Transnational urbanism in the reform-era Chinese City: Landscapes from Shenzhen

  • Cartier C
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While the conventions of area studies scholarship have historically limited landscape analysis in China, the globalisation of scholarship and the new built environments of the reform-era Chinese city invite contemporary assessment. In Shenzhen, China’s leading Special Economic Zone, the planning and construction of a new city centre complex are designed to symbolise the city’s transformation from a manufacturing zone to a ‘world city’ and to function as its service-sector core. This landscape analysis applies the perspective of transnational urbanism to assess how the effort to instantiate ‘world city’ status in the built environment works through plans, ideologies and representations of domestic and transnational e´lites to establish legitimacy. The continuing strong role of the state in China makes the production of a new city centre a state-dominated enterprise; contesting meanings of these new landscapes takes place indirectly and symbolically in the arena of the state’s spiritual civilisation campaign

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  • Carolyn Cartier

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