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RESTLESS URBAN LANDSCAPES IN CHINA: A CASE STUDY OF THREE PROJECTS IN SHANGHAI

Authors


F. Wu, Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, London WC1H 0QB, United Kingdom. E-mail: WuF@cardiff.ac.uk.

Abstract

ABSTRACT:  This paper investigates the emergence of diversified landscapes in postreform China. The new urban forms are understood as a result of broader changes in the institutional and sociocultural spheres since reform. The commodification of housing provision on the supply side and the rise of a new rich and consumer culture on the demand side have together led to an ever-important role of place marketing in adding to the exchange values of land and buildings. Three projects in Shanghai are further studied in detail to illustrate what has been built and how they are built. It is revealed that, whatever the building style, the landscapes are manipulated to conjure up a certain type of good life by mixed-use packages and distinctive images. Furthermore, a new mode of public–private partnership favoring place marketing and holistic development strategies has also emerged. In comparison with other countries that have witnessed similar urban changes, an important process that China is experiencing is the commodification of urban space under globalization. But the dominant role of the state makes the case of China distinct. How market and global forces could shape the built environment still largely depends on the state's urban policies.

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