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postgraduate thesis: The production of urban public space under Chinese market economic reform: a case study of Shenzhen

TitleThe production of urban public space under Chinese market economic reform: a case study of Shenzhen
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Ye, AM
Issue Date2010
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chen, Z. [陈竹]. (2010). The production of urban public space under Chinese market economic reform : a case study of Shenzhen. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4728058
AbstractIn theoretical development history, the issue of “urban public space” is one of the central themes in the domain of urban planning and design, which has played as a medium for interdisciplinary discussions on the relationship between built environment and the social relations behind. In present Chinese cities, the market economic reform in recent decades has brought profound impacts on Chinese society, which is mostly represented by an infusing of private realm to the universal public realm in the planned economic era at all dimensions of space production. However, the production of urban space in China under market economic reform is not lead by an articulated theory of public space. The notion of “Chinese urban public space” remains as a technical definition, and the essential attribute, namely, the “publicness” of urban public space, seems to be conspicuously absent from theoretical discourses in present Chinese urban planning and design. This dissertation is an empirical study on Chinese urban public space in cities under market economic reform. It aims to find out how space production mechanisms in the economic reform period constitute the nature—the attribute of “publicness”—of Chinese urban public space. The study is built upon a set of theoretical underpinnings— the public space theories in urban studies and the theories on the relationship between built environment and the socioeconomic background. In particular, the study adopts the sociospatial perspective of the “production of space” theory established by French philosopher Henry Lefebvre as the theoretical rationale for the methodology. It takes a case study method for its empirical exploration, for which, the city of Shenzhen is chosen as the case study area. Through case investigations, the study demonstrates that the universal socialist publicness of Chinese urban public space in the planned economic era has disappeared with the market economic reform. The production of urban public space in Chinese cities is no longer a technical issue dealing with merely the physical dimension of space, instead, it represents a process of conflicts and contradictions, in which different actors, interests, and ideologies fight as well as interact for the use, interest, and representation of space, and wherein sociospatial relations are reconstructed. Further, through investigation on the institutional forces behind space production, the study demonstrates that there are institutional paradoxes in present Chinese space production mechanisms, which are roots of the conflicts and contradictions in the production of public space. These paradoxes have led to a general “loss” of “publicness” in Chinese urban public space, which are represented in some common and yet fundamental aspects of changes. The findings of this study are considered to have important implications for understanding the nature of Chinese urban public space in Chinese cities in the market economic reform era. It also contributes to a better understanding on the space production mechanisms as well as their relationship with the social-economic settings in present Chinese transitional society.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectPublic spaces - China - Shenzhen - Case studies.
Dept/ProgramArchitecture

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorYe, AM-
dc.contributor.authorChen, Zhu-
dc.contributor.author陈竹-
dc.date.issued2010-
dc.identifier.citationChen, Z. [陈竹]. (2010). The production of urban public space under Chinese market economic reform : a case study of Shenzhen. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b4728058-
dc.description.abstractIn theoretical development history, the issue of “urban public space” is one of the central themes in the domain of urban planning and design, which has played as a medium for interdisciplinary discussions on the relationship between built environment and the social relations behind. In present Chinese cities, the market economic reform in recent decades has brought profound impacts on Chinese society, which is mostly represented by an infusing of private realm to the universal public realm in the planned economic era at all dimensions of space production. However, the production of urban space in China under market economic reform is not lead by an articulated theory of public space. The notion of “Chinese urban public space” remains as a technical definition, and the essential attribute, namely, the “publicness” of urban public space, seems to be conspicuously absent from theoretical discourses in present Chinese urban planning and design. This dissertation is an empirical study on Chinese urban public space in cities under market economic reform. It aims to find out how space production mechanisms in the economic reform period constitute the nature—the attribute of “publicness”—of Chinese urban public space. The study is built upon a set of theoretical underpinnings— the public space theories in urban studies and the theories on the relationship between built environment and the socioeconomic background. In particular, the study adopts the sociospatial perspective of the “production of space” theory established by French philosopher Henry Lefebvre as the theoretical rationale for the methodology. It takes a case study method for its empirical exploration, for which, the city of Shenzhen is chosen as the case study area. Through case investigations, the study demonstrates that the universal socialist publicness of Chinese urban public space in the planned economic era has disappeared with the market economic reform. The production of urban public space in Chinese cities is no longer a technical issue dealing with merely the physical dimension of space, instead, it represents a process of conflicts and contradictions, in which different actors, interests, and ideologies fight as well as interact for the use, interest, and representation of space, and wherein sociospatial relations are reconstructed. Further, through investigation on the institutional forces behind space production, the study demonstrates that there are institutional paradoxes in present Chinese space production mechanisms, which are roots of the conflicts and contradictions in the production of public space. These paradoxes have led to a general “loss” of “publicness” in Chinese urban public space, which are represented in some common and yet fundamental aspects of changes. The findings of this study are considered to have important implications for understanding the nature of Chinese urban public space in Chinese cities in the market economic reform era. It also contributes to a better understanding on the space production mechanisms as well as their relationship with the social-economic settings in present Chinese transitional society.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B4728058X-
dc.subject.lcshPublic spaces - China - Shenzhen - Case studies.-
dc.titleThe production of urban public space under Chinese market economic reform: a case study of Shenzhen-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4728058-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineArchitecture-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4728058-
dc.date.hkucongregation2010-

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