Hainan Island : South Sea Pearl Eco-Island
The South Sea Pearl Studio will speculate about the possibility of an absolute self-sustainable urbanism that can balance and integrate the aims of culture, nature and business to re-claim the importance of intelligent ecology as the advancement of 21st century urbanism. As we look at individual small towns and city-states that arose throughout history – from Greek city-
states, such as Miletus and Samos, to the towns populating the Roman Empire, to the Renaissance fortress city of Palmanova – it should be noted that the distinctive ecological advances made within each of these urban systems were developed with a degree of autonomy and focus that has been somewhat lost to the generalizations of the current all-encompassing global era. For centuries, towns and city-states developed idiosyncratically, as micro engines of cultural, agricultural and social sustainability; their often remote locations and distinctly defined urban boundaries led to highly specific architectural, urban, economic, and social considerations as each culture addressed the questions unique to its own advancement.
In the 20th century, beginning with Ebenezar Howard’s Garden City, one can easily trace the rapid integration of technology and social change through Le Corbusier and Team 10’s urban masterplanning proposals, to the fantastic cultural re-inventions and destinations of Archigram, to the eecologically-driven agenda of Louis Kahn’s car free downtown Philadelphia, to Norman Foster’s Masdar City.
Now, China is poised to inherent this legacy by constructing a 290 hectare island that will become a laboratory and demonstration project of urban sustainability.
Urban agriculture has evolved from the days of shared recreational gardening on public dirt plots. Urban agriculture has become an important social driver with a larger strategic initiative to address inner city health issues and post-disaster resiliency planning. The ability for urban agriculture to have fresh food available off grid has deep consequences for the cultural sustainability of any inner-city community. Using the metaphor of an urban acupuncture, the research studio will research to locate sites in Los Angeles, California with the most efficacy in social health and cultural impact.