Even with a very structured economic development plan many countries across Asia have a huge gap between the levels of development of rural and urban sectors. Urbanization, suburban sprawl, industrialization, globalization have dramatically changed the rural and urban areas in their lifestyle and character. Regeneration of urban and rural sectors means the redevelopment and revitalization of the physical infrastructure of the social spaces and economic growth. It caters to the social, economic, and environmental factors of the place and develops them.
In terms of architecture, regeneration comes from the development of the social spaces, urban and rural infrastructure, and city planning. Many countries across Asia have already begun the regeneration process on small and large scales through economic strategies, government schemes, and non-governmental initiatives. Improvised housing, sanitation, proper land use, and health care facilities are also some of the goals of the regeneration programs in Asia. Climate change is another important factor that urges the need to speed up the process of regeneration.
Urbanization is a natural process of the movement of people and the development of an area. Asian countries have been through rapid urbanization growth as a result of past political history and advancements. Asia is urbanizing rapidly but the region’s population is still predominantly rural. However, the urbanization rates vary widely, from 33% in South and South-West Asia and 63 percent in North and Central Asia to 70 percent in the Pacific in 2010.
Urbanization is defined by a set of criteria given by the national and international codes. The criteria for considering a place to be urbanized include population density, economic conditions, development rate, literacy rate, and the built environment. The side effects of urbanization are both positive and negative. Positive changes include better health care, education, and employment which have a short-term impact whereas negative changes like pollution, land degradation will have a long-term impact on the development.
Asia is not only the largest continent but it also has the highest population. Asia’s population is projected to grow to 5.26 billion by 2050, or about 54% of the projected world population at that time. The population density of Asian countries varies but large countries like India and China face difficulty in managing such large population growth.
Large cities like Hong Kong have severe housing problems where people are forced to live in undesirable conditions with poor facilities. Most of the houses are single units occupied by more people than it is designed for making them cramped and uncomfortable. In India, Mumbai has a similar housing problem with a large population density and high land value.
Even though there is land available for housing and commercial activities, the land value is so high that affordability becomes a matter of concern resulting in large urban slums and poor living conditions of lower economic class people.
Many Asian countries like Singapore, China, and Japan have excelled in terms of sustainable infrastructure in urban sectors. Sustainable Architecture has been their key tool to bring about regeneration within the city. It is used to influence the lifestyle and culture of the people. Keeping the traditions alive these countries have proved that changing the infrastructure can have a positive effect on national development in terms of economic, social, and environmental factors.
Singapore is among the top developed nations of the world. Some buildings are oriented towards sustainability called Green buildings like the Gardens by the Bay. Several government schemes also have been a part of the urban planning and built environment which helps in the regeneration process.
Asia has been considered a part of the Second World War due to the participation of several countries. But, there is a significant exception of the industrialized first world countries Israel, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. So the development of the countries in terms of development was relatively low compared to the other countries. While the planet population became predominantly urban in 2008, this ‘tipping point’ won’t occur in Asia before 2026.
Forced migration, internal migration, urban sprawl are some of the urbanization factors that influence the economic conditions of the country which can be controlled whereas uncontrollable natural calamities are one of the major causes of slow economic growth in Asian countries.
Asia has the most important number of megacities within the world. But, what is a megacity? A megacity may be a city that features a population usually over 10 million people. Due to social and economic conditions several cities like Mumbai, Bangkok, Tokyo are among the top cities that pop up while discussing megacities.
In South Asia, internal migration and natural increases contribute to high rates of population growth in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Dhaka, and Karachi. Two Asian megacities are national capitals and primate cities. Due to Liberalization and other political histories, many Asian countries like Japan, China, and South Korea were affected in terms of economics. Tokyo is the largest megacity in the world. Urban regions and Urban Corridors are the most common occurrences in megacities.
For example, the bullet train corridor in Tokyo makes up the Tokyo-Yokohama-Nagoya-Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto backbone of Japan’s development, and the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan Qinhuangdao transportation corridor in Northeast China, are huge mega-urban regions characterized by almost unbroken urban, built-up areas.
Government policies have always been a part of the regeneration process among Asian countries. In India, the government has launched schemes and strategies concentrating on economic growth and technological advancements among which a few are SMART CITIES, Swachh Bharat Mission, HRIDAY, etc. The future of Asian countries seems to be unstable based on the past crises that a few countries like India and Indonesia faced during the past few years. India had a ‘Day Zero’ when the water reservoirs ran dry in June 2019 due to poor water management.
In 2018, Jakarta saw its cities sink and the sea level rise in real-time due to poor water resource management. Ghost cities of China are examples of poor economic activity management. To cope with such dire and drastic consequences the government and non-governmental associations have taken several initiatives that help the counties to progress.
In conclusion, the regeneration of urban and rural sectors of Asian countries is the need of the hour. Several factors that are recently added as global concerns like climatic change and the pandemic urge the need to consider regeneration and revitalization of the planning of infrastructure and economic structure.
23897851 (n.d.). Textures: Urban and Rural Regeneration in Asia. [online] Issuu. Available at: https://issuu.com/sharnesulaiman/docs/textures-_urban_and_rural_regeneration_in_asia
Setiadi, R. and Nalau, J. (n.d.). Asian Cities Climate Resilience Can urban regeneration improve health resilience in a changing climate? Lessons from Indonesia. [online] . Available at: https://pubs.iied.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/migrate/10744IIED.pdf