DujiangyanDreams - Ermal Kapedani Portfolio

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Urban Emergencies: Sichuan was a 1-month long workshop in Sichuan province in western China. Organized by Urban Emergencies, International Forum on Urbanism, TU Delft, and Southwest Jiaotong University, it aimed to explore the possibilities of (re)development after catastrophic natural disasters such as the 2008 Sichuan earth quake that  killed hundreds of thousands of people and leveled many cities. The case study was the heavily damaged city of Dujiangyan.

The workshop was focused on 5 themes ranging from the scale of the architectural detail to regional econcomic development. Our group, called Spatial Economies, worked on a development strategy for Dujiangyan that draws relationships between  is spatial, cultural and economic values in order to maintain the interests of all stakeholders, farmers, migrant workers, citizens, investors, levels of governments etc.

The workshop resulted in a presentation (download pdf) to local officials involved in the redevelopment process, a publication (download pdf), an exhibition (the panels above), and a website publication (below).

About UE Sichuan

On May 12, 2008, a disastrous earthquake struck the heart of the Sichuan province in China. Measured at 8.0 Ms on the Richter scale, it killed at least 68,000 people, many of whom were children attending school.

On May 13, 2008, the faculty of Architecture from the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, was confronted with its own disaster as an early morning fire burnt down the entire building.

Both, the people in Sichuan and the Architecture Faculty, moved into tents. Soon after, students and teachers from the university came together to initiate an interdisciplinary effort to research post-disaster urban responses, entitled Urban Emergencies.

In the summer of 2010, in conjunction with various universities, a 3-week field study was set up to research various redevelopment potentialities in the city of Dujiangyan in the Sichuan Province. Coming in 2 years after the initial disaster, an interdisciplinary group of students and researchers applied insights gathered from the first UE analysis into 6 natural disasters around the world in order to support the ongoing redevelopment process. A ‘development from disaster’ approach is being used wherein opportunities for the short, middle and long term will be synergized.

As the city expands, more agriculture lands will be taken, farmers are changing themselves into tourism servants or  find a big city to live their new lives as labours, at the same time, lots of tourists comes to the city as marketing strategies promoted, some of those from the big cities bought their weekend house there because of the poverty price differences. Enormous Migration is driving Enormous Urbanization.

The tragedy of the earthquake and the resulting reconstruction effort offer an opportunity are both a curse and a blessing. The city confronts itself to such dilemma between historical agriculture capacity and the emerging urban challenge, between top-down and bottom-up strategies, etc.  At this critical point in time, a careless plan will cause a second disaster, which leads the city to an exhaustion of integration.

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