Drawing from Chinese and South East Asian societies, which share the custom of giving gifts in red envelopes or packets, LWK + PARTNERS’ three-part Red Envelope series seeks to freely share thought and insight as a global source of knowledge.
In July 2020, South Koreans were shocked to find out that a North Korean who defected to South Korea a couple of years ago fled back to North Korea through the impermeable demilitarized zone (DMZ) after supposedly committing a horrendous crime. This crossing was one of the very few known unauthorised crossings over the past 70-odd years, where a civilian transgressed the impenetrable DMZ.
23 centuries after it was first drawn in sand, the world’s oldest planned, still inhabited street continues to mark the ongoing transformations of an ever-evolving city.
In Bhuj, a municipality in the Kutch district of western India’s Gujarat, a network of community members, government officials and non-profit development organisations worked together to devise an emergency re-urbanisation plan following the disastrous 2001 earthquake. One particular case study takes us to Sardar Nagar, a rehousing settlement that threatened to become a slum of thousands.
Conceived in 762, Al-Mansur’s ‘Round City’ was an incredible example of early urban design, setting the stage for the Islamic Empire’s golden era. While today, Baghdad has undoubtedly grown beyond the double-ring masterplan, its original layout was then the region’s largest construction project, providing a throne from which the Abbasid dynasty reigned.
Large dense and sprawling cities are part of an inescapable global reality. Their advantages have long been praised ever since the Modernists argued for “town as a machine for movement”, but what of their disadvantages? If regulations have shaped the affluent cities in the advanced economies, what of the unregulated or under regulated cities across the world?