Friday, 17 April 2015

Religious Tower vs. Modern Skyscraper

One thing that never fails to fascinate me is the beauty of chaos that is so common in most Asian cities that make them unique and distinct from Western cities. 

Western town planning carve out the city into different parts according to functions and roles of each part. You have the CBD in the centre, entertainment precinct in a separate zone while the bulk of the city's population live in suburb away from this centre. This method of planning no doubt will give you a very organised city but it lacks vibrancy especially after working hours when everyone rushes home to the suburbs.

Such thing never happens in Asian cities thanks to the seemingly poorer town planning strategy. Penang is one such city that makes it so interesting and continues to attract tourist from all over the world. There is no clear CBD zone in Penang. There is also no clear suburbs to speak of. Residential towers mushroom in every corners of the island while office buildings scattered in various areas. There is no clear distinction between work and living in its traditional commercial buildings namely the heritage shophouses where people operate their business on the ground floor and live on the first floor.

Asian cities grow 'naturally' much like trees in the forest without too much human intervention in the planning stage. Therefore it is not surprising to witness a scene where the tower of a Buddhist temple would stand gracefully against the backdrop of modern skyscrapers.

The 'let it happen' attitude in Asian town planning seems to be more appealing to me personally as it helps to create cities that are full of energy, life and vibrancy.

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