Interview with Business News Radio, Omroep Flevoland

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Last week, we had a studio interview on Business News Radio, one of the leading news stations in the Netherlands, about our plan to change the Dutch province Flevoland into a new metropolitan area, using Chinese models for urbanisation.

You can listen to the whole interview below (note: it’s in Dutch!)

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A few days later, Omroep Flevoland made a special about our proposal for a Special Economic Zone in the Flevopolder.

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Reis langs China’s onbekende megasteden

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Op vrijdag 13 april 2012 presenteren journalist Michiel Hulshof en architect Daan Roggeveen in de Amsterdamse Stadsschouwburg hun boek De Stad Die Naar Meneer Sun Verhuisde, dat wegens internationaal succes nu ook in het Nederlands wordt uitgegeven bij uitgeverij SUN.

Drie jaar lang reisden Hulshof en Roggeveen door het binnenland van China. Ze bezochten steden met miljoenen inwoners waarvan de meeste mensen nog nooit hebben gehoord. Ze ontmoetten bouwvakkers die de grootste stad op aarde bouwen, en eenvoudige maïsboeren die hun eigen boerderijen afbreken en vervangen door moderne appartementencomplexen. Ze gingen op de thee bij een miljonair in zijn splinternieuwe Italiaanse villa, bezochten een eeuwenoude stad die eruit ziet alsof hij zojuist is gebombardeerd en liepen rond in een splinternieuw stadcentrum zonder bewoners. Ook spraken ze met talloze hoge overheidsofficials die opvallend openhartig waren over de donkere kanten van het Chinese succes.

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“Lessons from China” in Amsterdam

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In a special edition of WorldTalks, the weekly Urban Mixer for the internationally minded community of Amsterdam, we will present the Dutch edition of our book.
Together with NEXT Architects, an office with extensive experience in China, we will give short, provoking presentations about the lessons that Europe can learn from China’s rise. And we will talk about our plan to turn the Dutch province of Flevoland into a Chinese-style Special Economic Zone…

Friday 13 April | 18:00 | Café Cox | Marnixstraat 429 | Amsterdam | Free entrance | More information

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“China’s New Megacities” in Antwerp

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‘China’s New Megacities’ is a varied program about China’s emerging cities, in which we will give presentations about the world’s fastest developing region. Moreover, we will present the Dutch edition of our book titled De stad die naar meneer Sun verhuisde. Joining us is China-expert and author Jeanne Boden. The program is organized in close co-operation with Flemish-Dutch House deBuren and the Flemish Architecture Institute.

Thursday 29 March | 20:00 | deSingel | Desguinlei 25, Antwerpen | Free entrance | More information and registration.

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“Making City” in Rotterdam and Almere

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During the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam, Go West will present a futuristic plan that turns the Dutch province Flevoland into a Chinese-style Special Economic Zone. Drawing on our research in Shenzhen, we show the possibilities and chances that a free-trade zone could bring to Europe in terms of economic growth and employment. During the Biennale, this plan will be shown in Rotterdam and Almere in conjunction with other plans to create jobs in Flevoland by MVRDV and Zandbelt&vandenBerg.

April 20th – August 20th | IABR | Rotterdam, Almere

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Allmetropolis, the booklet

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After the exhibition in the Shenzhen Biennale 2011, we recently published a booklet containing our proposal for a Special Economic Zone in Europe, called Allmetropolis – een Speciale Economische Zone in de Flevopolder. The publication, which so far only is available in Dutch, deals with the narratives of both the Shenzhen SEZ and the Flevopolder. Although both areas have a similar background, they developed in a total different way. Where Shenzhen turned into the ultimate business city, the Flevopolder became the suburban residential dream. What would happen when you would superimpose the concept of the SEZ on the Flevopolder? Contact us if you’re interested in the publication.

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Millionairs in Little Venice in Volume #30: Privatize!

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The newest issue of Volume has an excerpt of on of the chapters of our book: about the millionaires on the artificial island ‘Little Venice’ in Changsha. The issue, which deals with the privatization of our cities, is out now. More on the theme here:

What used to be collective care is rapidly becoming private responsibility. At least in the West. Is privatization the one fits all solution to every (financial) problem? Can addressing collective needs be thought of as the sum total of numerous private initiatives? And will the ‘retreat’ of government and state be compensated by other ways to organize the complex organism called society?

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World Wide Book

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You can now buy our book worldwide in the bookstores listed below.
And of course you can buy the book online.

ASIA
Singapore: Basheer Graphic Books

Hong Kong: China Publishers Services

Beijing, CN: Timezone 8
Shanghai, CN: Garden Books
Shenzhen, CN: Stage

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Allmetropolis at Shenzhen Biennale 2011

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Last week, our new exhibition Allmetropolis opened in the Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism & Architecture. The show, which is located in venue B10 in OCT Loft, shows a comparison of the urban areas of Shenzhen and Flevoland, the largest mainmade island in the world. The main argument of the project: what would happen if we turn Flevoland into a Special Economic Zone?
To be continued…

Team:
Concept & Research: Michiel Hulshof & Daan Roggeveen
Research assistance: Xia Yixuan
Translation: Song Xinlin, Amanda Wan
Concept graphic design: Job, Joris & Marieke

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Allmetropolis: learning from China’s growth model

biennale, Project

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Starting Thursday 8 December, Go West Project will present a new research project during the Shenzhen/Hong Kong Biennale of Architecture. Central theme: What would happen if Europe created a Special Economic Zones following the Chinese model? To anwer that question, we compare two regions that started their urban growth at the end of the 1970s: one, Shenzhen Special Economic Zone in China, the other, the manmade island of Flevoland in the Netherlands.

Over the years, both urban regions have developed in a completely different manner. The New Towns in Flevoland has a population of 400,000, for large part commuters working in the Randstad and looking for a suburban living environment. Shenzhen, for its part, has grown into ‘the factory of the world’ with more than 10 million migrant workers from all over China.

In the exhibition Allmetropolis, Go West Project compares policy, economy, residential areas and future plans of the two regions. It then poses the question what would happen in Flevoland would implement China’s successful model for growth, meaning it would transform itself into a Special Economic Zone with preferential tax and other policies compared to the surrounding area.

This research project addresses consequences of current international developments where Europe is increasingly looking at China for financial help to solve the debt crisis. When Europe wants to attract Chinese investors, it’s not more than logical to have a close look at Chinese models for investment and growth.

Venue: B10, OCT, Nanshan, Shenzhen
Exhibition from 8 December 2011 – 18 February 2012

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Online Book sales

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ONLINE
You can order our book online at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de.

From the Netherlands, you can also order the book at Bruna.com, Bol.com, Nai Booksellers and through our publisher: SUN Architecture.

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Go West in Shenzhen Biennale

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The similarities between the Chinese city of Shenzhen and the Dutch Flevoland region with the city of Almere are stunning. Both areas started their urban development in the late 1970s: Shenzhen as a promising Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Almere as promising New Town on Flevoland, the world’s largest man-made island. Both are located in a river delta, adjacent to major international metropolises: Shenzhen near Hong Kong and Flevoland next to Amsterdam. In spite of these similarities, both urban areas developed in a completely different manner.

In the 2011 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Go West Project puts into perspective the economic, social, spatial and ecological developments of Shenzhen and Flevoland. This forms the starting point of a research that shows the possibilities and opportunities of using the Shenzhen model in a European context…

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Shanghai Urban Landscapes

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Last week we reported on the different urban landscapes we encountered while traveling from Hong Kong to Wuhan. When taking the plane from Wuhan to Shanghai, you  experience more or less the same contrasts, while landing at Hongqiao Airport – a fragmented landscape of industry, golf courses, villas, high rises, empty lands and residential areas. Welcome to the City of Fragmentation.

 

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7 November: lecture HKU, Shanghai

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As part of the lecture series ‘Under the Skin’ we will present our book in the University of Hong Kong, Shanghai Study Centre on November 7.

In a lecture called Canary Wharf in Central China – The transformation of China’s New Megacities, we will discuss the way cities prepare for the transformation from industry-based economy to services based economy. To prepare for this change, cities in central and western China are all developing CBD’s (Central Business Districts).

In Wuhan we investigated how these CBD’s come into being and what are the processes and reasons behind its development. We describe the way urban development is used as a tool to attract foreign direct investment – the city as an economic powerhouse – and the struggle between cities to be as attractive as possible. Consultants like McKinsey play a key role in this development, as do planning departments of local governments.

As we describe in our book:

‘The strength of Chinese cities lies to a large degree in projecting of an image of success before anything has actually been achieved. You constantly feel yourself surrounded by the future, by virtual skylines or by completed buildings, ready for future use. Together, these form a futuristic and hope-inspiring décor.’

At the same time we show that this process is part of the transformation of Chinese cities into more or less generic cities – with architecture produced by firms like SOM, HOK and Gensler leading to skylines that are alike the world over.

‘The first designs of the large towers evoke the feeling you have seen them somewhere before, in another business district in a different large town, in Asia or somewhere else on the planet.’

Date: 7 November, 7.30pm
Venue: University of Hong Kong, Shanghai Study Centre,
Adress: No. 298 North Suzhou Road, 2nd Floor, Hongkou District
Entry: Free

Our book will be for sale after the lecture for 300 RMB; cash payment only.

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Emigration and Evictions

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Two seemingly unrelated articles about Chinese cities appeared in the papers last week. Yesterday, South China Morning Post wrote about the fact that more and more of China’s upper class want to leave the country. They plan to emigrate to improve the education conditions of their children, to flee the shady air and food quality and to secure their properties.

Last week, the New York Times reported about a landgrab in Beijing. A five year old gated community at the fringe of the city has to make way for a road widening project. Its inhabitants are told to leave their houses within three weeks. Although shocking, this is a quite regular practice in China. However, it mostly happens to farmers in the countryside, or to people like the protagonist of our book, Mr Sun. The people in Beijing who have to leave their houses are doctors, accountants, retired government officials.

That is obviously the reason for the increase in emigration plans of the upper middle class. The Beijing case shows nobody can rely on the rule of law in China – neither a retired official, or mr Sun. The consequence is that the people who can afford it – in a lot of cases the country’s most talented people –  leave China thus creating a serious brain drain.

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