TDSR 21.2 Spring 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE

Alien And Distant: Rem Koolhaas On Film In Lagos, Nigeria
Joseph Godlewski
The Fabrication Of Place In America: The Fictions And Traditions Of The New England Village
B.D. Wortham-Galvin
From Documentation To Policy-Making: Management Of Built Heritage In Old Aleppo And Old Acre
Luna Khirfan
Maidan To Padang : Reinventions Of Urban Fields In Malaysia And Singapore
Chee-Kien Lai
“Securing Democracy In Iraq”: Sectarian Politics And Segregation In Baghdad, 2003-2007
Mona Damluji

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Volume 21.2

Editor’s note

Alien and Distant: Rem Koolhaas on Film in Lagos, Nigeria
Joseph Godlewski
This article seeks to evaluate Rem Koolhaas’s investigations of the sub-Saharan megapolis of Lagos, Nigeria. The literature on Lagos produced by Koolhaas and the Harvard Project on the City has been both lauded and criticized by several sources. Less attention, however, has been paid to two documentary films chronicling their Lagos “research studio.” The central component of this article is a close reading of these two films. It concludes that the research studio is a potentially effective method for learning about cities, though what Koolhaas produces is a seductive but ultimately myopic account of Lagos’s urban dynamics.

The Fabrication of Place in America: The Fictions and Traditions of the New England Village
B.D. Wortham-Galvin
One of the enduring origin myths of America is the idea of the New England village. As a symbol of how to make place, the story of New England represents the story of the nation, with the former being smoothed over and whitewashed to relieve the tensions of the latter. The mythology of New England reveals the necessity of fabricating heritage as a means to convey truth — the world, not as it is, but as it should be. It is the process of constructing America as a cultural landscape, and its relation to the enduring ideal of the New England village, from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, that this article addresses.

From Documentation to Policy-Making: Management of Built Heritage in Old Aleppo and Old Acre
Luna Khirfan
This article investigates links between the documentation of historic cities and the development of heritage-management plans and policies. It asks: How can the documentation of heritage value help produce policies and plans that sustain the historic fabric as a living place? It compares projects that have adopted different approaches to urban preservation in two World Heritage cities, Aleppo in Syria and Acre in Israel. By investigating the documentation methods used in these projects and their impact on later management plans, the article reveals how effective policies, plans, and intervention strategies emerge from approaches that balance concern for the physical, spatial and social components of historic cities.

Maidan to Padang : Reinventions of Urban Fields in Malaysia and Singapore
Chee-Kien Lai
The padang is a regulated open green space found in the cities of Singapore and Malaysia. A legacy of British colonial urbanism, its continued maintenance has created tenuous and contrasting relationships with their evolving metropolitan cityscapes. As a representation of government power and control, the padang originated with the fifteenth-century Maidan-i-Naqsh-i-Jahan in Isfahan, commissioned by Shah Abbas I of Persia. Around this space were organized functions of state power, religion, commerce, education, recreation and commemoration. Between its appearance in Isfahan and colonial Malaya, the British in India manipulated its practical and representative functions to create an exemplary space for surveillance, military drill, display, and governance — as well as less belligerent activities such as sports and commemorative exhibitions. The epistemic transmittance of this open space to cities in Malaya and Singapore was instrumental and calculated; but it was also evolutionary, based on the application of what had been learned in India to newer colonial cities. This article examines the transformation of maidan to padang in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as the nature of the architectural formations that surrounded these spaces. The padang form was also mimicked by local groups to establish their own urban open spaces, and through the years its meanings and uses were maintained, altered, subverted and reinvented. The article further argues that the padang as a “spatial tradition” has continued in post-independence and contemporary Singapore and Malaysia, in recollected or subverted formats.

“Securing Democracy in Iraq”: Sectarian Politics and Segregation in Baghdad, 2003–2007
Mona Damluji
Physical, sectarian-based segregation is a recent phenomenon in Baghdad. This essay examines how this urban condition has resulted from U.S. political interventions in occupied Iraq, which have actively reproduced, intensified, codified and spatially reinforced the significance of sectarian difference. It discusses the emergence of sectarian militias, details the violent practices used to consolidate territory, and maps the transformation of once heterogeneous neighborhoods into separate Shi’a and Sunni enclaves. By focusing on intersecting security discourses and the erection of concrete walls by the occupying Multi-National Forces (MNF), the essay argues that Baghdad’s new segregated neighborhoods have hardened and intensified patterns of internal conflict, diminishing the potential for reconciliation.

book reviews
Curating Architecture and the City. Edited by Sarah Chaplin and Alexandra Stara. New York: Routledge, 2009. Xii + 258 pp., ill., maps.
Reviewed by Anne Parmly Toxey
Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change. By Peter Newman, Timothy Beatley, and Heather Boyer. Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 2009. Xiii + 166 pp., illus.
Reviewed by Anna Goodman
American Vernacular Buildings and Interiors, 1870–1960. By Herbert Gottfried and Jan Jennings. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2009. 471 pp., b&w illus., glossary of building terms, bibliography.
Reviewed by Lee Roth
House, Home, Family: Living and Being Chinese. Edited by Ronald G. Knapp and Kai-Yin Lo. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2005. 453 pp.
Reviewed by Duanfang Lu

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