Remaking China's Great Cities
Space and Culture in Urban Housing, Renewal, and Expansion
By Sam Liang
Routledge – 2012 – 208 pages
Series: Asia's Transformations
This book argues that the production of new urban spaces is a crucial means of state governance in contemporary urban China. The local officials reinforce their political and economic dominance by applying their visions of modernization and globalization to urban planning and regeneration. The implementation of such plans revalorizes the established revolutionary utopianism and authoritarianism by producing radical changes in social space.
The state-led spatial production also spawns broad political and cultural discourses at both elite and grassroots levels. These discourses are instrumental in the contests for power, or financial interests associated with spatial rearrangements, between local officials, corporate elites, and the general public. The complexities of this spatial culture reflect the postmodern and postcolonial conditions of urban China and entail critiques of the official visions of modernity.
Samuel Y. Liang highlights local and historical factors and their negotiation with national and global factors in the spatial production and discourses, and frames them in light of theories of modernist architecture and planning, postmodernism, urban entrepreneurialism, and the continued Chinese revolutionary culture and governance.
Introduction 1. Contradictions in Maoist Urbanism 2. Imaging New Housing: Communal Spectacles and Negative Identities 3. Property Culture: Homeowner Subjectivities and Social Stratification 4. Visions of Renewal and Preservation 5. Culture of Demolition and Nostalgia 6. Beijing’s Mega Projects: Imaging a New Nation 7. Pudong and Suburban Towns: Beyond the Postcolonial 8. Guangzhou’s New Axis: Monumentalizing the "Vernacular" 9. Conclusion
Samuel Y. Liang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA