Author Archives: Oriane Pillet

About Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

Jiaju, a remote Tibetan village confronted with tourism

This picture was taken at the entrance of the Tibetan village Jiaju, located near Danba in the mountainous region of western Sichuan. A seeing spot has been set up with a glass railing so that visitors could admire, safely, the amazing view of the Tibetan village from above. The woman in the picture, dressed in a traditional Jiarong style, came two minutes after I, and three other Chinese visitors in their SUV, arrived. She gave a tight smile and started to pose, to the joy of some, and the unease of others…

Why all this orchestration in this remote and peaceful village?

In 2005, Jiaju was selected as the most beautiful village in China by the Chinese National Geographic Magazine.

A journalist wrote:

The village of Jiaju has no doubt benefited as a result of tourism – there are few signs of poverty and many villagers own new cars and sports utility vehicles. But tourism has also impacted the surrounding environment and changed the fabric of the village. Indeed, Jiaju embodies many of the issues China’s minority regions face as the country’s internal tourism industry grows.

He Ming, the director of Yunnan University’s Research Centre of Ethnic Minorities in China’s South-west Frontier, says increased tourism helps foster development of minority regions and increases local incomes. For Han tourists, the experience of visiting minority regions provides a valuable cultural exchange that promotes goodwill between China’s different ethnic groups.

But He says that governments at the federal and local level must take steps to protect the rights and interests of the minority cultures, rather than exploiting them to accommodate Han tourists.(( Mitch Moxley, Inter Press Service, 2010 ))

Thus, the local government’s choices will shape Jiaju’s future. However, it will also depend on the ability of the communities to make their own choices: to develop the image of the “most beautiful village of China” and spread it over the world, or to keep a slice of authenticity by preserving their local identity, practices and architecture from mass tourism and exploitation. Furthermore, if they decide to preserve the authenticity of this place, the next step is to define a way to proceed. Should the UNESCO intervene and impose its Western rules in terms of heritage conservation? Or should the local government create an new system, which combines some Western practices in terms of heritage conservation with new Chinese ones?

 

 

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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New methodology for the analysis of urban competitiveness of chinese cities

Ni Pengfei, Kresl Peter, Li Xiaojing (2014), China urban competitiveness in industrialization: Based on the panel data of 25 cities in China from 1990 to 2009, Urban Studies, January 29, 2014.

There is a consensus in China that industrialization, urbanization, globalization and information technology will enhance China’s urban competitiveness. We have developed a methodology for the analysis of urban competitiveness that we have applied to China’s 25 principal cities during three periods from 1990 through 2009. Our model uses data for 12 variables, to which we apply appropriate statistical techniques. We are able to examine the competitiveness of inland cities and those on the coast, how this has changed during the two decades of the study, the competitiveness of Mega Cities and of administrative centres, and the importance of each variable in explaining urban competitiveness and its development over time. This analysis will be of benefit to Chinese planners as they seek to enhance the competitiveness of China and its major cities in the future.

Full article available here.

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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The Second Conference of Chinese Industrial Architectural Heritage, Chongqing

Bulletin n°55 (2012), The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage (TICCH)

Yiping Dong

Since the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) started to pay attention to Industrial Heritage officially in 2006, the academic dis- cussions have grown rapidly and reached some conclusions. The Industrial Architecture Heritage Academia Committee (IAHAC), which is the first organization about IH in China, was founded under the Architectural Society of China (ASC) in 2010’s first conference of Chinese Industrial Architectural Heritage in Beijing. During this first Conference, the IAHAC raised the “Beijing Proposal” about saving Chinese Industrial Heritage, under the Nizhny Tagil Charter in 2003 by TICCIH and Wuxi Proposal in 2006 by SACH, and planned to continue the conferences every year.

The Second Conference in November last year (2011) was held by two Universities, Tsinghua and Chongqing, with support by SACH and ICOMOS China.

There were five sessions: 1) IH with regional perspective; 2) IH Conservation and Urban Regeneration; 3) Case Study on local IH; 4) Space Pattern and Transformation of Industrial buildings; 5) Industrial landscape and Art. Along the meeting, there were two exhibitions, one of old industrial images in Chongqing, and another about conservation design throughout China. Twelve key speeches in the first day were mainly about the survey and conservation of urban industrial sites in Chongqing, Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, which are now facing the rapid urban development, then the session discussion for the second day with 28 papers, following a great excursion about Chongqing’s IH. There were almost 2000 delegates and 75 papers, which doubled the 2010 meeting.

The high density speeches and session discussions show some trends in China’s IH research. Firstly, the geographical region of research has been enlarged, from the highly industrialized eastern coastal area and traditional industrial region to the mid-western such as Sichuan, Yunnan, Henan, Gansu, etc. Secondly, the time frame is no longer focused on the Westernization Movement (ca. 1860-1900) or before 1949, more papers discussing the first Five-year Plan (1953-1957) period and more closer period, the industrial construction aided by Soviet Union. Thirdly, some thematic topics emerged such as railways, including the Yunnan- Vietnam Railway (1889) and Chinese Eastern Railway (1896). Value analysis of IH, survey and recording techniques, and combining Creative Industries with IH, etc. The last but not least is the focus about relation of Reuse and Conservation. Sme argue for Reuse as the final destination, and others insist that conservation is the most important issue, and reuse is just a method. This divergence resulted from the concept misunderstanding. Industrial Heritage is still a vague term in the Chinese context, and needs more clarification, while the selection of IH sites is quite a subjective process, lacking overall technological assessment.

As the organizer and participants and are mostly in architecture and urban planning, the discussion paid more attention to space issues and regeneration, while the historical perspective, especially technological history and social history of industry, are nearly absent from the dis- course. The contamination problem of former industrial area hasn’t got enough attention. The next step should be getting more fields involved.

Other good news about IH in China: The Third National Monument Survey by SACH (2007-2012) is closing, having identified thousands of industrial sites, buildings and machines. The former Capital Steel Plant areas in Beijing, the Chinese Eastern Railway, are selected as the top 100 new discoveries from this Survey.

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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Construction of Chongqing Industrial Museum, Dadukou district

The old industrial district of Dadukou, located in the south of Chongqing, is being revitalised after the Chongqing Iron and Steel Company Limited, Chong Gang, moved out 65km away from the inner-city in 2006. The project of urban renewal will preserve the site’s history with the construction of the Chongqing Industrial Museum, and will establish spaces for new creative industries and develop urban systems and services. The Chongqing Industrial Museum Company is in charge of the project with international architects and designers partners. For this occasion, the Statue of Chaiman Mao will be moved inside the museum.

A worker on the scaffolding prepares to move a statue of Chaiman Mao in Chongqing while two men are watching as cranes move the statue covered in red . This is the first time that the city moved a Mao Statue. The cement-made statue was built by a factory in the city in 1968 during the “cultural revolution” (1966-1976). It was abandoned when the factory moved in July 2012. The site around the statue is being rebuilt into a storage yard of a logistic company. The statue will be moved to the newly built Museum of Chongqing Industry, which showcases the city’s industrial history and achievements.[Photo/icpress.cn]

Chongqing moves Chairman Mao statue

Source: ChinaDaily

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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The socio-spatial structure of the inner-city of Nanjing

Qiyan Wu, Jianquan Cheng, Guo Chen, Daniel J. Hammel, Xiaohui Wu (2014), Socio-spatial differentiation and residential segregation in the Chinese city based on the 2000 community-level census data: A case study of the inner city of Nanjing, Cities (39) 2014, Pages 109-119. 

This article reveals that the policies of the socialist era and the initial outcomes of the introduction of a free market, particularly with regard to the creation of new elite spaces within the inner city, have shaped a complex pattern of socio-spatial differentiation and residential segregation.

The paper is organized as follows. Section ‘Urban socio-spatial differentiation in the context of China’ provides a brief overview of the literature on urban residential segregation and socio-spatial differentiation in the context of China, followed by a justification of the data set and methods selected in Section ‘Methodology’. Section ‘Results’ focuses on interpreting and discussing the results from a series of statistical analyses that shed light on the characteristics of residential segregation and spatial structure in the case of inner-city Nanjing.  Finally, it is argued in Section ‘Discussion’ that the inner city area of Nanjing has experienced massive residential  segregation caused by the dualistic dynamic structure of housing differentiation resulting from a growth-led urban housing market and persistent institutional bias with regard to housing redistribution at the turn of  the 21 st century.

Full article in Cities. 

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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Redeveloping Shanghai with urban ruins

Ren, X. (2014), The Political Economy of Urban Ruins: Redeveloping Shanghai. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38: 1081–1091. doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12119

Abstract

This essay analyzes the political economy of the urban ruins captured in Greg Girard’s photo album Phantom Shanghai. Rather than being marginal, irrelevant or merely objects for nostalgia, the ruins of buildings produced by real estate speculation offer crucial insights into the workings of the urban political economy and reflect wider trends of urban governance. Examining how building ruins come about in the first place and how they are represented in visual media can help us better understand the processes of urbanization and place making, and the central role of destruction in contemporary Chinese urbanism. This essay illustrates this point by analyzing the economic function, political legitimation and cultural significance of demolitions and ruins in urban China.

Full article available in the International Journal of Urban Research. (pdf)

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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Urban resilience, an integrated approach of urban reconstruction

Lixiong Liu, Yanliu Lin, Shifu Wang (2014),  Urban design for post-earthquake reconstruction: A case study of Wenchuan County, China, Habitat international (2014) 290-299.

How to reconstruct a post-earthquake area by protecting the safety system and creating public spaces while considering the involvement of different stakeholders in the process of urban design? In the case study of Wenchuan County in China, a top-dow integrated approach contributed to promote economic growth and to enhance the quality of life within the city in the long term, but it seemed that this rapid reconstruction driven by public authorities has lead to new issues between urban resilience and the dynamics of the real estate market, and between the daily need of habitants and the new open spaces.

Urban design is a matter of collaboration between various disciplines, resulting in three-dimensional urban forms and an enhancement of the quality of urban life (Waterman & Wall, 2009). The “quality of life” associated with the built environment includes not only the physical characteristics of the place, such as the diversity of open space (Allan & Bryant, 2010), but also the social attributes of the environment, such as the sense of neighbourhood (Chapman & Larkham, 2007), increased vitality and safety, available amenities and facilities (Carmona, De Magalhaes, Edwards, Awuor, & Aminossehe, 2001). Contemporary urban design theories are concerned with shaping city and urban spaces to encourage social activities within the urban fabric, create positive social interactions, satisfy ecological needs, mitigate the negative effects of urbanization and promote economic growth (Clancy, 2011). The key principles of such theories include places for people, enriching the existing, making connections, working with the landscape, mixing uses and forms, managing the investment and designing for change (Davies, 2007). Some recent urban design literatures also focus on vision development, strategy-making and the role of key stakeholders in the production of space (Lin and De Meulder, 2012 and Salet, 2006).

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Weizhou Town was severely destroyed during the earthquake. In the process of reconstruction, priority was given to “higher levels of safety and earthquake resistance” that is one of the main concerns of urban design in earthquake-prone areas (see Ciborowski, 1982). As a considerable amount of arable land was lost and the majority of industrial facilities were damaged, how to promote economic development became a key issue of the town. Considering that there were many tourism attractions in the surrounding area (such as traditional Qiang stockade villages) and the town became famous after the earthquake, the development of tourism was thus adopted as a new strategy to promote economic growth. Consequently, three visions were proposed in the Urban Design for the Reconstruction of Weizhou Town (2009). Firstly, Weizhou Town was to be the ‘Sunshine Gokseong’ of Sichuan Western Qiang areas – a safe and ecological town. In order to realize this vision, a series of actions (e.g. the creation of three large evacuation squares and the recovery of the ecosystem in the surrounding mountains) were performed. Second, Weizhou Town was to be an important node of the Xiqiang Cultural Corridor. It was not only the memorial base of the earthquake, but also a cultural and historical town with traditional Qiang stockade villages. Third, Weizhou Town was comprised of a part of the Western Sichuan tourism system. The construction of memorials and tourism facilities and the improvement of the infrastructure fulfilled the demands of both tourism development and the town’s inhabitants. The three visions of the urban design project were related to the town’s long-term vision, namely to become ‘a provincial level historical–cultural site, a tourism town, a traffic hub, a political centre and an ecological zone’ (Recovery and Reconstruction Plan of Weizhou Town (2008–2020)).

Overview of institutional arrangements in the formulation of urban design project for the reconstruction of Weizhou Town. (Source: authors’ drawing.)

Full-size image (65 K)

Full article available on Habitat International, n°36.

 

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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Restructuring inner city brownfields into creative spaces : new modes of local urban governance

Philipp Zielke, Michael Waibel (2014), Comparative urban governance of developing creative spaces in China, Habitat International 41 (2014) 99-107. 

Converting old industrial districts into new creative spaces is becoming a new challenge for chinese post-industrial cities as it implies “material” and “symbolic” benefits for urban stakeholders. As a consequence, new modes of urban governance are emerging consolidating  the powerful role plays by the local government as a key decision maker  in the promotion of creativity within the city. From “creative spaces” to “spaces of controlled creativity”?

The objective of this paper is to analyze and compare the governance of emerging creative spaces in China over time. The development of the most prominent creative spaces in Beijing and Shanghai will thereby be compared to the development of creative spaces in the Pearl River Delta, the latter being globally known as “factory of the world,” representing the archetypal economic model of China’s First Transition.

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This paper argues that the governance of creative spaces can be described as a path from informal experiments at the local micro-level to the development of a comprehensive toolset of mainstream policies at the municipal level. This happened in face of the shifting acknowledgment of creative industries from the national level. Consequently, Beijing and Shanghai became spearheads regarding the legalization of creative spaces. This paper further shows that within the institutional milieu of creative spaces, the local state acts as a very pragmatic key decision maker. In conclusion, the local state plays several decisive roles in the course of the development of creative spaces: a transformer of land use rights, a regulator in developing a legislative framework, a mediator between former operator and real estate developer, an investor and distributor of public funds, a supervisor and manager of the local economic development and last but not least a supervisor of creative spaces.

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AsKeane (2011: 2) has argued, culture, innovation and creativity are often inter-linked and co-dependent. This is especially true for China, after the country had joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 (Keane, 2005: 270). Many politicians around the globe regard creativity as the “magic bullet”  (Hall, 2000: 640) for economic development, providing new jobs, all with little or no investments from municipal budgets. Further, creativity is utilized as a tool of “urban place-making and marketing” ” (Daniels, Ho, & Hutton, 2012: 5; Kearns & Philo 1993), to build an image of a modern and attractive city in the post-Fordist age. These attempts must be seen in the context of increased global competition among cities to attract investors and the highly educated creative class (see Bassett 1993: 1779; Bianchini, 1993: 1). The value of creative spaces lies not only in economic possibilities, but in their intrinsic value (Sauter, 2012) as vehicles for the preservation  of cultural heritage and promotion of the arts.

Full article available on Elsevier.com

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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The city of Suzhou rewarded for its best practices in sustainable urbanisation

The city of Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014 for its demonstration of sound planning principles and good urban management.

The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is co-organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore and the Centre for Liveable Cities. It aims to honour cities which tackle urban challenges through good governance and innovation. The prize places an emphasis on practical and cost effective solutions and ideas in order to facilitate the sharing between cities accross the world of best practices in urban solutions and sustainable urban development.

Suzhou has undergone remarkable transformation over the past two decades. The significance of its transformation lies in the city’s success in meeting the multiple challenges of achieving economic growth in order to create jobs and a better standard of living for its people; balancing rapid urban growth with the need to protect its cultural and built heritage; and coping with a large influx of migrant workers while maintaining social stability.

For more information, see the web-page of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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China releases plan to incorporate farmers into cities

The government plans to move 215 millions people from rural areas to cities by the year 2025. One of the results awaited by the Chinese government by sustaining urbanisation is the creation of a consumer culture driving Chinese economy and raising standard living. But this plan will generate side effects concerning the integration of farmers moved into cities such as the lack of infrastructures (transports, houses, schools, hospitals) and the restricted access to public services for the people who are still registered as rural residents while they live since many years in the city. 

“Currently, nearly 54 percent of Chinese live in cities, but only 36 percent are registered as urban residents (…). The plan calls for integrating 100 million of these second-class citizens, so that by 2020, 60 percent of Chinese should be living in cities, with 45 percent enjoying full urban status, the plan states”.

According to urban planners, to make this plan effective, the government will have to carry out two complementaries reforms which are taxe reform, in order  to give more financial capacity to local authorities for investing into infrastructures, and farmers’ land rights reform, in order to give them the choice to keep or live their land. Two major reforms still however in the planning phase, according to Tao Ran, the acting director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy

 

For more information, read the full article: Johnson, Ian. China Releases Plan to Incorporate Farmers Into CitiesThe New York Times, March 17, 2014. [Retrieved March 19, 2014].

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris – Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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