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TRADITIONAL DWELLINGS AND SETTLEMENTS REVIEW

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Volume 13.2

TRANSFORMATION IN THE TRADITIONAL HIMALAYAN LANDSCAPE: RISE OF THE TREKKING HOTEL IN NEPAL
William Duncanson
This article explores the role of tourism development in cultural persistence in the Nepal Himalayas.  It documents recent transformations in the material landscape in the context of the burgeoning number of new “trekker” hotels.  It suggests that despite the ostensible newness of such hotels as a typology, and despite their having resulted from the phenomenon of global tourism, their morphology is entirely local.  As such, they may be seen as the product of individual invention and local creativity — or “imagination” in the parlance of Arjun Appadurai.

THE LIVING TRADITION OF AFGHAN COURTYARD AND AIWAN
Bashir A. Kazimee and James McQuillan
The article builds on an analysis of domestic outdoor space from different regions of Afghanistan at a variety of scales in an attempt to derive general principles of architecture in an Islamic tradition.  It proposes that a principle of “diurnal rotation” is key to the layout of domestic courtyards in Afghanistan.  According to this principle, activities naturally rotate around courtyard areas according to daily and seasonal cycles and in response to climatic factors.  The article shows how such a practice of rotation is also evident in the layout of a typical neighborhood mosque, and it explores the cosmological significance of such ingrained spatial structuring.  Finally, it proposes that such deeply embedded principles are a possible source for the enduring strength of Afghan building tradition, as evident in monumental structures such as Herat’s Masjid-i-Jami and the great palace complex of Lashkari-Bazaar.

DISMEMBERED GEOGRAPHIES: THE POLITICS OF SEGREGATION IN THREE MIXED CITIES IN ISRAEL
Mrinalini Rajagopalan
This essay looks at aspects of the urban growth of three “mixed” cities in Israel — Acco, Ramle and Jaffa — from the period of the British Mandate in the early twentieth century to the present.  It provides a critique of the deeply contested nature of these cities, home to both Palestinian and Jewish Israelis, and it examines how the fields of urban design and city planning have been complicit in processes of ethnic segregation and racialization of space.  From a historical perspective, the essay attempts to map how an originally colonial discourse of segregation and exclusion has survived and flourished well into the postcolonial era.  In the ongoing reconfiguration of the urban space of these mixed cities, a dominant Jewish population has been able to make use of changes in planning ideology to continually reposition itself with respect to a minority Palestinian population.  This has led to the further marginalization of Palestinian Israelis, most certainly within the city, but also within the larger national context.

THE PROPENSITY OF CHINESE SPACE: ARCHITECTURE IN THE NOVEL DREAM OF THE RED CHAMBER
Li Xiaodong and Yeo Kang Shua
This article attempts to give an account of some of the discursive practices of Chinese space.  It begins and ends with the interpretation of a single classic Chinese narrative work, Dream of the Red Chamber (Honglou Meng), by Cao Xue-qin.  However, its scope also includes side-ventures into such diverse fields as garden aesthetics, allegory, and cosmology.  Chinese culture is distinguished by an interweaving of architectural and literary-narrative space.  Thus, Chinese literature often situates its narratives within architectural settings, while Chinese architecture often exemplifies experiences elucidated through literary texts.  Our supposition here is that a text like Dream of the Red Chamber may be used to reveal the unseen workings of Chinese architecture and so shed light on the way Chinese culture in general conceives of space.

AN INSTANCE OF CRITICAL REGIONALISM: NEW YAODONG DWELLINGS IN NORTH-CENTRAL CHINA
Liu Jiaping, David Wang, and Yang Liu
For the last six years, China’s historic yaodong cave dwellings, still home to millions of people, have been a focus of work by the Green Architecture Research Center (GARC) of Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology.  To date, the GARC, working intimately with the local people of Zao Yuan Village outside of Yan’an in Shaanxi Province, has designed and constructed more than one hundred new yaodong units using the principles of “green architecture.”  This report suggests that these efforts represent an exemplary application of Kenneth Frampton’s notion of “critical regionalism.”  Specifically, in contrast to the rampant and largely unreflective importation of Western architectural styles common to new construction in many of China’s urban centers, the new yaodong units result from a sensitive effort to merge the old with the new and maintain vernacular values.