Future Visions of the Asian City: Scenario Art and the Utopian-Dystopian Spectrum

Nanthawan Kaenkaew1, Wiporn Kanjanakaroon2, Kanang Kantamaturapoj2, Wannipol Mahaarcha2, *Alan Marshall2, Thamakorn Siritorn2, Patranit Srijuntrapun2, and Yanna Somnas2

1Computer Science Program, Faculty of Science and Technology,  Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, Bangkok, 10300, Thailand.
2 Environmental Social Sciences Program , Faculty of Social Sciences & Humanities,
Mahidol University , Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, 73170, Thailand.
*Corresponding Author: alan.mar@mahidol.ac.th

Volume 6, Number 3, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Article DOI:  10.21659/chitro.v6n3.06

Received September 01, 2016;
Accepted October 19, 2016;
Published October 22, 2016.


 The futures of four different cities, from around Asia, are outlined via visual means using scenario art and interpretive written support. These four cities are: Dhaka (Bangladesh), Altay (Mongolia), Chongqing (China), and Bangalore (India). Their futures are presented in utopian terms, whereby each city aims to be something of an example of an ‘ideal city’ exhibiting widely-shared, socially-benevolent characteristics along with a marked degree of environmental welfare plus an abundant array of city-transforming mega-technology. In the vein of many previous utopian expressions, we offer some explanation about the way each of these four city arrive at a utopian status (by the start of the 22nd Century) along with a description about the social, technological and economic background that may be present then and there. What emerges from this study are four versions of future Green cities that span the spectrum from ‘ecotopia’ to ‘technotopia’ and from ‘utopia’ to ‘dystopia’. This process ends up outlining, via art and design, some of the choices that many future Asian cities may have to involve themselves with as they work to survive the global environmental crisis and become more livable and more sustainable.

 Keywords: Eco-City, Smart-City, Future, Asia, Utopia, Sustainability


Temples of Bengal: Material Style and Technological Evolution

Priyanka Mangaonkar

Architect and Researcher

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Art of Bengal, which was mainly religious in nature, was expressed through the medium of temples. Brick temples of Bengal (built between 16th and 19th century) forms one of the most distinctive groups of sacred monuments in India. Due to multiple artistic influences acting upon the region during this period the Brick temples of Bengal show wide range of forms and techniques of construction.  Hence the temples constitute a coherent series in their architecture and sculpture, characteristically expressed in brick and terracotta. The chronological span also significant coinciding with the emergence of the new Bengali culture. “In fact, the Bengali temples may be viewed as one of the most important manifestations of this regions culture, closely associated with contemporary movements in religion, literature and the arts as well as with broader political, social and economic developments.”[i] Due to the political unification and consequent independence of Bengal; a unique Bengali style of monumental architecture was created which was also an expression of the local idioms. “Another important result of this change was the combination of Hindu and Muslim elements as intrinsic part of Bengali culture: thus, Muslim rulers and monumental Islamic architecture, but Hindu revivalism and religious poetry.”[ii]

In the Footsteps of Hsüan-tsang, in karnasubarna

Sumit Soren

Independent Researcher

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 In those days when there was no discovery channel or BBC; people learnt about distant lands through the travels of brave travelers who undertook perilous journey across thousands of miles. Travelling was certainly not easy in those days when there were no airplanes, motor vehicles or diesel powered ships. Travelling was also not possible through personal endeavor only; often travelers undertook voyage under the patronage or sponsorship of religious institutions or funding from Kings. For these travelers who mainly travelled on foot, caravans or by ships, India was always a favored destination for number of reasons. Stories of the great wealth of India had reached far and wide, the abundance of Buddhist literature and monasteries also invited the travelers to come to India. So we may say India was an attractive destination because of both material and spiritual reason, and thus we find a number of travelers visiting India at different times. Hsüan-tsang, Ibn Batuta, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Francois Bernier all visited India in different times and left for us a reliable picture of life in India in those times.

Art and Architecture of the Temples of Baronagar, Murshidabad

Shyamal Chatterji

Mechanical Engineer and Researcher on Hindu Iconography

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 It was a pleasant morning in February 2010 when we visited the Baronagar temples. A couple of hours of boat-journey along the Ganges brought us from a ‘ghat’ near Hazardurai, Lalbagh to that of Baronagar. After a short climb to the shore, the magnificent sight of neatly kept four-temples complex—famously known as ‘Char Bangla’—came into our view. More were to follow.