Asia's fast-growing cities are having disastrous impacts on both environment and civilization. A Singapore-based firm is trying to create news ways of building before it's too late.

1 minute read

December 8, 2016, 5:00 AM PST

By gheller


Singapore-based architectural firm WOHA published a manifesto called "Garden City Mega City: Rethinking Cities for the Age of Global Warming," which charts the firm's endeavor to develop a series of new building forms for Asia's fast-growing cities. WOHA put density and climate change at the center of their agenda because Singapore's unique socio-economic realities had placed it there for them. Across Asia's fast-growing cities are signs that architecture has turned a blind eye to the crises of environment and civilization: Bangalore’s water table has dropped from 30 meters below ground twenty years ago to 500 meters today making it impossible for new trees to take root.

A new Mumbai tower holds just 300 apartments, but after the Trump organization partnered on the project the complex was slated to have over 10,000 parking spaces. The global vogue for "sustainability" has lulled us into assuming architects will come up with innovations to overcome the environmental crisis through their sheer brilliance. But this bespeaks a naive faith in reason and human ingenuity that ignores power. If, as WOHA has convincingly argued, the environmental crisis is an outgrowth of the global inequality crisis, our choice is to solve both or solve neither. 

Monday, December 5, 2016 in n+1

Aerial view of homes on green hillsides in Daly City, California.

Depopulation Patterns Get Weird

A recent ranking of “declining” cities heavily features some of the most expensive cities in the country — including New York City and a half-dozen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 10, 2024 - California Planning & Development Report

Close-up of maroon California 'Clean Air Vehicle' carpool lane access sticker on the back bumper of a silver Tesla vehicle.

California EV Owners To Lose Carpool Lane Privilege

A program that began in 1999 to encourage more electric car ownership is set to expire next year without Congressional and state action.

April 2, 2024 - San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Google street view of grassy lot next to brick church with elevated freeway on other side in Houston, Texas.

Houston Supportive Housing Development Sparks Debate

Critics say a proposed apartment building would negatively impact the neighborhood’s walkability.

April 12 - Houston Chronicle

Closed black wrought iron gate in front of gated residential community with large palm trees along sides of street.

Friday Funny: Gated Community Doubles Down

The Onion skewers suburbia.

April 12 - The Onion

Aerial view of Chicago with river in foreground.

‘Cut the Tape’ Report Takes Aim at Inefficiencies

A set of recommendations from the Chicago mayor’s office calls for streamlining city processes to stimulate more residential and commercial development.

April 12 - Block Club Chicago

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.