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Aspects of Urbanization in China

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

Edited by Gregory Bracken
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 212
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  • Book Info
    Aspects of Urbanization in China
    Book Description:

    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. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1306-2
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. List of Tables and Illustrations
    (pp. 7-8)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 9-10)

    • 1 Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou
      (pp. 13-24)
      Gregory Bracken

      Urbanization is as old as civilization. As societies change and develop, urbanization tends to be part and parcel of that development. In fact, the evolution of the city has mirrored human development in a symbiotic way. Mankind’s chief glory has always been its cities. They represent all that is best in human endeavor: the ability to plan, to construct, and to live together in comity. Cities are evidence of mankind’s ability to reshape the environment to better suits its needs, and to exhibit the best that can be produced by human hands and minds, not just in engineering terms but...


    • 2 Towards an Understanding of Architectural Iconicity in Global Perspective
      (pp. 27-46)
      Leslie Sklair

      The relationships between the forces of globalization, capitalism, and postcolonialism that are at work in the architecture of the cities of East Asia today have received relatively little scholarly attention. This chapter rests on the general idea that certain types of architecture can be hegemonic in a class sense, just like other art forms (particularly literature and the plastic arts), and that certain buildings and spaces can and do serve certain specific class interests alongside their recognized use or aesthetic qualities.

      This paper can be seen as a point on the trajectory of investigations I have been undertaking into the...

    • 3 Shanghai and the 2010 Expo: Staging the City
      (pp. 47-58)
      Jacob Dreyer

      Shanghai, 2010: large swathes of the city have been transformed for the International Expo. For the past 20 years, Shanghai’s authorities have been altering the cityscape with ambitious infrastructure projects and showy buildings seeking to enhance the city’s status both abroad and domestically. Simultaneously, the vast economic and cultural changes taking place in China, led by the vanguard city of Shanghai,¹ seem to be altering the nature of the social contract itself and the ways in which urban space is inhabited. The Expo is the latest incarnation of this process. It has not only entailed construction of a contemporary architecture...

    • 4 Guangzhou’s Special Path to Global City Status
      (pp. 59-76)
      Xiangmin Guo and Changtao Liu

      In the last two decades, the pace at which China has urbanized has been extraordinary: the urbanization level in the country has doubled from 25 percent in 1987 to roughly 50 percent in 2010. Presently, the most urbanized areas are distributed along the southeast coast of China and includes the Pearl River Delta cities, the Yangtze River Delta city group, and the Beijing Tang urban groups. In China’s western regions, the Chengdu-Chongqing urban cluster is quietly rising. Urumqi, the western interior’s most important city, is a city that is changing quickly to play a unique role in the mid-Asia region...


    • 5 Repairing the Rural-Urban Continuum: Cinema as Witness
      (pp. 79-100)
      Ana M. Moya Pellitero

      Since 1949, a constant concern in China has been to repair the classical Chinese structure of a rural-urban continuum on a political level and to recover the lost equilibrium between the countryside and the city. For Confucian values, rural life was a container of virtue while cities were centers of corruption. Urban centers in China were traditionally tied to rural values and the countryside via a rural social, administrative, religious, and political structure (Stockman, 2000:47). With the influence of Western powers after the First Opium war (1839-42), cities, mainly those with a semi-colonial status, started losing the traditional Chinese equilibrium...

    • 6 Revisiting Hong Kong: Fruit Chan’s ‘Little Cheung’
      (pp. 101-116)
      Tsung-yi Michelle Huang

      In the 1990s, Hong Kong and its postcolonial present have received much attention among cultural critics. Most of the interpretations suggest the indeterminacy of Hong Kong’s postcolonial condition. For example, Rey Chow argues that Hong Kong’s return to China simply marks the beginning of another era of colonization instead of putting an end to it: Hong Kong’s handover should be understood as a transfer ‘between colonizers’, since the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ means anything but an informed choice by Hong Kong people.¹ Esther Yau also points out Hong Kongers’ contradictory mindset and calls for a careful analysis of local people’s...

    • 7 Sensual, but No Clue of Politics: Shanghai’s Longtang Houses
      (pp. 117-136)
      Lena Scheen

      There is a popular story in Shanghai about a Chinese delegation on a visit to Berlin in 1997. The then mayor of Berlin boasted about the scale and speed of Berlin’s construction work. Li Ruihuan, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), responded that in Shanghai it went probably 20 or 25 times faster, after which the mayor corrected himself saying that Shanghai was the number one construction site in the world. ‘The mayor’s words evoked a burst of hearty laughter.’¹

      Chairman Li’s words were no exaggeration. Ever since the city has been allowed...


    • 8 Urbanization and Housing: Socio-Spatial Conflicts over Urban Space in Contemporary Shanghai
      (pp. 139-164)
      Non Arkaraprasertkul

      Studies of post-reform China from various perspectives have addressed growing societal concerns. The process of post-Mao China’s economic reform began in the early 1980s, and China has since experienced massive growth in export revenues and in the development of its domestic market. This development, as all chapters in this volume address, has led to a substantial movement of the population from rural to urban areas to fuel China’s industrialized economy.

      Urbanization has become one of the key characteristics of contemporary China. The image of today’s cosmopolitan, pro-growth, consumer-driven China has fundamentally altered perceptions of pre-reform China.¹ These characteristics are not...

    • 9 It Makes a Village: Hong Kong’s Podium Shopping Malls as Global Villages
      (pp. 165-182)
      Jonathan D. Solomon

      Hong Kong defies simple solutions. The official slogan ‘Asia’s World City’ suggests a bland and artificial peace with its complex history: junk boats floating serenely past skyscrapers. In fact, Hong Kong’s transition from British colony to global city is characterized by rougher waters. ‘Asia’s World City’ has the right idea: it is precisely Hong Kong’s relationship to the rest of the world that defines its character and its qualities today, from its unique political and cultural institutions to its continued economic rise. Hong Kong, in contrast to post-colonial cities such as New Delhi, Penang, or Jakarta, is able to achieve...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 183-186)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 187-198)
  11. Index
    (pp. 199-208)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-210)