Wednesday, March 4, 2015

[Upcoming Seminar] Trapped in Transformation: Negotiating Inner City Redevelopment in a Chinese Coastal City

Trapped in Transformation: Negotiating Inner City Redevelopment in a Chinese Coastal City

Speaker: Philipp DEMGENSKI (PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Time: 12:30 p.m., 6 March, 2015 (Friday)
Venue: Room 401 Humanities Building, New Asia College, CUHK


This talk addresses a growing urban planning predicament in contemporary China: the gridlock in inner city redevelopment. The old centre of the coastal city of Qingdao is home to diverse colonial architecture but is in a state of serious disrepair, overcrowded, and offering poor living conditions. Under the umbrella of “old housing renovation” (舊房改造) and “preservation-oriented development” (保護性發展), the city government has been trying to push for gentrification through spatial reconfiguration and human resettlement. This endeavour has, however, been largely unsuccessful and the project continues to stagnate. 

Ethnographic research helps explain what lies behind this ongoing developmental deadlock. Different groups of urban society entertain contested views regarding the “correct” meaning, usage, and appearance of the inner city. The state’s inability to handle this reflects some very fundamental issues in China’s current attempt to change its urban development and governing practices. Centrally propagated agendas, local government practices, and people’s reactions to and expectations towards the government are largely at odds with each other. This points to an essential paradox: the growing focus on “culturally sensitive” and more “humane” urban development, as well as peoples’ increased ability to influence urban planning--these being some of the key reasons for the current stagnation of urban redevelopment--have actually ended up antagonising most people involved. This shows the challenges China is facing in managing its urban future. 


Seminar Poster

No comments:

Post a Comment