The Food is great here and I am cooking stuff too at my flat which is located in Central Taipei. The subway system is quite good, although the main Taoyan International does not have a direct rail link. You have to take a bus to the High Speed Transit or the Central MRT Rapid Transit station. However when I came in the ride on the bus provided a nice intro to the city with its many medium sized buildings. The view of Taipei is defined by Taipei 101 which goes far higher than the rest of the city-scape.
Interesting living in a society that has compact living, great design of products, very good mass transit, lively urban environment and friendly people.
I guess I am moving away from this large scale Arcology vision like Linear City (i dont see how this would create a lively city with its austere repepitive design that goes on forever in both directions) but I still see relevance to this idea of small er scale Arcology like at the scale planned for say “Critical Mass” at Arcosanti.
I don’t think that Arcology is not about remaking the city in one mans vision. However, because Soleri has designed many large scale Arcologies that is the implication put forward. City in the Image of Man his 1971 book which helped finance Arcosanti in the early days definitely created that idea that a city could be designed as one, unitary monolithic form. Soleri continues to design such urban spaces with the implication that Arcology = City. However, I challenge the idea that an entire city can be housed in one building on that we would even want to do that even if we could. Arcology and Arcosanti to me is about rethinking the city to make it more liveable with a more integrated neighborhood and community design process that might include large scale building within buildings situations in certain applications.
Coming here to Taipei and seeing the attractive urban spaces, I really see the value to the diversity of design that comes from the evolution of the city and the proliferation of people as an ecosystem of collaboration. Because the Chinese never completely lost this idea of living in harmony with the ecology, I think they are better positioned for the challenges ahead and it really shows in the design of their cities and products and the way they interact with each other.
This is not to say that I like everything about Taiwan as I had a conversation with a Chinese woman the other day who referred to the society as conservative and repressive because she says it limits free thought. Yet its nice for someone who has really been affected by the dismal characteristics of the American built environment to go somewhere space is valued, land is valued, people appeared to be valued within urban settings and culture is valued as well, rather than seeing all these things as deemed secondary to the imperative of the marketplace to maximize short term profit at all costs.
Alot of theory but the trip has been good and it reminds that I can always figure out how to live in someplace like this if I really want to – at least for a little while and see how it goes…