return to China after their studies. According to UNESCO, 523,700 Chinese students went abroad in 2015, making a total of 712,157 Chinese students abroad, of which 260,914 are studying in the United States alone.

China’s rise as a global super power was fueled by foreign investment, but the tide has turned. Cheap loans have spurred direct Chinese investment in construction projects, rail and sea connections, trans-continental pipelines, agricultural collaborations and land appropriations. Furthermore, through extensive educational and research exchange programs, bonds and RMB currency trading, China’s pragmatic and stealthy geopolitics have produced a powerful sphere of influence. China is a fully globalized nation that pulls in resources from across the planet to produce products for the entire planet, generating pollution that still largely effects the people within its borders.

As long as the west consumes Chinese products with reckless abandon, there is no way to expect a transformation of China into an ecotopia. However, with shifting consumption patterns, China is increasingly focusing on the creation of an internal market, making the country less reliant on its export power.

While the world looks in awe at the pace of China’s development, China has already outpaced the international spotlight - China has long set its sights on the outside world. To find the next phase of Chinese development, one must look not at the Middle Kingdom itself, but rather how the country is reshaping international geopolitics.

1. China’s economy was the largest in 1820 and it is the second largest today
2. In terms of purchasing power, it is actually the world’s number one economy again
3. China is the world’s largest exporter and the second largest importer of merchandise goods
4. The main destinations for Chinese-made products are the US, EU, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea.
5. China has lifted more people out of poverty than any other country - 800 million people
6. It raised per capita GDP from $155 in 1978 to $7950 in 2014
7. China has experienced a marked slow-down of GDP growth
8. Last year the Chinese economy grew at its slowest pace since 1990
9. The private sector is the main driver of growth and employment
10. Between 2010 and 2012, private sector companies produced between two-thirds and three-quarters of China’s GDP
11. China is the second largest provider and the top receiver of foreign direct investment.
12. It provided $116 billion of FDI in 2015 - an increase of 15% on the previous year.

Foreign Investment

One Belt One Road

  • Global routes with china at the center
  • No one has signed on yet

Students Abroad

Clouds of Spikes

Pg11 [Pg18]

Dense clouds of spikes reveal the division of China's uninhabited wilderness, and densely populated coastal plains, which has nurtured a new pattern of settlement: a hybrid urban-rural-industrial space typology.

Urban Field

Pg12 {Pg11}

The urban and rural blend together, especially in a Chinese context, where a hybrid rural-urban space typology is becoming progressively more prevalent. Fragmentation throughout Chinese urbanism is unending, as within the varied urban landscape, there are areas of incredible density and areas of dispersion that do not necessarily correspond to administrative boundaries, artificially imposed upon these regions.

There is no border between urban and rural, nor is there a way to distinguish urban from rural dwellers. The urban and rural blend together, especially in a Chinese context, where a hybrid rural-urban space typology is becoming progressively more prevalent. Within this varied urban landscape, there are areas of incredible density and areas of dispersion that do not necessarily correspond to administrative boundaries, artificially imposed upon these regions. The fragmentation within Chinese urbanism is unending. Populations ebb and flow, loosely floating within the grey zone of urban landscape. The vast differences inherent to urbanity engenders this massive urban field with an incomprehensible complexity.

This is particularly paradoxical in China where administrative borders are easily shifted to suit political will. For example, the JingJinJi megaregion exists more in name than in urban reality. Furthermore, the Chinese political Hukou system brutally defines each person as either urban or rural, a system which fails to account for any complexity. In fact, as the lines between urban and rural blur beyond recognition, people move beyond their Hukou designations. statistics go here

PUC: 487,531 SqKm

  • Built-Up: 43,717.61 SqKm
  • 8.9 % of built up coverage

China: 9,381,260 SqKm

  • Built-Up: 116,466.79 SqKm
  • 1.24 % of built up coverage


Right to the City

I have absolutely no idea if this is the right spot for this

The right to the city is the right to other to contact with other people, the right to human agglomeration. And though one may not live within an agglomeration, the right to the city is still found in the ability to shape the agglomeration to which one has access.

Without a defined city, and with the whole world interacting with the planetary urban economy, the right to the city must be expanded, especially for those who are experiencing rural urbanization. The right to the city is the right to the public domain, the right to those things which improve society. But further, the right to the city is the right to the production of the city, to shape the city to one’s own benefit.

A city is a collective. The polis. A city functions as a platform by which the collective negotiates common good. In China, the communist party works for the common good. In this way, the city is a beautifully Chinese statement, a physical manifestation of the ideals of Chinese communism, the epitome of a commune.

The right to nature arose as a response to the right to the city. It was a reaction to decaying cities and described the consumption of nature - in the truest capitalist sense of consumption. In rural urbanization, right to nature sheds the artificial reference to nature for the sake of leisure. Rather, nature is intertwined with urban, there are no distinct ‘natural’ or ‘urban’ areas and as such the right to nature must mean the right to humanity’s healthy coexistence with our planet. The honest right to nature is a right to the preservation of the ecological systems which sustain us and all other life on earth.

If all the world has a right to the city and a right to nature, the ecocity would seem a settlement typology that assures both of these rights. However, the ecocity is not the solution is would appear to be because conceptions of the ecocity are isolationist delusions that simply displace environmental abuses, further causing the environmental degradation of the hinterland. This in turn violates the right to the city and the right to nature of populations farther from the center of urban agglomerations. The ecocity only promises the right to the city and the right to nature to those who live within its boundaries, not to the larger urban context in which it exists.

In understanding the right to the city and the right to nature, we must understand the relationship of the city to nature. Traditional understandings have held the city as an isolated unit, not as a complex open network. Nature and city as opposites: where nature is, city is not. But urban networks now encompass the whole world, and so nature cannot simply be the exclusion of urban. Therefore, nature must be the ecological and non-human biological networks that shape our world.

While ecocities seek to create a closed unit in the name of the environment, as a closed system they move no closer to finding harmony between human urban networks and natural ecological networks. The only path forward is through the improvement of our existing cities, attempting to find a way to balance urban and ecology, between the right to the city and the right to nature. As David Harvey states, the right to the city “is a right to change ourselves by changing the city”.

“[…] the role of the eco-city becomes evident: it is merely a phantasmic screen, prohibiting us from confronting the true terrors of ecological catastrophe, while at once imploring us to silently identify this terror with the collapse of liberal capitalism itself” Ross Adams

Urban Expansion

Pg13 {Pg12}

This map shows area built up incredibly quickly between the years of 2000 and 2010, showing the effect of urban gravity. Existing clusters are attracting more growth, despite intentionally distributive, anti-urban policy. Clustering is de facto veritably happening.

This map shows area built up between 2000 and 2010, demonstrating the intensity with which urbanization is grasping China. In merely 10 years, built environment has conquered a vast amount of land, interestingly still around China’s existing major cities. This expansion of the urban footprint is encroachment in to agricultural lands, driven by industrialization more than population, perhaps a form of industrial suburbanization.

This increase in urban footprint reveals the effect of urban gravity, where the largest urban agglomerations attract more growth. This is troubling as cities are inelastic; land can’t be de-urbanized. As such, we have to get it right now, as it is happening - we only have one chance. Policy mustn’t defy urban gravity, shying away from the reality of emerging megacities. Rather, policy should encourage densification and healthy building of these megacities. Urban form has a powerful impact on efficiency, environmental as well as economic. The larger the city, the more efficiently it operates. Chinese policy tends to skirt around megacities and instead center lower tier cities in improvement efforts. However, the impact of such policies can have negative impact by discouraging the potential efficiency of megacities. If understood as a cohesive system, in which smaller cities are networked into larger agglomerations, there is once again potential for great efficiency, but individually developed smaller cities are, in fact, less efficient, no matter how “green” they appear to be. Outward urban growth is detrimental to environmental protection, food security, and ultimately efficiency, all of which raises a core question: how much new cityscape is needed?

Cluster Theory

Pg14 {Pg13}

This nonchalant exercise in comparing cluster analysis methodologies reveals that all methods for attempting to understand clustering are seriously flawed in many ways.

Whether viewed through political bounds and spheres of influence, economically integrated areas, demographically aggregated regions, or using all factors at once, these lenses are all problematic, and in no way capable of understanding the complexity of these undefinable urban agglomerations.

Conceptual Shift

Pg15 {Pg14}

Chinese urbanization demands a shift in conceptualization from abstract, insular moments on the map to dynamic, edgeless, fields of habitation.

This form of urbanization in the fertile plains of the People's Urbanism of China directly competes with vital agriculture.

Complicated Patterns

Pg16 {Pg15}

The complexity of urban migration is simply unknowable. Flows of people, capital, and ideas are dynamic, responding to countless push-pull forces. This rendering compares unemployment rates to locations of universities, in order to examine how the local price of labor and education level might impact migration.


96% of China’s Population
96% of China’s Economic Activities (GDP)
96% of China’s Migration Flows
96% of China’s Urban Population
96% of China’s Arable Land

PUC* People’s Urbanism of China

The PUC represents the most important part of China in almost every aspect. It contains the population, food supply, innovation, economic centers, and infrastructure of China.

Within the PUC* there are centers of density, places where the urban population forms agglomerations in megaclusters, tightly bound urban networks. These shifting stretches of intricately woven urban fabric are the driving forces in china’s ongoing urban transformation. Composed of both traditional urban forms as well as emerging patterns of urban/rural hybrid spatial typology, these regions within the PUC spread of vital stretches of land.

The megaclusters of urbanization are growing in precisely the most valuable swaths of China’s arable land, competing directly with delicate agriculture, ensnarling food security in the process, reflective of global patterns of settlement. This area of nebulous urbanization forms the world’s largest muddled megalopolis, a vast expanse of urbanism being increasingly populated by nuanced, complicated, reverse migration. However, those making a rural return from China’s cities bring urbanism with them, causing increasingly powerful rural urbanization.

Green and Red Image - Pg15
Multilayer image - Pg15
Fractal Image - Pg17

Planned New Cities

Pg17 {Pg16}

The xx called for the creation of 400 new cities of 1 million people. This never materialized. Rather, the urban field from Beijing to Shanghai has grown to a population of 400 million people. This is directly due to the failure of conventional planning tools.

China’s Urban Mega-clusters

The gap between Chinese official numbers on urbanization and the number of people holding urban hukou reveals a disconnect between administrative divisions and spatial reality. If there are more people living in urban areas than people designated urban, then what has been assigned ‘urban’? Throughout the country there are administrative divisions, such as counties, that contain an urban agglomeration, but the urban agglomeration does not fill the entire spatial division. However, the entirety of this area may still be designated urban, assigning portions of population to an urban status, while they are, in fact, quite rural. This harsh administrative division between urban and rural does not well account for grey populations in megaclusters.

In order to better understand urban areas in China, urban hukou presents a solid basis. While those with rural hukou often live in urban areas, those with urban hukou almost entirely live in urban areas. To then account for those with rural hukou who live in urban areas, a much more transient population, megaclusters present a mechanism to understand urban to rural migration, rural urbanization, and other, often muddled, developing patterns of urbanization. Therefore, spatially urban china can be understood to be those with urban hukou plus those living in megaclusters.

36.14% of China’s total rural hukou live in clusters
70% of China’s total urban hukou live in clusters

The Population of China’s urban Mega-clusters is 628 Million People
50% of the population of these clusters holds urban hukou
50% of the population of these clusters holds rural hukou

In all of China, 31.6% of the total population holds urban hukou,
while 68.4% of the total population holds rural hukou

China’s official number is that 53.7% of the whole country is urban,
but we found that by including the mega-clusters, 56% of the whole country is urban.
While this difference doesn’t seem large, it is worth noting that with such an enormous population, that 2.3% difference is a highly significant number of people.

 Hukou in the Megaclusters

Urbanization of China is under-estimated NOT over-estimated

Urban China = (Urban + Rural Hukou in Clusters) + (Urban Hukou outside of Clusters)

Does Hukou get its own page? Because it seems like a stretch to fit it into this page.

Big and Dense

Pg18 {Pg17}

The vast urban field reaching from Beijing to Shanghai occupies a swath of land larger than France Germany? and as dense as Phoenix, Arizona, USA at about 1000/KM2, a typical suburbanized American sunbelt city. Between these two factors, this massive urban field could easily be considered the world's largest megalopolis.

Blue Roofs


Blue roofs indicate industrialization as they transition to the heart of the industrial rural/urban economy, they indicate the demise of the traditional hierarchy of cities.

The vast expanse of ambiguous urban territory sprawling between, through, and around Beijing and Shanghai occupies the north china plain. This urban fabric is woven of a tightly knit, dense pattern of definitively urban entities. These urban spaces take the form of extremely compact, and substantial villages, many of which have been long established. These villages themselves have traditionally developed in relation to the land, densifying so as to preserve their source of income, the agricultural lands by which they are surrounded. This has lead to these large villages becoming structurally, morphologically dense.

As the country as a whole has seen the blossoming of its metropolises, the villages have experienced a bleeding out of the younger labor force, relocating to larger cities to seek greater opportunities. However, in recent years a growing trend of reverse migration has emerged: a rural return. Migrants who traveled to the large cities in search of work have begun to return to their hometowns, bringing with them the money that they earned while away. This doorstep urbanization is explained by more than remittances and “settling down”, rather with the return of migrants, industrialization has latched on. Rural Urbanization has further incorporated villages into the urban economy, driving an economic shift from agricultural to industrial. While these villages are rapidly transforming into a new rural/urban/industrial space typology, their footprints have not expanded drastically, instead they are undergoing an extreme internal transformation. This very recent and extremely rapid phenomenon is observable through the addition of progressively more blue roofs, rudimentary indicators of industrial activity. As they transition to the heart of the industrial rural/urban economy, they indicate the demise of the traditional hierarchy of cities.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 Title Page

Page 23 {Pg24}


Models of Urban Growth

Page 24 {Pg23}

Should urbanization follow along its current path in China, three models of the city will become more heavily prevalent: split city, scattered growth, and culled city. However, as urban planning looks to refine its practices, an additional three models of cities seek to address the problems created by business as usual urbanization: satellite towns, lobs and fingers, and densification.

In the split city, a new urban core is created mirroring an existing urban core. The new center can be across the river, across the tracks, or just in a less developed area, but as a result, the new core creates a multitude of issues such as diminishing the viability of the old center, creating congestion between the twin centers, or casting one of the centers into poverty.

The “improved” model, fitting the same vein as the split city, is satellite towns. However, satellite towns are still an extremely problematic model. The spatially disconnected urban units require large amounts of energy to support a connection to the center city. Furthermore, if a satellite town is too close to the core, it will grow into the rest of the city, but if it is too far, it will not be a viable settlement because it will remain isolated.

A scattered growth pattern most resembles western style sprawl, a mess of small planned or semi-planned settlements without very much coordination, especially in the periphery. This endless outward expansion increases energy usage and endangers food security by converting land usage from agricultural to urban.

An attempt to consolidate the scattered growth model has resulted in the lobs and fingers model. In this model, growth occurs along corridors and prioritizes connectivity to the center city, resulting in a star-like form. This model is typified by the Copenhagen plan, but present significant challenges in China.

The culled city is a model created through neo-Haussmannization, slicing through and forcing a new city upon an existing city. The culled city has all the drawbacks of new town planning. This model is typified in Asia by Beijing, where large-scale infrastructure has been imposed upon the fine pattern of historic hutongs, destroying neighborhoods, replacing the vernacular typology with modernist morphology.

The only viable model for Chinese cities is densification, where the existing boundaries of cities are preserved, and drastic infill occurs.

Underlying Generic principles

Geoffrey West This might be a good place to talk about growth? Models and principles go well together?

Cities follow super-linear growth

  • that is, if you increase the city by 100%, other factors increase by 115%.
  • 15% Growth is key ==> Bigger is better
  • Savings in infrastructure
  • Increase in “creatives”
  • — Have I mentioned I cannot stand Richard Florida
  • abolish anti-urban policies
  • Scalability
  • — But can cities scale back? look at what happened to USA
  • — Does scaling accelerate? Is this urban gravity?

Cities Don’t Die

  • Sclerotic
  • Complex systems —> Network theory
  • As complex system gets bigger, it gets more complex, creating more internal connections that improve efficiency


  • Contiguous/Connected
  • Like Tokyo
  • Can you apply this to cities when you can’t say where cities are bounded?


Page 25

Humanity has been attempting to engineer isolated, insular settlements for generations. The prevalent conception of the modern ecocity is just as isolationist as the renaissance fortress

Coevorden was a Renaissance era fortified town, an isolated settlement. With cities like Coevorden, humanity has been trying to engineer models of cities for hundreds of years, but in almost all cases, the cities we have imagined are insular and isolated. This history of city building has worked its way into global imagination such that around the world we still understand cities as isolated units.

It follows then that we apply this same understanding to ecocities, imagining them as isolationist, inward facing units that are a safe haven from the ever more polluted environment. We view ecocities as insular units that, like Coevorden, are designed to defend themselves from outside adversaries, as opposed to contributing to a open global urban network. Coevorden was planned with a single major guiding idea: its walls. Similarly, ecocities are concept towns focused on a single idea, rigid in their technocratic approach.

  • Renaissance fortified town / fortress
  • Humanity has been trying to engineer new models of cities for hundreds of years, but has always been insular and isolated
  • City designed to dominate surroundings in order to achieve advantage over adversaries
  • Metaphor or how we think about ecocities
  • isolationist, in-ward facing
  • concept towns based on a single idea
  • rigid in technocratic approach
  • Might be sustainable within its walls, but does nothing for the broader world
  • protecting oneself from an ever more polluted environment
  • 100x suggests that china is planning on building one hundred isolationist ecocities
  • the biggest concern is not whether something is planned or unplanned, but rather whether it is rigid or flexible

Would it not be better to use a Chinese model?
Operational Landscape / Agglomeration
The 100x needs an explanation… might be too early to introduce

Dispersed Fortresses

Page 26

Dispersed fortresses formed a web of isolated nodes of urbanization, weaving together a tapestry of urban and rural life

The dispersed fortified towns of northern Italy were spread out across the landscape, each laying claim to a patch of green around them, using that patch of green to feed its population. This created a codependent relationship between the hinterland and the urban core, between the operational landscape and the agglomeration. This model of the external rural and internal urban is still the dominant understanding of the world’s urban landscape, and vastly impacts decision making today.

As these little urban settlements traded, exchanged goods, services, ideas, capital, they grew at uneven rates generating a hierarchy amongst cities. These independent fortresses, little urban nodes, came to rely upon each other and the network which they formed, integrating them into a larger urban pattern.

  • Fortresses spread out over natural landscape
  • Dominate a patch of green around them
  • Surrounding green would feed the people of that settlement
  • Mutually beneficial correlation between hinterland and urban core
  • As cities grow, balance shifts and a hierarchy emerges
  • Ultimate independent nodes, little fortresses
  • Trading, sharing, exchange allows them to grow

The Km0s don’t really achieve what they are meant to - and the font is really random?
Once again, is there a Chinese equivalent?

Urban Seeds

Page 27

  • Tracing back to european city forms
  • “Can we trace back an urban entity back to its fundamentals? to its DNA?”
  • “Is there such a thing as an urban seen that can be planted in order to grow an ideal city?”
  • The diagrams are models of Chinese imperial cities, outposts so that the empire could expand quickly


  • More interesting is the contrast between city as closed, self-sustaining entity vs growing open system

I’m gonna push back on this one a little bit, it comes across as eurocentric
These “seeds” are ambiguous and I don’t really understand if they are describing models or something else
Are there Chinese models that we could expand upon? - what did a Ming vs Qing vs Northern vs Southern vs Colonial vs Coastal vs Central city look like?
I’m worried that tracing the majority of city planning to Europe moves the focus away from local vernacular city building
I’m not saying that foreign planning practices aren’t worth tracing, but I worry about giving them more weight than local ideology
Perhaps Chinese Feudal city could be more than one node/seed?
Ideal city is a dangerous wording, as it begs the questions of whom it is ideal for and in whose eyes


Page 28

The closed courtyards of Marrakech serve as its basic unit, creating a closed unit in an open, organic system

The urban fabric of Marrakech is among the most organic patterns of urbanization. The city is a beautiful balance of planned and unplanned development. The city is instantly recognizable by its courtyards, a closed unit in an open system which has allowed the city to grow while following a traditional typology. This ambiguity inherent in the hybrid of un/planned forces which has built the city, has given the city its distinctive character.

  • Not Asia, but at least not Europe
  • Balance/Hybrid of planned and unplanned
  • Courtyards work as fine grain of the city and grows neatly outwards
  • Ambiguity
  • Closed unit in an open system
  • Classic example of organic city

Organic China

Page 29

The progressively intertwining footprints of the tightly controlled cities of Chongqing and Chengdu, reveals the power of the organic force of urban gravity

Looking at Chongqing and Chengdu from a Corbusian airplane angle, the foot print of the cities appears organic. However, much of the development within the cities is occurring with the exactly the brutal rationality that would’ve aroused Le Corbusier himself. And yet despite the perverse level of control, the sheer force of urban gravity is organically driving the form of the city, flying in the face of domineering planning. The tentacles of the two cities are creeping towards and intertwining with each other, showing power of urban gravity.

  • Delve into organic China
  • Chongqing on right, Chengdu on left
  • Everything is planned, happening within administrative boundaries
  • Looking at it, it appears organic
  • Even though the internal components are brutally rational, the overall footprint appears organic
  • The tentacles of the two cities are intertwining with each other, revealing urban gravity
  • Urban gravity is ultimately the only universal quality we can chase back in cities

All the images on the right page are marked 1990?
This map needs a legend
There is no mention of where these places are
There is no explanation of what MUD means
I think the thesis of this page is that MUD reveals Urban Gravity?

Micro planned morphs into macro organic

Page 30

Tight planning creates walled, gated & guarded environments that defy their planning because are still bound together by informal and temporary MUD (Market-driven Unintentional Development)

The rapid expansion occurring throughout China often takes the form of highly controlled environments: walled, gated & guarded, planned down to the last doorknob. However, this micromanaged approach to urbanization has failed to kill all organic urbanization as the overall form of cities still is organically produced, and more vitally, the informal and temporary glue that cements these tightly rational elements together is MUD *market-driven unintentional development.

  • Rapid expansion through highly controlled environments
  • Controlled =
  • walled, gated, guarded “communities”
  • also controlled in how they were conceived, planned down to the last doorknob
  • However, these highly controlled areas begin to morph together in an unplanned manner
  • In between the compounds, unplanned, unexpected urbanization occurs
  • Informal and temporary “glue” cements the elements together

Should this page come before page 29? I think it would flow better
Maybe add something about informal fill in the diagram?

Page 31
Dynamic Density

Urban Inflation

Page 32

Pancake Expansion

  • TanDaBing, well known concept

Dead Center Donut

  • Esp. Beijing where Hutong dwellers were relocated from densest section of Asia to high rises in the periphery
  • Moving people out of the center increases NOT decreases congestion because the people relocated to the suburbs must now commute increasing traffic
  • living standards vs lifestyle

Raisin bread Inflation

  • Culled City
  • Distance between all components increases
  • Home from work, library from museum, one side of the street from the other
  • Expanding like the universe itself
  • The fabric of the city got coarser

Cookie dough

  • Satellite model
  • Too far from center is not viable
  • Too far from heat, doesn’t cook
  • Too close together, grows together
  • Either too close or not far enough

Can this page be better connected to the other page of models?

  • Sprawl is an outdated term to describe urbanization outside of the scope of the city
  • Now anything bad is called sprawl
  • Outward expansion is inevitable
  • But there are different qualities of forms of expansion
  • Blurbs for sprawl derivatives
  • Diagram is of policy sprawl
  • In China, we must disregard western understandings of sprawl
  • The muddled megalopolis is already sprawling, so entities within it can’t be described as sprawl

I have trouble understanding this logic. I understand the scalar logic, but it seems recursive
Speedsprawl and transprawl descriptions are kinda complicated

  • If fragmentation is a primary concern, then new towns that are currently being planned will only contribute to that process
  • New Town Cycle
  • Built -> Embraced -> Things go wrong bc simplistic template doesn’t serve well -> Rapidly degrade -> Migrants move in -> Areas get dangerous -> Areas are ostracized -> Revisited / Diversified / Improved
  • New towns are only successful after a series of upgrades, at which point they are no longer truly new towns, but rather fully parts of the city.

There is no sprawl

Page 33

  • Add diagrams for sprawl derivatives
  • sprawl is outdated
  • If there is a page for each type of sprawl, this page should be less wordy
  • Move full descriptions to individual pages

Policy Sprawl

Page 34

  • Change page title to what it is actually describing
  • Diagram should be larger, and clean up the Chinese

Infrasprawl 1

Page 35

  • What does grey show?
  • The scale bar should be in the lower left-corner

Infrasprawl 2

Page 36

  • There is no key - what does green mean?
  • Shows roads to nowhere?
  • What city is this?
  • I love visuals, but what does this show that the first infra sprawl page won’t show?


Page 37

  • The map doesn’t show single functionality
  • shows coarseness but relationship between coarseness and monosprawl isn’t very clear



Page 38

  • naming convention: hyphenation?
  • get rid of google earth junk
  • where is this?
  • what do the colors mean?
  • I don’t fully understand how this is showing speedsprawl

Need a Transprawl page

The N.T. as EcoCity

Page 39

  • The third No: No new acronyms
  • Timeline is really cool, but the graphics of it are weird
  • Could we try sans-serif white on black? Integrate into other graphic instead of being slapped on top.
  • I kinda see how Beijing moves to New Towns, but it isn’t very clear
  • There isn’t much of a connection between title and diagram

No New Cities *in Asia

Page 40

  • Need to clarify Asia specific
  • Pressure is diminishing
  • Urbanization is occurring in rural areas
  • Population will peak
  • Planning expansion not as new towns, but as parts of cities
  • Don’t get stuck with outdated awful environments

Critical Mass

Page 41

  • City as finite entity vs city as organic/fluid process
  • Maybe move to “no expansion”
  • Pink ring is impossible
  • Cannot limit growth of city
  • Just focus growth on center

Need page to indicate that we are switching to Case Studies as the next section of MØM

Thesis Notes

Asian urbanism requires a distinctive model, while relating to the planetary patterns of urbanism. Urbanism is always approachable through multiple lenses at a variety of scales. While acknowledging both planetary and local forces, this book focuses on the asian scale through a planning lens, especially to examine the hybrid condition of rural-urbanism. Urbanity is humanity - a network of human connections, generated through a precarious balance of planned and organic forces, one which must better respond to networks in nature.

The dynamic density of cities react to the pull of urban gravity generated by the agglomeration of urban mass. Hybrid rural urbanism, an especially asian phenomenon, challenges conventional assumptions of urban gravity as defined by connectivity.

This book posits that there should be no new cities and no expansion, rather planning ought to focus on densification efforts. This assertion holds true especially in hybrid rural urbanism, where land itself must be understood as a resource, and fragmentation poses a substantial threat.


Asia's rise has produced radical new urban forms expanding at the scale of the content. These landscapes are diverse, forged under both planned and piecemeal forces and rolled out by centrally planned economies and young democracies. Yet that have a common trait, indicative of a global trend of dispersed suburbanization. Asia’s megacities have been absorbed in vast rural-urban fields, where tracing the edge between city and countryside has become an arbitrary operation. Fragmented and diffused, the urban fields have lost the quality of both the rural and urban condition, while their impact on the economy and the environment is entirely global. Set against the backdrop of rapidly diminishing resources and bleak prognostications for global markets, this is the context which should soon nurture urban sustainability, or ecocities. Vast and fundamentally ambiguous, new cities would not alter the state the existing urban peripheries. This unique nature of Asia’s rural-urban-industrial hybrids undermine the planning tools we have to define, streamline and shape the cities amidst them. Manifesto of Mistakes has analyzed these urban patterns in an attempt to trace the universal principles that define their formation, in order to provide an alternative to planning new cities, and move towards upgrading, densifying and diversifying of existing networks.


Asia has produced a hybrid rural-urban space typology which challenges conventional understandings and traditional tools of urban planning. Manifesto of Mistakes introduces an evolutionary approach to upgrading, densifying, and diversifying Asia’s established cities and urban landscapes, proposing a move away from new town planning; simply put, there should be no new cities and no expansion. The networks, formalized in concrete and referred to as cities, are often misunderstood as their form, and not truly as systems of connectivity. Urbanity is humanity - a network of human connections, generated through a precarious balance of planned and organic forces.

Owned by neville mars / Added by neville mars / 6.0 years ago / 3298 hits / 32 seconds view time

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