The articles shown here were originally published in the Red Envelope journals, a series of publications that follow specific themes related to the built environment, including ‘Urban Planning & Regeneration’, ‘In-Between’, and more. The Red Envelope journals are published by LWK + PARTNERS, and edited by Round City co-founder Rima Alsammarae. The journals aim to provide knowledge and insight on global urban design for readers interested in architecture, design, development and the built environment.
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?
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.
In Sudan, decades of economic and political strife that marked the latter half of the 20th century, meant a lack of the necessary urban planning and regeneration of decaying areas. Following the 2019 revolution, the country’s streets and buildings have been given a makeover, courtesy of Sudanese street artists.
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.
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.