Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Suburban Tourists





Fantasies of European communities seem to be guiding the design of new suburbs in Shanghai. New suburban "towns" built to resemble such appealing sites as Venice (complete with canals) or Barcelona are being touted as a way to relocate residents and draw tourists out of the city. NPR has profiled Thames Town, Shanghai's version of the quaint English village, with Tudor architecture, red-uniformed security guards and the controversial reproduction of two existing Lyme businesses (the Rock Point Inn and Cob Gate Fish Bar). Of course, American suburbs have long been designed to invoke such fantasies of British life, but they usually stop short of the statue of Winston Churchill . . .

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Daniel Makagon said...

It's funny because the standard move by most critics will be to identify such planning as yet another blow against authenticity. At the same time, critics are often concerned about the wide streets, giant parking lots, and miles and miles of pavement that dominate the suburban landscape. I would much rather see planners and architects build with European and Middle Eastern streets as their models. Of course, trying to make those spaces affordable is the big challenge (or not so big challenge if officials want affordable housing as part of the package). Thanks for sharing the link. Sorry I'm so late to reply.

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