Monday, January 24, 2011

Boredom in a Globalized World


At the center of the city of Kashgar, on the far western edge of China, is a city of twisting streets lined by mud and brick buildings dating back centuries, to when Kashgar was a trading post along the Silk Road. The Chinese filled in a moat to create a ring road back in the 1980s, and built a highway through the middle of the historic center a few years later, but this historic urban core remained largely intact until recently. Today, Party officials in Beijing have issued a death sentence to historic Kashgar, citing earthquake-preparedness as an excuse for removing the largely Muslim population and leveling the neighborhood house by house as the residents leave.
I've never been to Kashgar; and yet, I find this news deeply disturbing. Reading a recent New York Times article about the Kashgar "redevelopment" on the heels of Katia's post about the planned clearance and "redevelopment" of Dharavi yesterday got me thinking about the effects that clearance projects have on the sociocultural fabric of our cities, and wondering what local changes might signal in the broader context of globalization.

Kashgar, China, photo by Lukas
more post about China:

Architecture & Urban Planning in China: urbanization to create massive infrastructure investment

A GIS-based gradient analysis of urban landscape pattern of Shanghai metropolitan area, China

The Empty City of Ordos, China: A Modern Ghost Town

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