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City Vision. Urban Design and Vision in “ The City as a Text ” The Music Garden “ The Street that Got Mislaid ” Architecture in Taipei. Image source: 迪化街. Outline. Starting Questions “ Metropolis: The City as Text ” (1) The Music Garden “ The Street that Got Mislaid ” Conclusion

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city vision

City Vision

Urban Design and Vision in

“The City as a Text”

The Music Garden

“The Street that Got Mislaid”

Architecture in Taipei

Image source: 迪化街

  • Starting Questions
  • “Metropolis: The City as Text” (1)
  • The Music Garden
  • “The Street that Got Mislaid”
  • Conclusion
  • Reference
starting questions
Starting Questions

What have we learned so far?

  • Modern city vs. Postmodern city;
  • Urbanism as a way of life (impersonal, transitory, segmental, and mostly utilitarian human contact)
  • Organic city vs. planned city (with utilitarian purposes– Paris as an example)
  • Historical Perspectives:
    • Taipei in (“Taipei, Taipei”〈古都〉、《牯嶺街》),
    • Montreal (“Canvas of Time,” No and “North”),
    • Toronto (In the Skin of a Lion)
starting questions4
Starting Questions

What are we discussing today?

  • Different visions or interpretation of a city (religious [divine order], naturalist [body], Foucaultian [grid], Marxist [dynamic structure])
  • urban planning: social welfare, landscaping and domicile registration (census)
  • Vision and reality; landscaping, music film and “nature”
  • Garden and green bottle – relevance to our cities?
starting questions on the city as text
Starting Questions on “The City as Text”
  • How do we describe/represent a city? Why is city an “imagined” environment (422)? Why can a city be a text (written with signs, to be interpreted)?
  • How do city planners ‘imagine’ a city? With what metaphors and charts? What could be their limitations? What could be the limitations they place on city-dwellers? (e.g. pedestrian areas)
  • How about us? What metaphors or images do we have in mind about a city? Can we ‘map’ a city? How do we walk in a city such as Taipei?
metropolis the city as text
Metropolis: The City as Text”
  • Focus: representations of cities from 19th century till now. (human body, machine, [Paris], [Vienna], labyrinth, modern city and mental life, flows; p. 423)
  • 1.1 Prologue: excerpts from Bleak House and The Asphalt Jungle –
    • Similarities: effect of the weather on the cities; the city – alien; civilization – sophisticated but fragile; technologies and forces constituting the life of a city
    • Asphalt Jungle – city as a machine and a strange and magical place; with awareness of the class and ethnic differences
  • 1.2 The city as imagined environment – organic and mechanical
  • 2.1 Capitalist City – “Police”
  • 2.2 Concept vs. Experience
metropolis the city as text7
Metropolis: The City as Text”

A. Two paradigms in the 19th century: (425-29)

  • The divine order “the invisible hand” of the market in giving order to a city  like a body with ‘the instincts of brute creation.”
  • The medical paradigm: ills attributed less to commercial systems than to urbanization.
    • Develop social welfare system through both investigation and administration systems.
    • Urban government . . . Includes surveillance and discipline.  concrete, quantifiable and precise info. 系統的多重關係.
  • E.g. 〈馬桶〉 its view of the city—similar or different?
  • The last SARS epidemic –multiple systems of surveillance
the police city as a statistical grid of investigation and surveillance
The police: City as a statistical grid of investigation and surveillance
  • B. Grid (surveillance + welfare)
  • (Michel Foucault) the police:
    • 1. political, 2. pastoral
    • a technology of government which defined the domains, techniques and targets of state intervention. It involved
      • cataloguing the resources of a state, both material and human, in minute detail.
      • Identified a new object: polulation (429-30)
  • e.g. District Offices (domicile registration) + District Health Center
the city as text 2 dynamic structure
“The City as Text (2)”: Dynamic structure
  • Engel’s Marxist view: relations between the have’s and have-not’s as a complex, concrete totality, and whose parts have meanings that are only decipherable in relation to all its other parts. (432)
  • – determined by modes of production
  • Summary: pp. 433-34
the city as text 2 2 concept vs experience
“The City as Text” 2.2: Concept vs. Experience
  • Michel de Certeau: p. 435
  • Concept city (435)– in utopian or urbanistic discourse; with a perspective both ‘god-like’ and voyeuristic that can encompass all the diversity, randomness and dynamism of urban life in a single panorama (statistics).  a proper space, a pure space, a space of rational organization.  urban and human ills repressed
the city as text 2 2 concept vs experience 2
“The City as Text” 2.2: Concept vs. Experience (2)
  • Michel de Certeau: p. 435

2. Lived city –beneath the discourses, the grids and combinations of powers or a fixed pattern of statistical relationships.

The people, who are ‘unpredictable, inventive and devious.’

Who have ‘illegible improvisations’ of the spaces on the streets or at home. (435-34)

the city as text 2 2 concept vs experience 3
“The City as Text” 2.2: Concept vs. Experience (3)
  • Rational city vs. mythic experience: Max Weber vs. Walter Benjamin (436)
  • Max Weber – 18th, 19th centuries –abstract, formal rationality as the organizing principle  demythification and disenchantment of the social world
  • The new urban-industrial world –fully re-enchanted. --in the new shopping arcades.
the city as text 2 2 concept vs experience 213
“The City as Text” 2.2: Concept vs. Experience (2)
  • Paris as an example –
    • 城市的遠見:
      • Houssmann’s plans (boulevard, underground sewage, underground canal, street furniture)
      • improvement of Chamsee-lysee (quality control and
      • Park of Bercy
    • 眾志成城
  • Houssmann vs. Baudelaire (438-39)
  • Rational organization vs. flaneur
  • e.g. Taipei City Hall and Capitol HillWashington DC
the music garden
The Music Garden
  • What do you think?
  • General Intro.
  • Music + Landscaping
  • Efforts – Arts, Business and Politics
  • General Design
toronto music garden
Toronto Music Garden
  • From Boston’s City Hall Plaza
  • to Toronto’s Harbor Front
music landscaping why and how
Music + Landscaping: Why and How?
  • Musical piece-- Ma: “A document that is visual, aural and spatial at the same time. […] it affects and animates people so much in different places and times.”
  • The first suite of Bache – Ma: nature
  • Garden – nature made ‘simple and readable’
  • Transferring audio language to spatial language;
  • Lobbying (film: 4:19—9:00)
  • Note:漢 both are 1) abstract art appealing to our senses; 2) pervasive; 3) rhythmic (rhythm made with beats, proportional shape and spatial arrangement)
artistic efforts music landscaping
Artistic Efforts: Music  Landscaping

1. Landscaper:

  • Drawing blue prints, making models
  • The choice of plants – e.g. Ginko (銀杏)
  • Understanding music (dance—vertical [sinking and rising]

2. Filmmaker:

  • Filmic visions (9:00 from the room to Ma’s performance to garden scenes; 18:30 from a model, to concrete building to garden; from the city hall front to a garden; 39:00 – out in traffic  plants growing)
  • Low point – Sarabande
  • Visual messages: e.g. Images fading, officials’ backs
music film landscaping and nature
Music, Film Landscaping and Nature
  • To use human languages to shape nature, or create order out of disorder
  • Ma’s intention: to create a space for music, or a concert hall without walls.  what about traffic? (e.g. 51:00; 53:30)
the practical concerns
The Practical Concerns
  • Privatize the space (12:17) –income from real estate  improves the plaza
  • Security
  • Get corporate support (“to ‘massage’ the corporate power.”) --naming (the movements, the flower beds) to get support of one movement/area after another.
  • Artists have a different vision.
  • Deadlines – of filmmaking.
bach garden plan
Bach & Garden Plan

Suite#1 I – Prelude II – Allemande III -Courante, IV – Sarabande, V - Menuet I , VI - Gigue

prelude an undulating riverscape with curves and bends
Prelude: An undulating riverscape with curves and bends.
  • “a seascape, a riverscape, a wavelike motion that carve out space”

Response to the environment


allemande an ancient german dance a forest grove of wandering trails
Allemande (an ancient German dance): A forest grove of wandering trails.
  • swirl

Original plan:

12:00; adjusted in the new plan Bk 14

courante a swirling path through a wildflower meadow
Courante: A swirling path through a wildflower meadow.
  • Spiral in and out, twisting and turning
  • The film camera: pans away from Ma to butterflies, circles around Ma (- 29:00-)  the project falls through


sarabande a conifer grove in the shape of an arc
Sarabande: A conifer grove (針葉樹) in the shape of an arc
  • A glade(森林中的空地) in the forest


sarabande a poet s corner
Sarabande: a poet's corner
  • the garden's centerpiece is a huge stone that acts as a stage for readings, and holds a small pool with water that reflects the sky.

Bk 13

minuette formal dance
Minuette: formal dance
  • Julie Messervy: (1st movement) To shape nature in simple forms
  • Hand-crafted with ornamental steel, a circular pavilion is designed to shelter small musical ensembles or dance groups.
music and nature the gigue 51 54
Music and Nature: The Gigue (51:54)
  • Gigue: Giant grass steps that dance you down to the outside world. (steps and exiting and leaving the piece)
  • or "jog" is an English dance, whose jaunty, rollicking music is interpreted here as a series of giant grass steps that offer views onto the harbor.
administrative perspective the street that got mislaid
Administrative perspective: "The Street That Got Mislaid"
  • Is it possible for the story to happen in real life?
  • Is it possible for a missing person to remain incognito for all of his/her life?
    • identity checks: employment and education, customs/immigration office, credit card, driver’s license, ID cards, social security/insurance card, etc.
  • If you could choose, would you like to live there?
administrative perspective the street that got mislaid30
Administrative perspective: "The Street That Got Mislaid"
  • Marc’s life at work vs. his life at home
    • total familiarity with and belief in the bureaucratic system he supports (e.g. his discussion with his friend re. the truth of his residence in Oven street—established by his files.)
    • loneliness; neighbors – noisy or even violent
  • Marc’s choice: too quick and too radical a change, accepted too quickly by the woman
  • Other possible problems of Green Bottle Street: work and money? Procreation and family building?
buildings which of them have humane design
Buildings– Which of them have humane design?
  • 大陸工程總部辦公大樓 - 民生、復興北
  • 宏國辦公大樓–敦化、長春
  • More …
  • (modernist: 1)
  • (postmodernist 1, 2)

Image source

  • A city can be variously defined, imagined, desired for, and connected to the past.
  • Concept City does not just belong to the city planners. We also develop our concepts of the city in our use of signs, through our walking and living, desiring and recollections in a city.
  • 《為建築看相》 (Examining Architecture). 漢寶德. 出版社, 藝術家出版社.
  • Toronto Music Garden Photo Gallery---Inspired by Bach: Yo Yo Ma
  • Loraine Hunter