Congratulations to School of Architecture Director Jeffrey Johnson on the launch of his new book, “The China Lab Guide to Megablock Urbanisms.” Johnson served as co-editor with Cressica Brazier and Tat Lam.
Superblocks are the basic unit of China’s urban development, but they are also spatial instruments with social, cultural, environmental, and economic implications, operating between the scales of architecture and the city. These redefined “Megablocks” then become laboratories for the consequences, opportunities, and potential global proliferation of Chinese urban models, reconsidered through the filters of ecology, economics, and ethics. As the world continues to urbanize, the book positions the Megablock in its variety of hybrid forms as a promise of an adaptable model for future urbanization. It includes contributions from renowned architects, scholars, and urbanists, like Steven Holl, Yung Ho Chang, and Jun Jiang.
“Despite its negative impacts, China’s dominant model for new housing developments—self-contained gated superblock communities—offers a starting point for the reconsideration of mass urban housing and possible hybrid forms. The superblock is both architecture and urbanism, and it provides the basic DNA for large-scale urban development in China,” said Johnson.