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Dec 12, Hong Kong and Singapore are two Asian cities that have often been compared in terms of their urban development. Hong Kong and Singapore.
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The project's overhanging terraces provide shade, greenery and outside space throughout the tower.

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The Beirut Terraces have been designed to offer appealing exteriors and a sense of space throughout the building. As increasing numbers of people around the world migrate from the countryside to fill swollen urban centres, the character of many cities is changing, and arguably not for the better. This mass movement, which is particularly noticeable today in the rapidly urbanising countries of East Asia and the Middle East but has been a factor almost everywhere, creates an urgent need for space-efficient and affordable housing.

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The response of governments and urban planners to this challenge, whether in modern-day China or the UK through the s and s, has thus far been depressingly similar: immense concrete tower blocks that satisfy the basic requirements of density and affordability, but offer precious little else.

But with urban populations showing no sign of slowing their growth, architects are challenging the received wisdom on high-rise living.

The relatively small footprints of apartment blocks might make them essential to providing the requisite number of homes in densely-packed cities, but does their necessity mean that all other aesthetic and standard-of-living considerations have to go out the window? Reimagining the tower block "Architects are challenging the received wisdom on high-rise living. Although the term remains somewhat nebulous, the vertical village is intended to represent a mode of high-rise living that maintains the space-saving benefits of traditional tower blocks without the aesthetic and societal baggage that comes along with them.

The idea is that smart, people-centric design can help give high-rise blocks the same sense of community, personality and tradition as their low-rise counterparts. The exhibition, which makes the case for the concept for urban regeneration projects and allows the public to experiment with an interactive, modular vertical village sculpture, has previously visited Taipei and Seoul, and has now taken residence in Hamburg with redesigned proposals for European city planning.

Can a new model for development in big cities be imagined?

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Can we infill these neighbourhoods and still retain the qualities of a traditional village? In the Lebanese capital of Beirut, the Beirut Terraces project is currently under construction, setting a useful template for alternative high-rise development. The design is intended to subvert traditional high-rise issues in a number of ways. In Hong Kong itself, many studies have shown that a substantial proportion of the urban population did not see high density as a problem, many even preferred the presence of a large number of people.


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The tolerance of Hong Kong people towards high densities could also be explained by their previous living environments, since many residents are refugees and may have experienced worse living conditions prior to moving to Hong Kong. High density has many advantages.

It can create more efficient land use and is more cost-effective in providing public services and facilities. In terms of transportation, Hong Kong has one of the lowest energy consumption per capita in the world. High density maximises the effectiveness of public transport while minimising the distance between the sites of day-to-day activities. It also reduces energy and infrastructure costs.

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The negative effects of density can be mitigated by the design, layout, open spaces, traffic and community facilities of both external and personal spaces. For external space, with a fixed density, people will have a sensation of less crowdedness if there is more open space, less traffic congestion and more community facilities. Since the s, Hong Kong has emerged as a major commercial and financial centre in Asia.

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  • Office space in Central district, for example, has increased through new buildings on reclaimed land and the redevelopment of old buildings into new office blocks. Although there is an increase in employment density, there is no major increase in crowding. This can be attributed to better planning and density management.

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    Thus many new buildings in Central have been designed to include public spaces or public passageways. Central is interconnected by a large and sophisticated pedestrian system that separates pedestrians from vehicle traffic, making travelling from one place to another more comfortable and less stressful.

    The height of apartment buildings in both cities continues to rise. The tallest is anticipated to be storey. It is the contention of this book that contrary to earlier common negative discourses on public high-rise living, the high-rise environment may yet offer urban residents a satisfying dwelling experience. Leading housing academics, researchers and practitioners in the two cities have contributed to this book. Audience: This book will be of interest to researchers and policy makers in architecture, urban planning, geography, sociology and development studies.

    JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser. Free Preview. Covers high-rise living in fast-growing Asian cities Examines the question of good and bad high-rise living environment Offers insight to the factors that promote high-rise livability Analyses the sustainability of the high-rise see more benefits.

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