Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat

Jigsaw City: AECOM's Redefinition of the Asian New Town
Author: Clare Jacobson and Daniel Elsea

ORO Editions, 2016

Cover:   Paperback, 312 pages

Language: English

ISBN: 978-1-935935-52-0

For the better part of the last century, Asia’s cities have seen explosive population growth, leading to entirely new forms of urban development that, when done properly, maximize density without negatively impacting urban lifestyles. A new book by Clare Jacobson and Daniel Elsea examines AECOM’s role in facilitating urban planning and new development over the last several decades. Entitled Jigsaw City: AECOM’s Redefinition of the Asian New Town, the book showcases the global firm’s philosophy of creating new urban environments that enhance and sustain existing cities.

The term “Jigsaw City” refers to the concept that the challenges of increased urbanization are pieces of an interdependent puzzle that must connect in order to achieve proper quality of life. In fact, the book identifies four particular puzzle pieces that AECOM considers in all developments: governance, transportation, size, and density. Much of the book is devoted to AECOM’s work in Hong Kong in order to illustrate how the firm derived its philosophy of urban development. These earlier descriptions lay the groundwork for the ongoing projects that are detailed later.

Throughout, comprehensive descriptions of individual developments are peppered with richly detailed graphics that provide supplemental data on populations, densities, and infrastructures through maps and visual cues. While the book mainly focuses on AECOM’s myriad developments in Asia, it ends on a call to the reader to consider the greater regional needs and impacts of these growing metropolises in recognition of the fact that– even on city-wide scales – projects are always just one element of a larger urban development.

Reviewed by Benjamin Mandel,
CTBUH Communications Associate