Tag Archives: urban governance

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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The political economy of urban ruins: redeveloping Shanghai

Ren, Xuefei (2014). The political economy of urban ruins : redeveloping Shanghai. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12119. Prepublished online: 10 March 2014.

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.

 

 

Monique Abud

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

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Call for papers: Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies

Submissions are invited from graduate students for a special issue of the Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies (GJAPS): Urban Futures in the Asia-Pacific (Simon Opit, editor, University of Auckland, New Zealand).

Cities are centres of economic, social, political and cultural activity, but they can also be areas of intense poverty, unhealthy environments, dangerous spaces and captivity. With the current unprecedented rates of growth in the Asia-Pacific unlikely to abate it is of great importance that we maximise the potential of urban spaces while avoiding the multitudinous harm that cities can cause. The Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies is calling for papers that provide perspectives on the possible future of urban spaces in the Asia-Pacific.

Such a theme is open to both quantitative and qualitative perspectives on urban spaces and encourages artistic, empirical or theoretical contributions that relate to, but are not limited to any of the following major themes:

  • Examining urban policies that are argued to promote sustainable urbanism and create more resilient, liveable urban spaces.
  • Assessing the potential of future technologies and/or transport initiatives that offer solutions to urban problems.
  • Investigating layers of urban governance structures and how they impact on urban environments and their development, either as a constructive or restrictive force.
  • Analysing our understandings of urban spaces and providing critical review of the current values that underpin urban practices.
  • Detailing and evaluating methodological innovation in the field of urban studies, including new tools and technologies that provide novel ideas and a better of understandings of our urban world.

Contributions are welcome from all fields, including: social sciences and the humanities, architecture and planning, politics and policy analysis, or any other form of urban study.GJAPS interprets the designation “Asia-Pacific” in the broadest sense, to encompass East, Northeast and Southeast Asia, the Malay Archipelago, Australasia, Polynesia and Oceania, the West Coast of the Americas, including California, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, British Columbia, Central and South America.Submissions should be received by 1st of April 2014.

More info here

GJAPS website

Monique Abud

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

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Urban infrastructure governance and urban growth

Call for paper, AAG 2014: Urban Infrastructure Governance and Urban Growth

 Urban infrastructure (e.g. electricity supply, water supply, transportation, communication, etc.) is at the very heart of economic and social development of a city. It provides the foundation for virtually all modern-day economic activity, constitutes a major economic sector in its own right, and contributes importantly to raising living standards and the quality of life. With the continuously expanding urban population and land use, governments are confronted with new challenges for planning & governance of urban infrastructure provision. Meanwhile, many cities, both in China and West, are trying to maintain continuous urban growth by providing more and better urban infrastructure. The majority of China’s cities, for example, are building industrial parks to attract internal and external investments.

The aim of this session is to encourage submissions that address any issues related with urban infrastructure planning & governance and the role it plays in urban growth in China and the West. Both theoretical and empirical research contributions are welcome.

Please e-mail the abstract and key words with your expression of intent to Rongxu Qiu or Yin Yang by November 19th, 2013.

 

ORGANIZERS
Yin Yang, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford. Email:  yin.yang@ouce.ox.ac.uk

Rongxu Qiu,Department of Geography, University of Lethbridge. Email: rongxu.qiu@uleth.ca

 TIMELINE

October 7th, 2013: Call for papers.

October 23rd, 2013: You can benefit from a reduced registration fee if you register for the conference prior to Oct 23 (you can submit your abstract later).
November 19th, 2013: Abstract submission and expression of intent to session organizers.
November 22nd, 2013: Session finalization.
December 1st, 2013: Final abstract submission to AAG, via www.aag.org.
December 3rd, 2013: AAG registration deadline. Sessions submitted to AAG for approval.
April 8th -12th, 2014: AAG meeting, Tampa Bay, Florida, USA.

More infomamtion at the AAG annual meeting webpage

Monique Abud

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

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