Once again, MovingCities is on-the-move, with Pudong airport -our most boring – gateway to China and the world. Three weeks after our last visit, we were forced to go there again and did exactly the same trajectory. We introduce: Shanghai 上海 and the impact of repetitive urban research.
To set the record straight, with repetitive urban research we do not mean the nuisance that goes along with hearing another academic, expert or official stating that we are at an unique point in history. You know the debilitating rhetoric of someone taking the stage and stating that the half of the world is urbanized and the other half not. No, we don’t talk about the sort of repetition based on blatant laziness. We’re talking about cities as moving through them, not as imaging them through a microphone.
The objective of repetitive urban research is to look better, to look deeper, to see fragments of a fleeting city, to pick up new pieces, to arrange and re-arrange – while repeatedly taking the same road – those architectures one hasn’t noticed before. We’re talking about looking at the city intensely, realizing that more than half of it escapes our senses. Repetitive research happens in those perceived dead moments of movement. The key is to avoid looking at the screen of your mobile phone, texting while speeding along the territory, sleeping while speeding through it.
Repetitive research deals with the periphery of urban research, with exploring the hinterlands of urban thinking and that with the objective to find that point where urban theory stops and a rural one begins. For MovingCities the city only stops in the airport, at the moment when we look outside of the windowseat and see the world disappearing.
You only stop analyzing the city, once you’re above the clouds.
There is something intriguing about repetitive research, as it is forces one to pay attention. When suddenly new cities appear, new suburbs are discovered. We found one located along the highway to the airport. Although we passed here one month ago, we didn’t noticed it at the time. It makes one question if it could be possible that this area was just build up in under one month. Hardly possible, but strongly imagineable.
That is when repetitive research makes you realize you haven’t seen anything yet.
Pictures by movingcities.org