"Hutopolis extrapolated the lessons learned from the hutong into the realm of visionary scenarios applicable to China’s urbanization". -Aric Cheng
Hutopolis is a research program that aims to investigate new boundaries for urban development in China. Starting in 2010 have been developed soft and physical strategies, visions and ideas taking Beijing as a case study. The research and the over 15 public events realised during this time have been conceived by a collaborative network featuring professionals from different backgrounds, students and citizens from China and all over the world.
Looking at the present status of the Chinese cities and projecting these thoughts in the future several issues can be underlined though: connection to badly regulated and planned developments, problems related to distribution of territorial services, infrastructures and mobility, preservation of historic areas and green areas, the waste of land and resources and also issues related to identity.
The urban fabric of modern Chinese cities is comprised of high-rise developments surrounded by vast empty lands, apartments blocks towering over courtyard houses, huge commercial malls adjacent to shanty dwellings.
The desperate quest for modern alternatives often times does not result in the best solution, as consolidated and historic patterns could offer more relevant directions for natural growth. Beijing suggests us a great example of this, where contemporary development co-exists with a characteristic urban model: the hutong.
The special layout of these neighbourhoods, the distribution of services, the no-car oriented mobility together with a more natural and horizontal relationship with the landscape offers still a good example to look at.
The burst of Chinese cities, due to the speed and size of their massive development often looked at the historic contexts as a problem rather than a source of inspiration, leading to profound issues of preservation and lack of identity, without considering beneficial looking back at the past to think a better future.
Hutopolis was based on the strength of a group of urban planners with different cultural backgrounds working together, some of them not having previous knowledge about Chinese cities. We seized upon the objectivity of foreign researchers, complemented with the knowledge of local teams, and worked to turn it into a productive exchange.
Hutopolis is an initiative of Luis Aguirre Manso and Giannantonio Bongiorno organized by AQSO arquitectos office, together with Eugenia Murialdo and a wide team of researchers, students and architects from Tsinghua University, Politecnico di Milano, University of Genoa, University of Valladolid, Polytechnic University of Valencia and with the support of Strelka Institute for Media and Design.
Press enquires: click here