Wen, Wen (2012) Realizing ‘four comforts’ in the urban fringe : the case of White Horse Lake Eco-creative City Project, Hangzhou, China. International Journal of Cultural Studies. 15(3) pp. 273-285.
This article examines a cultural and creative industries park project – the White Horse Lake Eco-creative City on land outside the urban centre of Hangzhou, China, which uses an imaginary rural lifestyle as its key attraction. By analysing government policies and development plans, and through interviews with initiators, managers and creative practitioners, the article first assesses the geographical position, that is, the impact of locality with regard to both hard and soft infrastructure of the project; it then examines the synergies and tensions embedded in the strategic goals, that is, to build the right city for ‘four comforts’ (siyi, 四宜) – for residence, for business, for travel and for culture. The article concludes that Chinese-style cultural conversion remains locked in a top-down ideological framework, one that rural residents and the new ‘creative class’ are expected to respect.
China is currently experiencing the fastest growth in bike-sharing in the world, with thirty-nine bike-share systems in place, with the latest addition from last month in Aksu, near the the Kyrgyzstan border. At the head of the thirty-nine cities sits Hangzhou, which currently runs the world’s largest bike-sharing program, with over 60,000 bikes in service. That’s 40,000 more than the Vélib bike-sharing program in Paris, France.
Yet, at the same time, bikes have lost the wide appeal they once had in China. “In 1950, as a status symbol, every citizen had to have three things: a watch, a sewing machine, and a bicycle”, says professional fixed gear cyclist, Ines Brunn, who has lived in China since 2004. In the last decade, however, Brunn observes that the bike has become an image of the past and a mode of transport for those who cannot afford cars. However, local governments and their citizens in China and Taiwan are recognizing that more needs to be done to promote cycling as a commuter mode and a recreational activity, beyond implementing more bike-sharing programs.