Category Archives: Shanghai

Shanghai future

Anna Greenspan (2014), Shanghai Future. Modernity Remade, London, Hurst.

China is in the midst of the fastest and most intense process of urbanisation the world has ever known, and Shanghai — its biggest, richest and most cosmopolitan city — is positioned for acceleration into the twenty-first century.

Yet, in its embrace of a hopeful — even exultant — futurism, Shanghai recalls the older and much criticised project of imagining, planning and building the modern metropolis. Today, among Westerners, at least, the very idea of the futuristic city — with its multilayered skyways, domestic robots and flying cars — seems doomed to the realm of nostalgia, the sadly comic promise of a future that failed to materialise.

Shanghai Future maps the city of tomorrow as it resurfaces in a new time and place. It searches for the contours of an unknown and unfamiliar futurism in the city’s street markets as well as in its skyscrapers. For though it recalls the modernity of an earlier age, Shanghai’s current re-emergence is only superficially based on mimicry. Rather, in seeking to fulfill its ambitions, the giant metropolis is reinventing the very idea of the future itself. As it modernises, Shanghai is necessarily recreating what it is to be modern.

Anna Greenspan is a Shanghai-based philosopher who focuses on urbanism and digital culture. She teaches at New York University in Shanghai.

 

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Still some red dust in Shanghai ?

years of red dustI recently read Qiu Xailong’s “Years of red dust”. This collection of short stories first published in France in 2008 describes daily life in one Lilong of Shanghai named “Red dust”, from 1949 to the mid-2000’s.

By looking at residents’ personal story, we can better understand China’s recent history and the impacts of some events (the Korean war or the Cultural revolution) on people’s daily life. Life in this lilong is not easy and people lack intimacy and  space; they have to endure other residents’ curiosity, but this can also be a place where they can find some friendship.

The last story of this book takes place in 2005. We can wonder if we can still find the “Red dust” lilong in today’s Shanghai. Maybe this place has been developed into a high rise building or a commercial center? But, actually this does not really matter. Because, people have not disappeared. Of course, we may not encounter “Old hunchback Fang” anymore and “ the iron rice bowl” has been broken down. But relations between residents may not have changed that much, inhabitants are still driven by ambition, love, and other feelings.

To me, the main message of this book is that cities are not made of concrete, cement and so on.., but they are made of inhabitants. This is also what I have learned with the UrbaChina programme. Cities do not exist without people, and so urban policies should focus on inhabitants and their well-being,… and policies should be made by inhabitants.

An interview of Qiu Xiaolong is available here.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Peri-urban development and the Shanghai master plan 1999-2020

He, Jinghuan. (2015) Evaluation of plan implementation: Peri-urban development and the Shanghai master plan 1999-2020. Architecture and the Built Environment, 2. 262 p.

cover_article_851_en_USSince the 1980s China has experienced unprecedented urbanisation as a result of a series of reforms promoting rapid economic development. Shanghai, like the other big cities along China’s coastline, has witnessed extraordinary growth in its economy and population with industrial development and rural-to-urban migration generating extensive urban expansion. Shanghai’s GDP growth rate has been over 10 per cent for more than 15 years. Its population in 2013 was estimated at 23.47 million, which is double its size in 1979. The urban area enlarged by four times from 644 to 2,860 km2 between 1977 and 2010.

Such demanding growth and dramatic changes present big challenges for urban planning practice in Shanghai. Plans have not kept up with development and the mismatch between the proposals in plans and the actual spatial development has gradually increased, reaching a critical level since 2000. The mismatch in the periurban areas is more notable than that in the existing urban area, but there has not been a systematic review of the relationship between plan and implementation. Indeed, there are few studies on the evaluation of plan implementation in China generally. Although many plans at numerous spatial levels are successively prepared and revised, only few of them have been evaluated in terms of their effectiveness and implementation.

This particularly demanding context for planning where spatial development becomes increasingly unpredictable and more difficult to influence presents an opportunity to investigate the role of plans under conditions of rapid urbanisation. The research project asks to what extent have spatial plans influenced the actual spatial development in the peri-urban areas of Shanghai? The research pays particular attention to the role of the Shanghai Master Plan 1999-2020 (Plan 1999). By answering the main research question this study seeks to contribute to a better understanding of present planning practice in Shanghai from a plan implementation perspective, and to establish an analytical framework for the study of the role of plans that fits the Chinese context. The findings may also help planners, policy makers and private developers to adjust urban planning within the implementation process in order to meet planning objectives at different levels.

The evaluation of plan implementation can be divided into peformance-based and performance-based approaches Conformance approaches focus on the direct linkage (i.e. level of conformity) between the plans and spatial outputs (Laurian et al., 2004; Tian & Shen, 2011). Performance approaches are concerned more with outcomes and the role of the plan in the urban development process (Barrett & Fudge, 1981; Faludi, 2000). Both of these approaches are employed in this research to evaluate the implementation of the Plan 1999. I firstly examine the level of conformity between the Plan 1999 and the overall peri-urban structure at the metropolitan level. I then use examples of specific areas (North Jinqiao Export Processing Zone and Xinmin Development Area) to evaluate performance of the Plan 1999.

The study also takes a diachronic approach, which looks at how relationships between variables change over time in the implementation of the Plan 1999. That is because the performance of plans is influenced by deeper-seated reasons such as the changing institutional context, particularly the levels of interaction between involved actors in the land development processes. As such, the changing planning system in Shanghai and the history of Shanghai’s peri-urban development in the second half of the 20th century are reviewed before the conformance-based and performance-based evaluation.

This research leads to three major findings. First, peri-urban areas have played an increasingly important role in Shanghai’s urbanisation process through accommodating the rapidly increasing population and demands for growth. Such extensive peri-urban development was not guided by the Plan 1999. It is not surprising that plans are left behind in the context of such unprecedented growth, but the pilot programmes and the key projects proposed in the Plan 1999 were implemented with a high level of conformance. However, the Plan 1999 performed differently in local urban projects, with varying degrees of project conformity, development process and development timing.

Second, there was variation in the delivery of the main objectives to the subsequent urban plans, the consistency between the Plan 1999 and the related sector plans, the ways of interaction between involved actors and their reactions to the plan, and the methods of land development. Overall, the Plan 1999 performed better in the case of North Jinqiao Export Processing Zone because the governments (at both national and municipal levels) intervened more in the development process, compared with the case of Xinmin Development Area. The performance of the plan is closely related to the level of conformity between the plan and the actual development. Therefore, although the conformance-based and performance-based approaches to implementation can be separated conceptually, they are very interconnected in practice.

Third, the urban planning system in Shanghai has experienced a structural reorganization in terms of the system of plans, the involved actors and the planning instruments since the late 1980s. But the emphasis on the rational technocratic process used in the 1960s in the western society is still predominant in the planning system in Shanghai. Aside from the demanding urban growth, the other reason of non-conformance between the actual peri-urban development and the Plan 1999 and bad performance of the Plan 1999 in local projects is a big gap between the seemingly rational operation of the urban planning system and the reality of external challenges.

The current planning system lacks proper coordination with the external challenges, such as insufficient investigation of the existing circumstance or history, and ineffective planning instruments. Cooperation between involved actors is also largely absent in planning practice. Overall, urban planning and management in Shanghai could benefit from more recognition and monitoring of plan implementation which would lead to some reconsideration of the planning tools and processes to more effectively guide future urban development.

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Shanghai choosing quality over quantity?

Last year, Shanghai’s GDP growth rate reached 7%. Although this figure is impressive according to European standards, it is lower than the national rate of 7.4%

This year, the Shanghai government has decided not to set a growth target. It is the first Chinese city to abandon GDP growth forecasts. The objective of this policy is to switch from growth at all costs to sustainable and innovative development.

More information to be find at: Wildau, G. (2015). Shanghai first major Chinese region to ditch GDP growth target. January 26, 2015, The Financial Times. Retrieved February 14, 2015 from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2c822efc-a51d-11e4-bf11-00144feab7de.html#axzz3Ro8Q8zl9.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Fantasy islands

Sze, Julie (2015). Fantasy islands : Chinese dreams and ecological fears in an age of climate crisis. Oakland : University of California press. 248 p. (“A Philip E. Lilienthal Book in Asian Studies”). ISBN : 978-0-5202-8448-7.

11623.110The rise of China and its status as a leading global factory are altering the way people live and consume. At the same time, the world appears wary of the real costs involved. Fantasy Islands probes Chinese, European, and American eco-desire and eco-technological dreams, and examines the solutions they offer to environmental degradation in this age of global economic change.

Uncovering the stories of sites in China, including the plan for a new eco-city called Dongtan on the island of Chongming, mega-suburbs, and the Shanghai World Expo, Julie Sze explores the flows, fears, and fantasies of Pacific Rim politics that shaped them. She charts how climate change discussions align with US fears of China’s ascendancy and the related demise of the American Century, and she considers the motives of financial and political capital for eco-city and ecological development supported by elite power structures in the UK and China. Fantasy Islands shows how ineffectual these efforts are while challenging us to see what a true eco-city would be.

Contents

Introduction
1. Fear, Loathing, Eco-Desire: Chinese Pollution in a Transnational World
2. Changing Chongming
3. Dreaming Green: Engineering the Eco-City
4. It’s a Green World After All? Marketing Nature and Nation in Suburban Shanghai
5. Imagining Ecological Urbanism at the World Expo
Conclusion

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Recalling life in the alleyways


Harvard University Assistant Professor Jie Li’s recent book, “Shanghai Homes:Palimpsests of Private Life,” is a micro history and memoir that collects the stories of generations living in two Shanghai longtang (lane).

Assistant professor Jie Li at Harvard University still remembers the two old women living downstairs who often argued over the communal kitchen, although she has been living in the United States for more than two decades.

Part of her childhood, it happened in an alleyway in today’s Yangpu District in northeast Shanghai, called You Bang Li. Out of a sense of nostalgia, Li published a book this year about the people and events that went on in the alleyways of Shanghai.

She came back to her home city last week to speak about her book to Historic Shanghai, an organization founded by expats that studies the city’s history. The book, “Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life,” is a micro history and memoir that collects the stories of generations living in two Shanghai longtang (lane) during various periods.

The book is available in Shanghai bookstore.

Post by  Lu Feiran | December 12, 2014 Read the full text on Shanghai daily.com (B

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Shanghai as a city of juxtapositions

Jeffrey Wasserstrom (2014) , Shanghai as a City of Juxtapositions  Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development, Volume 5, Number 3, Winter, p. 371-374 | 10.1353/hum.2014.0028 Available on Project Muse.

Abstract

Shanghai has long been seen as a city of juxtapositions, a reputation that first took hold when it was divided into foreign-run and Chinese-run districts in the nineteenth century. More recently, though, it has become an open question as to whether the most striking juxtapositions in the metropolis relate to cultural difference or chronology. This essay explores this theme, paying particular attention to how, in the twenty-first century, its people sometimes see Shanghai as a meeting point between the past, the present, and the future.

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Fudan launches online platform for researching findings in social sciences

dvnPoweredByLogoBy Yang Meiping | December 30, 2014, Tuesday | Shanghai Daily Online Edition

Fudan University officially launches an online platform to store social sciences data this afternoon and is inviting individuals, organizations and governmental institutions around the world to publish and share research findings on it.

All published data can be found for free at http://dvn.fudan.edu.cn.The platform is developed in cooperation with Harvard University’s Dataverse Network. Registered users can also apply to authors via the platform for information not fully publicized, Fudan said.

The platform has been tested since June with 1,377 data sets stored by Fudan researchers and 57 now completely open to the public.

More researching findings are expected to appear after its official launch, the school said.

http://dvn.fudan.edu.cn/dvn/

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Which type of urbanization better matches China’s factor endowment

Wen, Guanzhong James and Jinwu Xiong. (2013) Which type of urbanization better matches China’s factor endowment : a comparison of population-intensive Old Puxi and Land-Capital-Intensive New Pudong. Frontiers of Economics in China, 8(4), pp. 516-534. URL: http://journal.hep.com.cn/fec/EN/10.3868/s060-002-013-0026-2 (Retrieved 10 December 2014)

Based on a comparative study of New-Pudong (East Shanghai) and Old-Puxi (West Shanghai) in their respective ability to absorb rural migrants, the very essence of urbanization, this paper finds that, constrained by the current hukou (household registration) system and land tenure system, although New-Pudong has emerged as one of the most modernized urban areas in the world, it did so under an urbanization model that is government-dominant and characterized by high land-intensity and capital-intensity. This model represents a serious mismatch in terms of China’s factor endowment that is characterized with a large but relatively poor rural population. In sharp contrast, guided by the market mechanism under private land ownership and free migration, Old-Puxi emerged as an urbanization model that was very adaptable to China’s factor endowment and stage of development. Therefore, as a model of endogenous urbanization, Old-Puxi is more efficient and inclusive, at the same time more sustainable economically and environmentally, and for this reason more applicable to China at a time when China needs to urbanize most of its rural population urgently to avoid the further worsening of the rural/urban divide and income disparity.

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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A tale of two eco-cities: experimentation under hierarchy in Shanghai and Tianjin

Miao, Bo and Graeme Lang. (2014) A tale of two eco-cities: experimentation under hierarchy in Shanghai and Tianjin. Urban Policy and Research. Prepublished December, 3, 2014. DOI: 10.1080/08111146.2014.967390

Two ambitious ‘new city’ projects were launched in China during the past 15 years—the ‘Dongtan eco-city’ project in Shanghai and the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City project in Tianjin. Both have received much international publicity and attention. However, the Dongtan project has stalled, and will evidently not be revived, while the Tianjin project continues, albeit with more moderate goals. We analyse the two cases, using the concept of ‘experimentation under hierarchy’ to show why one project is proceeding, while the other has failed. The key factors were strong international inputs of expertise and funds in the Tianjin project, along with crucial support from the central government, both of which were lacking in the Dongtan project.

近15 年来,中国搞了两个宏大的“新城”计划,一个是上海东滩生态城,一个是中国与新加坡合资的天津生态城。这两项工程都在国际上造出了许多舆论,也得到许多关 注。然而,东滩项目半途而废,显然不会再度启动,目标比较温和的天津项目倒是一直在进行。本文用“科层制度下的实验”这一概念,分析这两个案例,说明为何 一个项目得以延续,另一个却以失败告终。我们认为关键因素是天津项目有强大的国际专家团队和国际资金投入,而且,关键是得到了中央政府的支持,而这些因素 东滩项目都没有。

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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The new megacities

As reported by the SCMP, last week, China’ State Council launched a new megacity category to urban planning.

Beijng, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen and Chongqing will fall into this category. Special policies may regulate these megacities. Will this new satus limit migrants’integration into megacities?

Full article available here.

 

 

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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A boy being photographed by his family, and a boy being abandoned by his family

Emperor2

The first photo was taken on 21 November 2014 in Pudong New District, Shanghai. The second was taken in Guangzhou, and was featured in an articled written by Alex Millson, and published by the South China Morning Post on 2 April 2014. They reflect two consequences of the CCP’s policies. The first one might be a result of the One-Child Policy, the second of the absence of a comprehensive social security system. According to the article, the city closed the doors of a “baby hatch” just after two months of its opening due to the overwhelming number of children who were abandoned, all of them ill or disabled.

Captura de pantalla 2014-11-21 a las 10.40.43

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Utilities networks and urban fabric in China: the quest for an environmentalization in the framework of an accelerated development

Thesis defense of Rémi Curien1: Services essentiels en réseaux et fabrique urbaine en Chine : la   quête d’une environnementalisation dans le cadre d’un développement accéléré – Enquêtes à Shanghai, Suzhou et Tianjin (Utilities networks and urban fabric in China: the quest for an environmentalization in the framework of an accelerated development – Field surveys in Shanghai, Suzhou and Tianjin)

Members of the Jury

  • Sabine Barles, Professor of urban planning, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, president of the thesis committee.
  • Catherine Chevauché, Deputy Director of Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development at Safege, Suez Environnement, examiner.
  • Olivier Coutard, CNRS Research Director, LATTS, supervisor.
  • François Gipouloux, CNRS Research Director, UMR 8173 Chine, Corée, Japon (EHESS), referee.
  • Dominique Lorrain, CNRS Research Director, LATTS, examiner.
  • Franck Scherrer, Professor of geography and urban planning, Université de Montréal, referee.
  • Zou Huan, Professor of architecture and urban planning, Tsinghua University, examiner.

Abstract

Environmentalising the country’s development without significantly changing the pace of economic and urban growth: such is the difficult challenge set since 2006 by the Chinese authorities to deal with the increasing pressure bearing on natural environment and major environmental damage caused by accelerated development. China is probably the only country in the world where a goal of energy and environmental sobriety in the provision of urban utilities (water, waste-water, electricity, gas, heating, waste management) is so vigorously sought in circular economy policies, more specifically in eco-industrial parks and eco-cities projects, in the context of a strong and extended economic and urban development. Based on an investigation conducted in Shanghai, Suzhou and Tianjin, three cities at the forefront of transformations in China, and combined with a study of the national framework and the overall situation in the country, the thesis aims to analyze the substance and the forms of the urban utilities’ environmentlisation implemented in China. Our research shows that the ambitious Chinese policies of urban utilities’ environmentalisation leads in the cities to a partial improvement in the environmental quality of their provision, while the horizon of sobriety and circular economy remains distant. The prevalence of the developmentalist urban fabric stands structurally in the way of the emergence of resources reuse-oriented alternative technical systems to conventional networks. The urban utilities’ environmentalisation path taken in the Chinese cities is too technocentric and too exogenous to urban planning for the environmentalisation and especially the quest for sobriety to be more substantial. Operationally, these findings encourage a greater integration of utilities’ provision issues in the planning and development of cities, both in China and beyond the Chinese context.

Date

November, 21, 2014, at 2:30 pm

Location

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (Cité Descartes, 6-8 Avenue Blaise Pascal, 77455 Champs-sur-Marne, France) – Amphithéâtre Navier

If you wish to attend  this event, please contact Rémi Curien (remi.curien@enpc.fr).

  1. ENPC-CNRS-UPEM,  http://www.latts.fr/remi-curien []

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Beijing©, Shanghai ®

megacitiesCan Chinese cities be branded?

City authorities can no longer aim solely for improving their residents’ living standards, they also need to become attractive to visitors and investors, and so they create their own brands. This branding is necessary because of the increasing competition among cities.
Earlier this year, Per Olof Berg and Emma Björner edited a book on the branding of Chinese mega-cities. This book proposes different perspectives on this phenomenon by comparing Chinese mega-cities (that is to say Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shenzhen) and other international mega-cities. It studies several aspects of China’s mega-cities, from promotional films (chapter by Marina Svennson) to the emergence of green cities (chapter by Jorgen Delman).
For Berg and Björner, city branding is more complex than corporate branding, because, firstly, cities may have more images than companies; and secondly, unlike companies, the ownership structure is not clear. Who actually owns the city? Who decides on a city brand? This question is clearly linked to governance.
This interesting book is divided into three parts. After looking at the development of mega-cities in China, the contributors offer several case studies of city branding in China, and then analyse Chinese mega-cities’ global competitiveness.
In Chapter 16, Can-Seng Ooi notes that some Chinese cities copy other cities and construct similar brands, but the author also argues that this trend is adopted not only by Chinese cities, but most international mega-cities as well. Although they pretend to offer a unique experience to visitors and investors, most mega-cities are emulating each other. They simply do not want to risk being too different, because they want to be recognisable as world-class mega-cities, so they adopt similar policies.

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Lilongs – Shanghai 里弄 – 上海 by Christine Estève and Jérémy Cheval

9782916981000Christine Estève and Jérémy Cheval (2010). Lilongs – Shanghai 里弄 – 上海. Montpellier: Mon Cher Watson.

In Shanghai as elsewhere, the old town fades away while a powerful and modern city emerges. The lilongs, surrounded by skyscrapers, still attest to the humanity and the particular history of the city – they remain the evidence of a bustling environment, with varied typologies, a conservatoire of the Shanghainese lifestyle.

This gucit unTiansd i discreet sites of traditional habitat, in a tour of a city caught between two eras.

Written in 3 languages, Chinese, French and English, this gucit book looks at i lilongs around Shanghai that have stood up to the pressure of Shanghai’s rapid urbanisation. With the help of maps and illustrations, each lilong is clearly located (including GPS coordinates) and described in detail. This gucit also includes explanations of what lilongs are and their history, and several passages on Shanghai’s history as well.

 

Aurélia Martin

Chargée de communications et des médias pour l’UMR Chine Corée Japon (CNRS)

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