Gandong Cai, Yujia Wang

Instructor: Niall Kirkwood

Independent Study, Research, Exhibition, Publication

Graduate School of Design,

Harvard University

蔡淦东&王雨嘉

指导老师:Niall Kirkwood

​于哈佛大学设计研究生院完成的独立研究项目,包含展览与出版

 

 

 

Interview with [POST]:

Why “Urban Underspace” and how do you find it important?

Wang: The research combined several preliminary studies we did at Harvard, such as the prototypes study, community planning, landscape and infrastructure study. We realized the potential of expanding these studies into a comprehensive research, thus we started the whole project.

Cai: We kicked off the project from the investigation of the innovative urban landscape, and we found a lot of interesting underspaces in cities like New York and Boston. We thought it could be a good independent research.

The study of the underspace makes great sense for highly dense metropolitans like Hong Kong. What were your expectation when you applied the study to cities in mainland China? The public consciousness? Or the urban planning logic?

Wang: Cities in mainland China, especially the developed urban areas face similar situations of limited land and dense population as Hong Kong does. While it is hard to find new public space, the underspaces are massively produced and immediately abandoned during rapid urban development. This is a sad story and we wanted to criticize such a phenomenon through our research, and bring the attention back to the Urban Underspace.

Cai: In our research, we mentioned Chongqing, the mountainous city with a special geographical and historical context, in which the air-raid shelter system represents a unique local characteristic of underspace. We wanted to emphasize: though leftover space, the Urban Underspace is diverse in terms of typology and form, and it is full of potential to be further developed.

Who will care public space in mainland China? What is the difference between them and foreign publics?

Cai: While plaza space in front of public buildings are very common in western cities, traditional Chinese cities have streets, alleys and small scale neighborhood spaces: the Qilou space, the chessboard space under an old tree, and the playscape in the alley, are examples of how the Chinese utilize public space.

Wang: the traditional Chinese gardens are famous as private spaces, not public spaces. However, people will be interested in public space once they need public life. I don’t see a big difference between the east and the west in this perspective. The Chinese people also have abundant public life: during the low tide period, Chongqing people will hang out on the gravel beach, play games and have snacks. The experience in old alleys and courtyards is not the opposite of public life but a positive supplement to the understanding of public space – a tree or a table can form a public space in China, which is not a universal condition in other parts of the world.

​香港号外杂志专访:

為什麼會關注並意識到城市裡的「下空」?

王:它是好幾條在哈佛的研究和思考線索(包括自然空間原型的研究,社區規劃和景觀,基礎設施等等),我們發現這類空間和設計可能性可以擴大成一個完整的研究,所以就著手逐個城市調研和記錄。

蔡:最開始是從調研城市裡具有創新性的景觀空間,後來在紐約、波士頓等地發現了很多有趣的空間都位於「下空」,於是便決定利用獨立研究機會好好探索一番。

香港因為土地短缺,「下空」的研究將大有可為;當放到內地城市去看的時候,你們希望帶出的思考是什麼?是公共空間的意識?抑或城市規劃的思考?

王:內地城市跟香港是類似的,同樣存在土地短缺、人口密度較高的情況,尤其是已經建設完畢的高密度區域,很難再找到新的公共空間。而下空這類空間隨城市發展大量增加,甫出現即已經是默認廢棄的狀態,這是非常遺憾和可惜的。我們希望透過質疑這種默認,讓公眾和決策者重新意識到並思考下空的其他可能。

蔡:我們研究中還提及到重慶,其山城的特殊地理環境和歷史背景,擁有像防空洞體系的結合地形,是個極具當地特色的下空空間。因此在研究下空時我們想帶出:儘管是城市邊角料,下空的種類和存在形式實際上十分多樣,都是有待發展的公共空間。

在內地,什麼人會關心公共空間?這跟外國民眾對公共空間的認知及意識有何分別?

蔡:西方城市有大量的公共建築前廣場空間,中國傳統城市結構裡大片廣場並不常見,取而代之是對街道、鄰里空間的靈活應用:騎樓街上放幾把椅子,老榕樹下擺個棋盤,還有巷子裡孩童成群遊戲,都是中國人使用公共空間的寫照。內地城市的高速發展也把很多西方城市設計的空間語言帶到了我們的生活當中,慢慢地大家對公共空間的認知和使用方式也在改變。

王:單從中國園林的角度講,很多都具有很強的內向性和私人屬性,「公園」這概念並不算太深厚。不過只要人有公共生活的需求,就自然的會去關注公共空間。

我不認為在中西方有顯著不同,我們的公共生活也很豐富。我想到重慶每年的江水低潮期,到河邊石灘上休閒的市民,以及應運而生的租借棋牌、提供茶水小吃的商販;這裡面的自發性和創造力,與現在國外的公眾參與、社區主導的項目不謀而合。而過去的街巷、院落關係讓我們對公共空間的認識和使用也相對更加靈活,一棵樹下可以是一個公共空間,一張石桌也可以是一個公共空間,這種靈活度似乎不是每一個國家都可以觀察到的。

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