A new book, Learning from the Japanese City: Looking East in Urban Design, was launched recently at Melbourne University: the author is Barrie Shelton, Associate Professor in Urban Design, at the University’s Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning.
The book spotlights Japanese urbanism and architecture, discussed against a sweep of ideas drawn from history, geography, science, cultural and design theory. It appeared in its first edition in 1999 with the subtitle of West meets East in Urban Design. That edition emphasised the relationship between culture and built form and drew attention to the uncanny correlation between established Japanese design practices and recent (essentially Western-generated) urban and design theory.
The new edition is in a more compact form but with a much-extended text and many more illustrations, and includes a detailed and practical case study of one district in Nagoya, a city known for its bold infrastructure planning. This Nagoya section shows how many of the forms and characteristics discussed more theoretically in previous chapters are assembled in one city district: further, it argues that the urban configuration and characteristics of this district combine to make a sustainable and liveable urban model. Previously available only in hardback, the new edition is also available in soft-back and e-versions.
Barrie has been quite prolific in recent times. Last year, he co-authored The Making of Hong Kong: from vertical to volumetric2, which, although an historical account of the city’s morphology and design, emphasizes that city’s potential as a model. He also contributed a substantial section on a topic closer to home, the planning and shaping of Adelaide’s ‘Square Mile’ in an edited book by Stephen Marshall.
All three books are published by Routledge, London and New York.