From the Sudirman Central Business District in Jakarta to Pudong in Shanghai, the master planners of the world are conceiving new city developments for the emerging economies of Asia. These cities are grand in vision and architectural design, spacious in plan with abundant green space, modern masterpieces replacing the old Asian slums, creating, according to the Shanghai Municipal Housing Development Bureau "a grand symphony". Do these grand plans translate into good urban habitat, places for people to live, work and recreate, do those that hold the future of the Asian cities need to change their approach to the development of their cities?
As a regular visitor to Asia, my experiences and the processes that formed my opinions influence my views. However, as an urban planner by training and interest, my work is around me, I cannot help but observe, and I hope that some of my observations will be of interest and thought provoking.
The following is a response to what I see happening in planning from the perspective of a designer of new communities and urban centres in varying environments, both in Australia and Asia. What are some important issues in the design of our future cities, our urban habitats, what should be some of the prime objectives of the designers? What is the future of these new city centres, what do we want them to be, how are we going to make them that way?
The concept of urban habit is a broad area, from the mega cities of the world, down to the small country towns in central Australia.
As we are here at a conference for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat I would like to look at the New City Centres in Asia, the places where the Architects of today scramble to fulfil their dreams of designing not only the Tallest Building in the world, but the tallest in all four categories. Three of the four tallest Buildings in the world are in Asia, with Petronas in Malaysia holding position one and two. If you log onto the World's Tallest Buildings web site, www.worldstallest.com, some of the leaders in the race to take the crown from Petronas are: