Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tabula Rasa

I came across this on BBC and found it fascinating. The government of Myanmar (Burma) is building a completely new capital city. In many ways it may come to resemble what we read about in the article by Dovendas and Shram when they spoke of the 'creation city' (as hypothesized by Fortier). No doubt, however, after being built the population of the area will rise dramatically. It will be very interesting to see how this new city evolves.

Here you can find some pictures of the capital being built. Here there is also another article dealing with the confusion over the reason for the move.


Blogger Barker said...

Fascinating stuff! The issue of how to locate capital cities is an interesting one. Mystical beliefs and traditional knowledge often come into play. Geomancy, as it's known. In SE Asia a lot of the geomancy is very specific to the places it describes, so not necessarily that easy to universalize. Of course, now there are all sorts of books about Feng Shui for the office, for the home, etc. Many friends of mine in Indonesia consult mystics before purchasing property so as to avoid bad luck and misfortune. Does your Toronto real estate agent know about that?

1/26/2006 6:12 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

This also brings up the issue of whether the city is an organic, living entity that evolves independently or a human-made machine. This latter notion was big in the popular "city-in-crisis" discourse of the 1950s and 60s, when people were questioning the viability of the city and forecasting its decline (remnants of this discourse are still alive today). If the city is a machine, it stands to reason that its problems can be fixed with human intervention - assuming, of course, that people care enough to take action.

Jane Jacobs, who we will read later in the term, views the city as organic. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities she writes “it is futile to plan a city’s appearance, or speculate on how to endow it with a pleasing appearance of order, without knowing what sort of innate, functioning order it has" (1961:14). The Myanmar government is creating a city that will be a polished product when it is complete; it will be interesting to see how it develops over time.

1/26/2006 10:59 PM  

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