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How can design adequately address social and cultural issues? Check out this fantastic project by MVRD, a Dutch architectural office that has boldly and beautifully addressed an issues of urbanization in East Asia. In recent years, many cities in East Asia have been experiencing pressure to accomodate the influx of people into cities. In an Inhabitat article Bridgette Meinhold writes, "Low-rise traditional villages have been razed to make way for giant buildings, faceless towers and nondescript slabs. Often these buildings have been constructed with little regard for aesthetics, and have poor indoor environmental air quality, little sustainability and even, at times, issues with structural integrity and safety." The pressure to build fast has replaced traditional dwelling and living styles with mass-produced building projects. How can designers address this issue? MVRD's solution has been a creative project with dual implications--they combine the aesthetics of architecture and the aesthetics of presenting information to effectively communicate their idea: The Vertical Village. In essence, their proposal is that city architecture can be designed in a way that preserves the qualities of traditional urban villages rather than the same old identical-block apartments that are sprouting up today. Toward this end, researchers gathered data about these traditional urban villages, as well as architectural plans for new construction. Then, they created an exhibition to illustrate how such plans might be executed. The exhibition opened just last week in Chung Shan Creative Hub of Taipei as a part of the Museum of Tomorrow and it will run until January 2012. It includes presentations of the analytical research, a grid of physical building models, a series of films and software packages to visualize the research and a large, colorful six-meter tall installation that represents a possible Vertical Village. In addition, they designed an interactive platform called "The House Maker" with The Why Factory, where visitors can design their own ideal home. Finally, research and color illustrations are presented in a 528-page book with detailed case studies of urban dwellings in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Djakarta, Seoul, and Bangkok.