Category Archives: Urban China

Villagizing the city

I recently published an article about the town of Danjiang, in Guizhou Province, which, beginning in 2008, underwent a massive face-lift project to transform itself from an aspiring and urbanizing town into a village.  The article focuses on a theoretical … Continue reading

Posted in Minzu, Urban China | Leave a comment

Privatizing clean air

As living with toxic air becomes part of people’s mundane daily lives during the winter in northern and central China’s cities, it’s inevitable that the entrepreneurial exuberance of many urban residents will find ways to commodify the right of breathing … Continue reading

Posted in Consumption, Environment, Guizhou, Tourism, Urban China | 1 Comment

Only 9 cities (of 161) passed China’s new clean air standards

Last year, I posted the news that China had adopted new standards for air particulate matter in cities. While those standards remain well above the upper limits recommended by the World Health Organization, only 9 cities (of 161 monitored) were … Continue reading

Posted in Environment, Urban China | 1 Comment

Shanzhai shopping

Continuing with the shanzhai tourism theme, there’s been a good deal of chatter recently about a new shanzhai shopping street near Wanda Square in Shenyang.  The street, built as a ‘European style pedestrian street,’ features shanzhai designer-brand boutiques and cafés.  … Continue reading

Posted in Globalization, Tourism, Urban China | 1 Comment

“The vanity of some local government officials has determined the skylines of cities.”

We used to believe that the presence of tall buildings in the center of a city was the result of a straight-forward cost calculation.  As the price of land went up, so too did the incentive to build higher.  We … Continue reading

Posted in Urban China | Leave a comment

China as Europe’s back-up disc: on mimesis Part II

In an older post on mimetic landscapes in China, I mentioned the Zhejiang town of Tianducheng, which features an Eiffel Tower replica (1/3 the size) surrounded by Parisian streets, fountains, and apartment buildings.  Earlier this year, Bianca Bosker published a … Continue reading

Posted in Imaginative Geographies, Urban China | 2 Comments

空心化 Beijing: the hollowed-out city

Another season of mass migration is winding down in China, and the numbers are starting to come in. This year’s Spring Festival travel was up 2.7% from last year, totaling over 82 million travelers, according to the National Rail Service. … Continue reading

Posted in Migration, Urban China | Leave a comment

Cooling the real estate market

Last week in lecture we looked at the ways urbanization had seemingly become the primary raison d’etre for the local state, since state revenues are increasingly derived from rents on urban property development.  One question I raised in this regard … Continue reading

Posted in Development, Urban China | Leave a comment

Suburban land grabs – “We thought these things happen to peasants in the countryside”

In a previous post on farmers in Lufeng protesting land grabs in Guangdong, I noted that land seizures are a particularly rural problem, in part because rural land tenure remains ambiguous and farmers often lack the knowledge, resources, and organization … Continue reading

Posted in Development, Urban China | Leave a comment

More on mimesis: China as Europe’s back-up disc

Every few months, it seems, comes another report in the English-language press on the ‘scandal’ of Chinese copies of landscapes, monuments, and towns from around the world, but particularly from Europe.  Last June, Spiegel reported on Guangdong’s plans to build … Continue reading

Posted in Imaginative Geographies, Rural China, Urban China | 1 Comment