Remaking Chinese Urban Form: Modernity, Scarcity and Space, 1949-2005

1st Edition

Duanfang Lu

Published April 4, 2011
Reference - 204 Pages
ISBN 9780415665698 - CAT# Y117223
Series: Planning, History and Environment Series

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In this pioneering study of contemporary Chinese urban form, Duanfang Lu provides an analysis of how Chinese society constructed itself through the making and remaking of its built environment. Drawing on archival documents, professional journals and her own fieldwork, she explores hitherto overlooked issues including the history of China’s residential planning paradigms and the development of the work unit as an urban form.

Lu shows how China’s quest for modernity created a perpetual scarcity as both a social reality and a national imagination. Although planners attempted to apply modern planning techniques to the city, the realization of planning ideals was postponed. The conflicting relationship between scarcity and the socialist system created specific spatial strategies. The work unit – the socialist enterprise or institute – gradually developed from workplace to social institution which integrated work, housing and social services. The Chinese city achieved a unique morphology made up in large part of self-contained work units.

Today, when the Chinese city has revealed its many faces, Remaking Chinese Urban Form presents a refreshing panorama of the nation’s mixed experiences with socialist and Third World modernity which is both timely and provocative.


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