Chinese Megablock Urbanism: a Tool of limitless Urbanization in an Unprecedented Speed and Scale

This abstract has open access
Abstract Summary
By studying cases in the Pearl River Delta region of south China, to explain how megablock urbanism shapes Chinese cities with unprecedented speed and scale? In what way can the study of megablock typologies in the Pearl River Delta, deliver better insight in terms of process and scales of Chinese urbanization? Louis Wirth’s concept of ‘city-ness’, or what he terms ‘Urbanism’, frames the co-dependencies between the city, it’s structure and the variety of social bodies that inhabit it. ‘Urbanism’, in Wirth’s terms, produces the city as a spatial-technological entity, socially held together within a specific organizational model of individuals, institutions and expressed relationships, balanced against inhabitant’s norms, standards of behavior attitudes. (Wirth, 1938). In the Chinese context, the ‘collective’ has stood central to its urbanisms and processes of urbanization [Lu, 2006]. As a state where ownership and territoriality are retained by a socialist system, the basic elements of this model has remained the creation of collective housing founded on publicly owned land. From the ‘neighborhood-unit' (邻里单位), ‘working-unit’ (单位大院), to ‘commodity housing’ (商品房) (Lu, 2006), these practices gradually shape Chinese cities in “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” urban fabrics: megablocks. ‘Mega’ infrastructure in cities, or better yet, megablocks, embody the antithesis of open and transparent entities. Beyond its organization with the physical network (transportation or public service), they impact the urbanization process in terms of speed and scale. Since 1978, the Chinese population has risen from 18% to 57.35% in 2016 (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2017). Between 1991 and 2000, 83% of the Shanghai’s residential compounds have become enclaves, with Guangdong alone witnessing the formation of 54000 closed-off compounds, covering more than 70% of the city surface and housing more than 80% of its population (Pu, 2013). Broadly speaking, former and ongoing studies of Chinese urbanization is yet to provide a clear perspective of megablock development, both in terms of the unprecedented context and its spatial impact. This paper is to address concerns pertaining to the megablock phenomenon; its impacts on urban morphology as well as its prevalent strategies as urban model. The paper hopes to touch upon the links between planning and the eventual morphological expression of megablock development, and possibly argue for the cultivation of an urbanization practice that needs to become systematic in its sustainable focus and outcomes. References: Wirth, L. (1938). Urbanism as a Way of Life. American Journal of Sociology, 44(1), 1-24. doi:10.1086/217913 Lu, D.F. (2006). Remaking Chinese Urban Form: Modernity, Scarcity and Space, 1949-2005. London: Routledge. National Bureau of Statistics of China, National Statistic Report, 2017 Pu, M. (2013). Public Space, High Density and an Emerging Civil Society. Urban Design, Issue 127, 22-25.
Abstract ID :
ISO212
Submission Type
Full paper :
If the file does not load, click here to open/download the file.
PhD candidate
,
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Assistant Professor
,
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Similar Abstracts by Type

Abstract ID
Abstract Title
Abstract Topic
Submission Type
Primary Author
ISO480
2: Beside the megacity and the role of other cities and areas: planning for balance
Full Paper
Prof Teresa Marat-Mendes
ISO262
2: Beside the megacity and the role of other cities and areas: planning for balance
Full Paper
Mr David Green
ISO564
4: Knowledge economies and identity: planning for culture
Full Paper
Citra Persada
ISO88695
3: Liveable places and healthy cities: planning for people
Full Paper
Miss Mahak Agrawal
ISO400
2: Beside the megacity and the role of other cities and areas: planning for balance
Full Paper
Ding Shi
ISO487
2: Beside the megacity and the role of other cities and areas: planning for balance
Full Paper
OLUWABUKOLA SOMOYE
ISO408
2: Beside the megacity and the role of other cities and areas: planning for balance
Full Paper
Dr Muhammed Ziya Paköz
ISO374
4: Knowledge economies and identity: planning for culture
Full Paper
Bo Bian
ISO116
3: Liveable places and healthy cities: planning for people
Full Paper
Miss Hang Sui