Building Globalization: Transnational Architecture Production in Urban China

Paperback | May 1, 2011

byXuefei Ren

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From the years 2004 to 2008, Beijing and Shanghai witnessed the construction of an extraordinary number of new buildings, many of which were designed by architectural firms overseas. Combining ethnographic fieldwork, historical research, and network analysis, Building Globalization closely scrutinizes the growing phenomenon of transnational architecture and its profound effect on the development of urban space.

Roaming from construction sites in Shanghai to architects’ offices in Paris, Xuefei Ren interviews hundreds of architects, developers, politicians, residents, and activists to explore this issue. She finds that in the rapidly transforming cities of modern China, iconic designs from prestigious international architects help private developers to distinguish their projects, government officials to advance their careers, and the Chinese state to announce the arrival of modern China on the world stage. 

China leads the way in the globalization of architecture, a process whose ramifications can be felt from Beijing to Dubai to Basel. Connecting the dots between real estate speculation, megaproject construction, residential displacement, historical preservation, housing rights, and urban activism, Building Globalization reveals the contradictions and consequences of this new, global urban frontier.

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From the years 2004 to 2008, Beijing and Shanghai witnessed the construction of an extraordinary number of new buildings, many of which were designed by architectural firms overseas. Combining ethnographic fieldwork, historical research, and network analysis, Building Globalization closely scrutinizes the growing phenomenon of transnat...

Xuefei Ren is assistant professor of sociology and global urban studies at Michigan State University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.8 inPublished:May 1, 2011Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226709817

ISBN - 13:9780226709819

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface: Up in Flames
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations

Map of China

Chapter 1. Space, Capital, and Global Cities: An Introduction
• Transnational Architectural Production
• Building China’s Global Cities
• The Study
• Organization of the Book

Chapter 2. Transnational Architectural Production: Firms, Cities, Trends
• World City Networks
• The Power of Large
• The Power of Small
• A Typology of Cities
• Locating Transnational Architectural Production in China
• Ordos 100

Chapter 3. Architecture, Media, and Real Estate Speculation
• From Peking to Beijing: A Genealogy of Downtowns
• Architectural Spectacles: From SOHO NewTown to the Commune to Jianwai SOHO
• Public Spectacles and Place Making
• SOHO Xiaobao: From Sales Brochures to a Literary Magazine
• Developers and Policy Making
• The Art of Sales, the Game of Survival
• The Divided City
• Shifting Centers, Shifting Powers

Chapter 4. History, Cosmopolitanism, and Preservation
• Deciphering Preservation in Urban China
• From Chai (Demolition) to Bao (Preservation)
• Xintiandi: New Heaven and Earth
• Displacement, Relocation, and Compensation
• Beijing Preservation
• The New “Old” Chinese City

Chapter 5. Olympic Spectacles, Critical Architecture, and New State Spaces
• Olympic Beijing
• A National Bid for the Olympics
• Going for Global Architecture
• The Bird’s Nest Controversy
• Critical Architecture: A Debate
• Architecture, State, and Political Change

Chapter 6. The Power of Symbol
• Symbolic Spaces
• Symbolic Capital and Its Transformations
• Symbolic Power: Repositioning of Territorial Elites
• An Urban Revolution, from Above and Below

Appendix: A Methodological Note on Network Analysis

Notes
Bibliography
Index