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Sunday, October 24, 2021

January Bookshelf

Automatic for the City: Designing for the Age of the Driverless Car by James Taylor

As we approach a new stage in our urban transformation, Automatic for the City: Designing for the Age of the Driverless Car prepares urban designers and city planners for the introduction of connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs), to our streets. Driverless cars are set to become a common feature in the wealthiest urban environments as early as within the next 10 years, authors Riccardo Bobisse and Andrea Pavia predict. As a result of this prognosis, practical guidance on transformative city-wide design principles are illustrated in the book via two in-depth case studies focusing on two sprawling metropolises: London and Los Angeles. Using the analogy of the city as a human body, with its mutation and revolution throughout time and history, this timely book envisions ways in which cars and CAVs can coexist, providing an imaginative and engaging insight into the future of our urban environments.

The Shenzhen Experiment: The Story of China’s Instant City by Juan Du, £28.95

Over the last forty years Shenzhen has grown to a mega city, with a vast population and booming economy. As Du writes. “From 1980 to 2000, Shenzhen’s GDP increased from 0.15 billion to over 200 billion yuan, averaging more than 40 percent increase per year. By 2017, Shenzhen’s GDP had grown another tenfold to 2.2 trillion yuan (US $338 billion), finally surpassing Asia’s leading financial capital cities of Hong Kong and Singapore.” Du explores the city’s success; whilst other cities have been since designated as SEZ by China, it is Shenzhen that has flourished the most. Shenzhen’s success has been both admired and disparaged, from “miracle city” to “generic city”, with its achievements often attributed to the power of the centralised planning, suggesting that city came as a blank canvas enabling the pursuit of the new without an obligation to consider the past. However amongst the international firms and upscale shopping boutiques, are hidden “villages in the city” comprised of the natural villages that were swallowed up by urban spread. Du was fascinated by the proliferation of them in Shenzhen, with almost half the population living in them, often ignored by the administration.

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