An interpretative map of Chengdu and its Garden Cities. This was hung for four months as part of an exhibition at the Centre for City Ecology at 401 Richmond Street in Toronto.
Located in a valley between two mountain ranges, Chengdu is a city with agrarian roots and a strong tea culture. Starting in the 1980s with China’s “Go West” policy, Chengdu became a centre of economic and industrial growth. To house a growing population, large brutalist towers were built on the outskirts of the city, hence segregating the surrounding natural landscape from the urban core.
In this map, Chengdu and its proposed garden cities, to be built by 2021, are overlaid with an earlier 19th century proposal of London’s garden cities by Sir Ebenezer Howard. The similarities between the new and the old are illustrated in the concentric nature of both plans. Chengdu’s proposed garden cities can succeed where London arguably failed, and mitigate what may be called Howard’s fear of the industrial city, replicated in 21st century style.