The coming Kerouac

Signers of the so-called Asian Highway Agreement will convene their first meeting in a little less than a month, where they'll discuss what the BBC calls a "new Silk Road... expected to start in Tokyo and terminate in Istanbul – passing though North and South Korea, China and countries in South-East, Central and South Asia."

[Image: The Asian Highway Route Map].

It will, of course, look remarkably like yet another sprawling, concrete motorway system – but no matter. You'll be able to drive from Japan to Finland without leaving the highway system.

[Image: An insanely uninspiring view of the AH1 near Bangkok, from the Asian Highway project's own photo gallery].

What exactly will this new Silk Road allow you to see? Here's a list of tourist attractions just waiting to be driven past – as well as a warning that the superhighway may help the spread of AIDS.
Meanwhile, I'd say give it 10-15 years once construction is complete before a new Kerouac goes riding that route, driving 90mph into the Himalayas, passing through Isfahan, arriving on the shores of the Bosporus, his or her mind-bending manuscript in hand... (Or maybe just a book about the first trans-Asian BLDGBLOG roadtrip).
Meanwhile, see this earlier post on your favorite source for Asian highway news (scroll down toward the bottom).

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

beyond AIDS, what is particularly interesting is how pavement will transform landscapes. from soghdiana to t'ang china--and from bursa to baghdad, and so on--land travel has spurred the drive to build cities, reststops, and, well, what i would call 'symbolically potent structures' (and the reverse: great cities/goods bring traffic, and thus routes build themselves). so, e.g., in the age of camel travel (see _The Camel and the Wheel_ by Richard Bulliet), caravanserai cropped up at convenient rest points. what kind of architectural culture, then, will survive/triumph in an age of pavement and high-speed road travel?

November 19, 2005 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the highway material: photocatalytic cement

April 10, 2011 8:13 AM  

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