China

The Right to Envision the City? The Emerging Vision Conflicts in Redeveloping Historic Nanjing, China

July 8, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Hao Chen (Nanjing University), Lili Wang (Southern University of Science and Technology), and Paul Waley (University of Leeds) | Our study takes place in Laochengnan (old city south, literally translated), a historic area in the old city of Nanjing, China. Nanjing used to be the ancient capital of China's ten dynasties and is famous for its historic heritage. The Laochengnan area is located in the south of the old city, comprised of thousands of traditional houses inherited from Ming or Qing dynasties. Because of its long-standing history and rich folk culture, many local people and scholars regard it as the cultural root of Nanjing. As in many other Chinese cities, Laochengnan faced the threat of redevelopment. Since 2006, the local government has tried to transform the area into a high-end residential area and a commercial and business district. Such entrepreneurial plans triggered widespread and intense tensions and conflicts between local governments, local cultural activists, national cultural elites, the central government, and local residents. These tensions and conflicts are, our research shows, organized around three competing urban visions – entrepreneurial redevelopment, historical conservation, and community conservation. Read More

Participatory Representation in a Non-Western Context: The Case of Homeowner Associations in Beijing

June 23, 2021 // 0 Comments

By Ting Guan (Beijing Normal University) and Tao Liu (Zhejiang University) | Conventional wisdom suggests that representation is closely linked to democracy and its related political and organizational institutions such as democratic elections and constitutional states (Pitkin 1967). However, if we look back in history, neither the concept nor the practice of representation has necessarily been linked to democracy or elections. Moreover, contemporary scholars have shown clearly from a theoretical approach that political representation and representative claims exist in non-democratic settings. In this study, we have explored participatory representation in the Chinese context, to better understand its operational mechanisms and functional logic. Read More

Roles and Motivations of Planning Professionals Who Promote Public Participation in Urban Planning Practice: Two Case Studies from Beijing, China

March 26, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Lin Zhang, Pieter Hooimeijer, Yanliu Lin, and Stan Geertman | Public participation in urban planning is a contested issue in China. Despite the official rhetoric of a harmonious society and changes in the legal framework that formalize the involvement of citizens in planning processes, many hold that the current practice is highly symbolic and aimed at placating the population rather than at empowering it. External forcing of the current system by environmental threats, social change and technological innovation may be more pertinent than the desire to change the system from within. However, this might overlook the role of the professionals. We expect our study to contribute to the international debates on the management of urban affairs in general and on public participation in urban planning in particular by exploring these in an authoritarian context. Read More