Prototype of Urbanity

Project     Prototype of Urbanity
Content   Taipei as Prototype of Urbanity
Type         IAAC Barcelona – master study
Location  Taipei – Taiwan
Authors   Ana Cankar and IAAC team
Year          2006

Taipei is a world capital, constructed in the 20th century by means of processes of high-speed development that has nevertheless generated a territory of great urbanity very different from the urban agglomerations of Europe. Taipei is built on an orthogonal grid that encloses an area defined between two rivers and a mountain. Its central grid measures app. 400x 400m, similar to Barcelona’s super-blocks. The urban structure of Taipei is a dynamic grid which responds to geographical or functional conditions and which generate a great flexibility, in its conception and future development.

This grid can be seen as a new model for urbanity, in which it is possible to discern and acquire new formats of temporal and spatial interaction that functionally expand the limits of our traditional urban systems. From an entire block to a single food stand Taipei shows the different scales of the dynamics. A multiple layers of mobility construct a unique grid in its core. Superblocks functioning as a solid structure with a big scale of activities, transportation and buildings in its peripheries, building up a typical orthogonal grid which becomes a flexible one inside of it: small alleys with smaller uses functioning as a residential neighbourhood just a few meters far from the metropolitan city. These superblocks are one of the expressions of what Taipei means: dynamics, flexibility and mobility, big masses changing during the time allowing multiple activities to happen: night markets, weekend markets and day markets inhabiting streets and infrastructures.

Observations and analyses of Taipei. In a 10-day trip we have been measuring meticulously the streets, night markets and crossing points of Taipei, in order to register the spatial and functional constellation of the city and to discover and describe its most remarkable elements. Additional to the field research there has been presentations and discussions with experts in the field of urban planning in Taipei who provided us with valuable background information. Back in Barcelona Taipei has been precisely registered, drawn and mapped from big scale to small scale, approving its dynamic character in all scales. The results reflect the most interesting and essential ingredients of the unique urban structure of Taipei in a very specific way.

Prototype of Urbanityanacankar