urban planning/renewal


urban planning/renewal
Urban planning in China has undergone a sea-change in the past quarter-century. Many assumptions associated with planning’s links to socialist, top-down paradigms of economic development, spatial uniformity and social egalitarianism have been shelved. Similarly, assumptions characterizing the 1949–79 period, when national leaders sought to transform cities from places of capitalist consumption to centres of socialist production, have increasingly been undermined as the reforms of the Deng era have proliferated. Local autonomy has become more commonplace, land markets have been de-tethered from central control, foreign direct investment has mushroomed, and urban planning has facilitated an ever-wider diversity of urban spaces, forms and contexts.
As Chinese cities increasingly become foci of social change and magnets attracting millions of rural migrants, they are being reconfigured according to both master plans (mandated under the State Council’s City Planning Ordinance of 1985) and private initiatives. One key aspect of this widespread urban reconfiguration is associated with ‘renewal’ (zaisheng) Often this ideal has been tantamount to demolition and rebuilding, as sites perceived to be obsolete and stultifying have been transformed into places more suited to progress and profit.
In fewer cases, local planners are beginning to broaden their notions of what constitutes ‘renewal’ by taking into consideration how best to thread new designs into older spaces. In 2003 examples of this more amplified approach can be seen in larger cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and (as often occurs in Chinese urban development), these are likely to be harbingers of ever-more diverse instances of urban design experimentation throughout China.
Leaf, Michael (1998). ‘Urban Planning and Urban Reality under Chinese Economic Reforms’. Journal of Planning, Education, and Research 18: 145–53.
Yan, Xiaopei, Jia Li, Li, Jianping and Weng, Jizhuan (2002). The Development of the Chinese Metropolis in the Period of Transition’. In John R.Logan (ed.), The New Chinese City: Globalization and Market Reform. Oxford: Blackwell, 37–55.
Yeh, Anthony Gar-on, Xu, Xueqiang and Yan, Xiaopei (eds) (1997). Urban Planning and Planning Education under Economic Reform in China. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong, Centre of Urban Planning and Environmental Management.
JEFFREY W.CODY

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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