This publication summarizes the work of the Nippon-Daira Academic Exchange Program, involving graduate students and faculty from the United States, Japan, Korea, and Canada, which took place in several phases between April and September 1992.
The Nippon-Daira Academic Exchange afforded an opportunity for all involved to confront two challenging circumstances that are becoming increasingly commonplace in the modern field of urban design. The first circumstance is one in which a traditional settlement pattern, natural landscape, or cultural legacy is threatened even while a population’s contemporary activities are constrained by them. If anything, bitter experience has taught us that extreme positions on this issue can be costly. Hard-line preservation, for instance, can unnecessarily limit the scope of human activity, whereas laissez-faire development policies can ruin an otherwise pristine environment.
The second circumstance is the increasingly cross-cultural experience of design itself. Efforts at international cooperation bring up questions of how to interpret and design within an essentially foreign setting, and how to collaborate fruitfully and work as part of a team with colleagues from different cultural and intellectual backgrounds. Both circumstances arise more and more frequently as earlier international barriers to development capital, cultural influence, and building enterprise are lowered.
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Nippon-Daira International Forum Committee & US-Japan Academic Exchange Program