Category Archives: Shanghai

Remaking China’s great cities

Samuel Y. Liang (2014) Remaking China’s great cities. Space and culture in urban housing, renewal, and expansion, London, Routledge, 256 p. Contents

China’s rapid urbanization has restructured the great socialist cities Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou into mega cities that embrace global capitalism. This book focuses on the urban transformations of these three cities: Beijing is the nation’s political and cultural capital; Shanghai is the economic and financial powerhouse; and Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong Province and the regional center of south China. All are historical cities with rich imperial, colonial, and regional heritages, and all have been drastically transformed in the last six decades. This book examines the cities’ continuous urban legacies since 1949 in relation to state governance, economic reforms, and cultural production. By adopting local historical perspectives, it offers more nuanced accounts of the current urban change than the modernization/globalization paradigm and conceptualizes the change in the context of the cities’ socialist, colonial, and imperial legacies. Specifically, Samuel Y. Liang offers an overview of the urban planning and territorial expansion of the great cities since 1949; explores the production and consumption of urban housing, its spatial forms, media representations, and socio-political implications; and examines the state-led redevelopment of old urban cores and residential neighborhoods, and the urban conservation movement.

Read also

Planning and its discontents: contradictions and continuities in remaking China’s great cities, 1950–2010. Urban History, 40, p 530-553. doi:10.1017/S0963926812000752.

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Shanghai, the Star of China’s movie industry

brill

After a relatively long absence, China’s movie industry is booming again.

The cinema of China experienced its golden age in the 1920 and 1930’s, most of the studios  were locat’d in the city of Shanghai

Huang Xuelei recently (University  of Edinburgh) published a book on this subject and exposed the story of the most influential studio of this time : Mingxing (明星) film company.

This book can be ordered 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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Urbachina’s WP5 workshop at LSE

LSE2

Stephan Feuchwang, leader of Urbachina’s work package 5 “Urban development, traditions and modern lifestyles” organised a workshop at the London School of Economics and Political Science on 25 and 26 September. During the workshop, the researchers from this team (Zhang Hui, Luo Pan, Wang Xiaoxia, Jude Howell, Paula Morais, and Renate Krieg) shared their findings for discussion and comparison not only with each other, but also with our two scientific advisers who have vast research experience in urban life and planning in China, Dan Abramson and David Bray, and with a number of others who have conducted research on urban life and governance in China and other parts of the world, including Europe.

The task of this work package on ‘urban development, traditions and modern lifestyles’ has been to investigate how new municipal institutions interact with residents, who bring to their urban relocation ways of organising themselves and improvise new ones. The focal topics were urban government, self-government and social sustainability.

Field research was conducted between March 2012 and April 2014 in the four cities selected by the UrbaChina consortium: the two large cities of Shanghai and Chongqing, and the two medium sized cities of Kunming and Huangshan. It is the most extensive systematic research on urban communities, as well as the most recent to date. One of the main results has been the deconstruction of the very conception of community, as a policy concept and an instrument of governance.

Miguel Elosua

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

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A study on urban regeneration of Shanghai

Han, Ling and Jin-Young Kim (2014). A study on urban regeneration of Shanghai. Advanced Science and Technology Letters, 52 (SUComS 2014), pp.179-183. Retrieved 2 September 2014 from: http://dx.doi.org/10.14257/astl.2014.52.30

The historical buildings in the city imply the history of development as well as symbolize the identity of the city. The historical landscape of the city in the modern times premised in the preservation has had conflicts with modern development consistently. However, entering 2000s, Shanghai is actively carrying out the urban regeneration project. Accordingly, this study aims tointroduce the process in which Shanghai has developed and turned its historical sites into a contemporary cultural complex. In addition, the research analyzes the practical cases and suggests effective development of the creative industrial complex, introducing the policies related to urban regeneration of Shanghai.

Read full text online

 

Monique Abud

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

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Old and New by Kevin Schoenmakers

This is the first post in a series focusing on photos of China, taken under Creative Commons licenses. These will relate to the themes of UrbaChina: territorial expansion, migration, urban communities, sustainability, etc.

This photo taken by Kevin Schoenmakers in 2013 highlights the contrasting urban landscape of Shanghai. In the foreground, we can see an early 20th century lilong in the Zhabei District, Shanghai, and in the background, a new high-rise. The Zhabei District transformed after the Communist liberation in 1949, when destroyed buildings and shanty towns were razed to build new residential areas. That transformation continued in the 1990s when shikumen houses (such as the ones in the picture) were demolished to make way for new constructions built to meet Shanghai’s target development. The district’s low housing prices make it an attractive place for migrants and is often described as “up-and-coming”.

Kevin Schoenmakers is a Dutch photographer currently living in Shanghai. You can see more of his photos of China on his Flickr or his website.

Aurélia Martin

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

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China’s emerging eco-cities

Zhongjie Lin (2014), Constructing Utopias: China’s Emerging Eco-cities, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina. ARCC Conference Repository, 2014 .

Each year about 16 millions of China’s rural residents – equivalent to the total population of the Netherlands – are moving into cities. This trend has continued for nearly two decades in this “largest mass migration ever seen in human history” (David Harvey). Amid such dramatic demographic shift and the resulting construction boom are ambitious plans throughout China to create new towns to house swelling population and to sustain economic growth. A series of prototype eco-new towns have been proposed in this wave of mass urbanization. They are often conceived as exemplary piece of urbanism showcasing the latest design and environmental technologies in town building, and represent a new chapter in China’s continuing effort of organized urbanization as a strategy to address complex economic and environmental issues.

This paper studies three eco-new town projects, including Dongdan Eco-city, Binhai Eco-city, and Qingdao Eco-block. They were intended as “models” to showcase the best practice in planning and development and to provide duplicable experience for other cities in the country. The paper examines these eco-new towns through the lens of urbanism and utopianism, focusing on the relationship between place making and social development. These projects were either initiated by the governments or created by private organizations or joint ventures, demonstrating different strategies of developing eco-city and representing different political and economic agendas. However, they were all encountered some dilemmas due to the current land policies and prevalent patterns of urban development in China, which indicates more fundamental issues to tackle to move toward a sustainable society. Studying China’s emerging eco-city movement from design and policy perspectives, this paper contribute to the understanding of new patterns of urban growth in our globalized era, and shed a new light on the strategies of dealing with the current environmental crises.

 Full text of the paper

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Shanghai 1993 by Yang Hui Bahai

Couverture Bahai

Yang Hui, known by his artist name Bahai, was born in Shanghai. He is a photographer and painter, who graduated from the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing. In 2010, àContreVue published an album of some of Bahai’s first photos of Shanghai in 1993, with the help of roots contemporary and Bergger. The àContreVue association’s mission is to support the work of photographers who have an alternative and humanist vision of our world (read more at their blog).

Yang Hui Bahai, painter, started photography when he returned to his hometown of Shanghai in 1992, after having spent three years in France. Camera in hand, he captures the changes in a city he believed his own but no longer recognises.

Since then, he has done one black and white story after another, snapshots of daily life: the last teahouses of Zhejiang Province, popular culture and religious traditions. Every season, he leaves his studio to capture shots based on chance encounters and then brings his pictures to life in the secret of his darkroom.

This selection depicts the inhabitants of an uncompromising Shanghai… A modern young woman turning away her eyes with disdain from a display of “shanghainese chickens” or fan repairers laughing behind their bowls of rice alcohol, those faces of seventeen years ago, serious or not, each tell the story of their city. They call the changes in Chinese society into question.1

These are the photos which inspired Françoise Ged’s book, Shanghai, presented last week. To learn more about Yang Hui Bahai visit his website and online photo gallery.

Photo by Bahai. All rights reserved.

Photo by Bahai. All rights reserved.

  1. Translated from the cover of this album. []

Aurélia Martin

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

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Shanghai by Françoise Ged

ged-shanghai

Ged, F. (2014). Shanghai. L’ordinaire et l’extraordinaire (Shanghai. The ordinary and the extraordinary). Paris: Buchet-Chastel.1

Shanghai is the mythical city par excellence. Able to renew itself cyclically, to continually rebuild, we could believe it locked in an absolute present, removed from its history, recent or ancient, without memory.

But what is true of the early 2000s is not necessarily so today. A leading city, a “laboratory” city, Shanghai has undergone some major upheavals. With large-scale constructions finished, the city turns to other sites and reclaims its history as it reclaims its territory. Society is primarily involved in these new adventures, which herald the face of China in years to come. Throughout this journey from the 1980s to the present day, Françoise Ged guides us through this city where the ordinary and the extraordinary exist side by side. Yang Hui Bahai’s photographs punctuate her narrative like guiding lights, signs of a disappearing era, to be replaced by a time not yet realised.2

Next week will have a post with more information on the Chinese photographer Bahai.

  1. Françoise Ged is in charge of the Observatoire de l’architecture de la Chine contemporaine at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine. []
  2. Translated from the back cover of this book. []

Aurélia Martin

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

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Urban heroes

Captura de pantalla 2014-07-17 a las 22.00.09

It’s becoming very rare to read about heroic citizens helping out victims in the midst of an aggression. In many Western cities, aggressors act with impunity, perhaps due to increasing judicial leniency, perhaps because aggressions are more and more violent and examples of acts of heroism ending badly abound.

Therefore, I was surprised to learn about this brave 64-year-old Shanghainese bank cleaner, Gu Jinfang, who did not hesitate for a second to wield her mop at a 35-year-old thief, in order to help capturing him. The burglar had run up huge debts betting on the World Cup, and held a hostage with a knife he had just taken from a nearby restaurant. It would be interesting to know about the train of thought or the value system of this amazing woman that led to taking such a bold action against the attacker.

Shanghai is particularly well known for being safe. The concept of a bad neighbourhood should be re-thought altogether since here it has no similarity whatsoever with what we understand by that in the West. On the other hand, Chinese assaulters sometimes remind me of the bicycle thieves in Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece. One can easily be moved by and have an emotional attachment with the assaulter, especially knowing the kind of punishment that he might receive for such an offense.

To see the news footage on CCTV, please click here: http://news.cntv.cn/2014/07/15/VIDE1405422106010328.shtml

Miguel Elosua

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

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Working paper UrbaChina no.3 now online

The UrbaChina team is pleased to announce the publication of the 3d UrbaChina working paper entitled “Urbanisation in China: regional development and co-operation among cities“.

This paper, edited by prof. Du Debin (HUADA) and prof. Huang Li (HUADA), examines the regional patterns of urbanisation in China and co-operation among Chinese cities. By studying the case of Shanghai, the authors show that the central government’s objective is to develop regional urban clusters and to promote exchanges and relations on a regional basis.

The UrbaChina working paper no.3 is now available on open access at the hal-FP7 UrbaChina paper collection.

Recommended citation: Du, D. & Huang, L. (2014). Urbanisation in China: regional development and co-operation among cities (UrbaChina Working Paper no.3, July 2014). Paris: CNRS. Retrieved from http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01023259

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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Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou

418533_coverAspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou by Bracken can be found at the OAPEN Library, an online resource for freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Bracken, G. (2012). Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Abstract

China’s rise is one of the transformative events of our time. Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou examines some of the aspects of China’s massive wave of urbanization – the largest the world has ever seen. The various papers in the book, written by academics from different disciplines,represent ongoing research and exploration and give a useful snapshot in a rapidly developing discourse. Their point of departure is the city – Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou – where the downside of China’s miraculous economic growth is most painfully apparent. And it is concern for the citizens of these cities that unifies the papers in a book whose authors seek to understand what life is like for the people who call them home.

OAPEN Library also provides a list of alternative platforms to acquire the book. For more information, click here.

Aurélia Martin

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

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The study of festival tourism development of Shanghai

Tang Congcong, The study of festival tourism development of Shanghai,   International Journal of Business and Social Science, March 2014.  ISSN 2219-1933 (Print), 2219-6021 (Online)

In recent years, the festival tourism as a new form of tourism products in the rapid development of China, won the local governments’welcome. Various regions are hold many different types and content of festival activities, but at the same time, how to set up own brand festival did not cause the attention of the government. Research planning creative festival tourism, can better meet the demand of tourism consumers, improve the visibility of the city and drive the development of regional economy, It will further promote the healthy development of festival tourism.
This paper first introduces the related concepts and characteristics of festival tourism;
Second analyzes the development status of Shanghai festival tourism and the existence questions;
Then, to Shanghai Tourism Festival as an example for empirical analysis, analyze the influence of festival tourism on city. At last, according to the problems put forward constructive Suggestions, in order to provide reference for the sustainable development of festival tourism in Shanghai.

 

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Shanghai street stories = 上海街头故事

Shanghai street stories = 上海街头故事. Retrieved 24 June, 2014,  from http://shanghaistreetstories.com/

The pace of urban development in Shanghai is as swift as it is unrelenting and its impact is far-reaching in both the positive and negative.

I photograph and collect stories in Shanghai, seeking to capture the lives of ordinary Shanghainese and 外地人 or “waidiren” in the city, as well as the process behind the city’s rapid urbanisation.

My work is a mix of photojournalism and street photography. The former allows me to cover a wider gamut of topics such as old architecture, individual stories, lifestyle, while the latter is indicative of a style of photography I sometimes prefer. 

For interviews I have given about photography, blogging and Shanghai in general can be found on the Published Work page.

To learn more about how the website is set up and the plugins that run the blog, read “The Anatomy of My Blog: An Amateur’s Tale (and Tips!)“.

Read the blog : http://shanghaistreetstories.com/

More information about the author and the blog itself

 

Monique Abud

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

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Nanhui city

A Journey to Nanhui, China’s Ghost City on the Coast
By Wade Shepard, Blog Vagabond Journey, Published on June 20, 2014

The first thing that many visitors to Shanghai will see is a ghost city. If you look down out of the window when flying into Shanghai’s Pudong airport from the south, right at the point where Hangzhou Bay and makes landfall, you will see a nose-like protrusion of land sticking out into the water. On the tip of this nose is a strange assemblage of concentric circles radiating out from a perfectly circular lake. If you hear your fellow air passenger’s exclaiming, “What is that place!?!” their reaction is appropriate: no other city in the world looks like Nanhui. As you curiously peer down you will not see many people, cars, or signs of life. This is not because the people are hiding, it’s because they’re not there yet. Nanhui is another of China’s full scale new cities that are being built from scratch, ever expanding the frontiers of urbanization.

(…) This circular city, which formally went by the names Luchao Harbor City and Lingang, is a $5.6 billion satellite development 60 km from the core of Shanghai in the far southeastern corner of Pudong. It was built for one reason: to serve as an urban center to support the nearby Yangshan Free Trade Zone, which includes the Yangshan Deep Water Port and the Lingang Industrial Zone. The economic sparks caused by these catalysts are expected to eventually bring 800,000 people into Nanhui by 2020, turning it into a commercial and tourism epicenter on an otherwise uneventful coastline. (…)

Read the full text

Watch the video to get a better look at this place

 

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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City besieged (weicheng-围城)

Shanghai

This week, Shanghai put in place extraordinary security measures to ensure the smooth progress of the 4th summit of the CICA (Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia), which host the presence of Russian president Vladimir Putin. In the light of the recent wave of terrorist attacks, and the delicate situation in Ukraine, the city implemented the most stringent security measures, including the decree by the local government of a public holiday.

It is well known that in ancient China, as in many other territories, walls were once the most frequent form of city protection. In China, the city was arranged in a series of concentric squares whose importance descended moving outwards. The centre would not only include a palace but the central administrative zones or yamen (as can be seen in the Forbidden City), which would be surrounded by inner walls. The outer city served other administrative functions and would also include markets and rural areas outside the urban cluster but enclosed within a second outer wall. This would safeguard resources in time of war.1

With the development of gunpowder, the height and thickness of these walls increased. However, in modern times, revolutions, banditry, and the rise of terrorism have proven that walls are useless, particularly when the threat comes from within. New special police forces, such as the French Brigades du Tigre, appeared at the beginning of the 20th century to deal with these new types of aggressions. They were mobile forces that had all the technological advances of the time at their disposal to better protect the city. The police came up with methods to build virtual walls inside the city that could be created ad hoc for guaranteeing security in such events as a head of state visit.  These virtual walls consist of sealing off an area of the city, controlling passage within its perimeter. This would have been particularly useful in preventing the assassinations of the tsar Alexander II of Russia or the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, attacked in their carriage by individuals unnoticed in the crowds of people that gathered in the streets to welcome them (in the case of the Archduke, the carriage’s itinerary had been published).

Being in Shanghai this week was a good opportunity to see how modern Chinese cities enforce security measures to protect themselves from eventual attacks. Apart from the standard measures adopted by many cities in the West during important events, which includes the enclosure of critical areas forming virtual walls, blocking off cars and suspects from getting inside the secured perimeter, as well as the closure of metro stations within these areas, there were two specific developments that drew UrbaChina’s attention:

  • The local government decreed May 21st a public holiday for public schools and offices.2 Private schools and businesses were left the choice to decide whether to give holidays to employees or continue working as usual. As for schools, a good number of them, even though they are located far away from the city centre, seconded the government’s decision (see photo below of American School of Shanghai, which has a campus in a relatively tranquil area of Pudong). The main reason behind this measure was the traffic disruption that hindered commuting.

School closed

  • The number of volunteers mobilised to assist the police was more than 300,000 according to the Shanghai Daily,3; especially impressive was the scale of their operation, which included to some extent invasion of private property, and their smooth mobilisation. Residential buildings in critical areas were swarmed by police, neighbourhood committees (juweihui-居委会), and volunteers, who were posted at every floor (in a city with thousands of high-rise buildings one can understand why such a large number of volunteers is necessary to protect certain areas). At the base of every building, a checkpoint was improvised. Interestingly, neighbourhood committees supervised the deployment of volunteers at the residential compounds, which played an important part in making sure the whole operation was carried out smoothly.

All this gives a glimpse of the hypothetical state of emergency that could ensue in cities should terrorist attacks intensify: the city besieged, by security forces and a legion of volunteers.

 

  1. Victor F. S. Sit (2010) Chinese City and Urbanism, Evolution and Development, World Scientific. []
  2. shizhengfu bangongting yinfayaxin fenghui” zhaokai ri fangjia anpai de tongzhi-市政府办公厅印发“亚信峰会”召开日放假安排的通知http://www.shmec.gov.cn/html/article/201405/73172.php,last accessed on 22 May 2014 []
  3. “300,000 volunteers to assist police in maintaining order” http://www.shanghaidaily.com/metro/public-services/300000-volunteers-to-assist-police-in-maintaining-order/shdaily.shtml, last accessed on May 22, 2014 []

Miguel Elosua

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

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