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CITY OF POSSIBILITIES? Explorations on the capacity to imagine alternatives and public participation in the city

Part 2 Dissertation 2008
Kansheng Wu
National University of Singapore Singapore Singapore
A city can be understood as an ecology of people, knowledge and experiences. This web of relations is sensitive to changes. Likewise, a city’s web of relations gains robustness and adaptability through diversity and also, inter- and intra-connectivity. Correspondingly, a study on the city is inevitably a study of the citizens, the city itself and a study of those relations.

Working toward a positive scenario where more possibilities equate to more creativity, the investigation revolves around the issue on how to derive a heterogeneous and diverse set of possibilities from the people and the city. This dissertation therefore sets out to understand a person’s capacity to imagine alternatives from the existing, as well as discovering the methods of enabling and executing that capacity. The figures of both the citizen and the architect are central in this exposition. In addition, the paper examines how the city can encourage and realize these imagined possibilities with a focus on participation in public architecture.

The theoretical framework of hierarchy and meshwork is used throughout the dissertation to describe the structure, relationship and processes that pertain to the city’s web of relations; involved are the city’s and citizens’ connectivity to knowledge, modes of information exchange and the access to sites for action.

Kansheng Wu

Prof Tay Kheng Soon
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