Devastation man made or natural has been the art of city dyamics since ages..should one recreate a city or redevelope the city?...What are the dynaic factors such social, economical,political and their consequent effct on the urban form of the proposed ? It will be interesting to have viewpoints on this subject....there is a website named as www.resilientcity/mit.edu please come forward with any expertise or opinion on the same .....contact email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Renewal of devastated cities
Hong-Bin Kang, former first vice-mayor of Seoul, recently gave a lecture at MIT. He spoke about how mega events like the Olympics and the World Cup had acted as catalysts for urban transformation. The benefits of such large events for the host country are international recognition, improved trade and greatest benefit is the confidence the people gain after successfully hosting such a large event.
Listening to what he had to say, I could not help but think that, on one hand cities deliberately efface themselves to realize a mega event. It needs a clean slate and demolition is part of the process. On the other hand devestations, man made or natural are not deliberate but results in a clean slate. Both are opportunities for urban renewal which if utilized effectively, will benefit the people greatly.
In the case of devestations, the psychological scars the city has to deal with, should become part of the redevelopement process but one must not fail to recognize the opportunity for redefiniton. The city should be recreated and through the input of the people of the city. The process cannot be top-down because if the people reject it, then the city would be alien to its residents. The city has to take the impetus of giving its residents a new direction after a devestation. Something new will capture the mind better and prevents them from dwelling on the pain and the losses. However, there must be something that would allow the people to hold on to the past. Memories and links are important for the people and so those places that are important in the memory map of the city, should be reconstructed or turned into a memorial.
Renewal of devastated cities
The process of reconstruction is necessarily a re-invention of the lost or destroyed city. It is commemorating the idealized and emulated paradigm of the old city in a new re-creation aspiring at a continuity of identity and memory. It is not necessary the exact copy of the destroyed and mourned city but the permanence of its founding principles and of its locations, public and sacred spaces and buildings, and organizational patterns, etc.
Please check other thoughts on this topic on KATARXIS magazine:
The picture shows a proposed reconstruction in Sidon, Lebanon, by Samir Younés, also published in KATARXIS N°2