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Asian Cities and the Future of Public Space


When: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8
Where: At The Center, 536 LaGuardia Place

Asia's Practical Utopias are the result of private and public investments and offer the public a range of resources: privately owned public spaces, public transit, passage improvements, and space for retail, entertainment and cultural activities. Just as the retreat of the public sphere has raised questions about the future of public space in New York City, Asian cities are faced with the challenge of developing public spaces that satisfy the political and cultural expectations of their leaders and citizens. What role are Practical Utopias playing in this development?

The goal of this program is to expand on the exhibition by exploring how lives are actually lived in or through the buildings by ordinary citizens. It will focus on cities like Shanghai, where complex projects like Xin Tian Di bring out issues of development, gentrification, and preservation, where the Bund Reconstruction offers an illustration of a phenomenal public urban stage, and where the ex-urban scale of Pudong challenges western notions of a functional city. In Hong Kong, public walkways and privately owned public spaces have become the site of political protests in the past year, including the "Occupy" movement encamped under the HSBC bank building. In Seoul, Chonggaecheon, and Tokyo, Roppongi Hills, provide an important case study as well.

Price: Free for AIA members and students with a valid student ID; $10 non-members

This program is related to the exhibition Practical Utopias: Global Urbanism in Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo, on view from October 1, 2013 to January 18, 2014.