Town Planning Review

Steering towards growth: Symbolic urban preservation in Beijing, 1990–2005

Town Planning Review (2008), 79, (2-3), 187–208.

Abstract

This article examines the rise of symbolic urban preservation as a means of urban growth in the spatial transformation of Beijing from 1990 to 2005. The author argues that urban preservation, often considered to be in opposition to demolition and redevelopment, is nevertheless adopted by public officials and developers in Beijing as a more sophisticated instrument to achieve urban growth. While the housing renewal programme led to the demolition of a large number of courtyard houses and the construction of modern high-rises, a variety of symbolic preservation projects were carried out by the local government to reconcile various economic and political interests. These included the designation of preservation districts, the restoration of historic monuments and the creation of cultural tourism districts. This twisted take on urban development has had negative effects on the maintenance of cultural heritage and community life in the city.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

BARTHEL, D. (1989), 'Historic preservation: a comparative analysis', Sociological Forum, 4, 87–105. Historic preservation: a comparative analysis Sociological Forum 4 87 105 Google Scholar

BMCUP (BEIJING MUNICIPAL COMMISSION OF URBAN PLANNING) (2002), Conservation Planning of 25 Historic Areas in Beijing Old City, Beijing, Yanshan Publishing House. Google Scholar

CHOAY, F. (2001), The Invention of the Historic Monument, New York, NY, Cambridge University Press. The Invention of the Historic Monument Google Scholar

CLARK, T. N. (ed.) (2004), The City As An Entertainment Machine, Oxford, Elsevier. The City As An Entertainment Machine Google Scholar

DENG, Q. (2003), 'Renovation of old and dilapidated houses: Tianqiao Xiejie, Ju'er Hutong and others', Beijing City Planning and Construction Review, 91, 58–59. Renovation of old and dilapidated houses: Tianqiao Xiejie, Ju'er Hutong and others Beijing City Planning and Construction Review 91 58 59 Google Scholar

DUCKETT, J. (1998), The Entrepreneurial State in China: Real Estate and Commerce Department in Reform-Era Tianjin, London, Routledge. The Entrepreneurial State in China: Real Estate and Commerce Department in Reform-Era Tianjin Google Scholar

FANG, K. (2000), Contemporary Redevelopment in the Inner City of Beijing: Survey, Analysis and Investigation, Beijing, Architecture and Industry Publishing House. Contemporary Redevelopment in the Inner City of Beijing: Survey, Analysis and Investigation Google Scholar

FITCH, J. M. (1982), Historic Preservation: Curational Management of the Built World, New York, NY, McGraw-Hill. Historic Preservation: Curational Management of the Built World Google Scholar

FU, Z. (2002), 'The state, capital, and urban restructuring in post-reform Shanghai', in J. R. LOGAN (ed.), The New Chinese City: Globalization and Market Reform, Oxford, Blackwell, 106–20. 'The state, capital, and urban restructuring in post-reform Shanghai' The New Chinese City: Globalization and Market Reform 106 20 Google Scholar

GAO, B. (2003), 'Experts comment on the reconstruction of Yongdingmen Gatetower', Beijing City Planning and Construction Review, 90, 54–55. Experts comment on the reconstruction of Yongdingmen Gatetower Beijing City Planning and Construction Review 90 54 55 Google Scholar

GAUBATZ, P. (1999), 'China's urban transformation: patterns and process of morphological change in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou', Urban Studies, 36, 1495–521. China's urban transformation: patterns and process of morphological change in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou Urban Studies 36 1495 521 Google Scholar

GLAESER, E. L., KOLKO, J. and SAIZ, A. (2001), 'Consumer city', Journal of Economic Geography, 1, 27–50. Consumer city Journal of Economic Geography 1 27 50 Google Scholar

JONAS, A. E. G. and WILSON, D. (eds) (1999), The Urban Growth Machine: Critical Perspectives Two Decades Later, Albany, NY, State University of New York Press. The Urban Growth Machine: Critical Perspectives Two Decades Later Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

JUDD, D. R. and FAINSTEIN, S. S. (eds) (1999), The Tourist City, New Haven, CT, Yale University Press. The Tourist City Google Scholar

KONG, F. (2001), 'Exploring and restoring the site of the Eastern Imperial Wall and the protection of the whole Imperial City', Beijing Cultural Relics and Museum, 26, 5–15. Exploring and restoring the site of the Eastern Imperial Wall and the protection of the whole Imperial City Beijing Cultural Relics and Museum 26 5 15 Google Scholar

KONG, F. (2002), 'The construction of the city walls site parks and the preservation of the old city walls of Beijing', Beijing Cultural Relics and Museum, 28, 5–17. The construction of the city walls site parks and the preservation of the old city walls of Beijing Beijing Cultural Relics and Museum 28 5 17 Google Scholar

KWOK, K. W. and LOW, K. H. (2002), 'Cultural policy and the city-state: Singapore and the new Asian renaissance', in D. Crane, N. Kawashima and K. Kawasaki (eds), Global Culture: Media, Arts, Policy, and Globalization, New York, NY and London, Routledge, 149–68. 'Cultural policy and the city-state: Singapore and the new Asian renaissance' Global Culture: Media, Arts, Policy, and Globalization 149 68 Google Scholar

LIN, G. C. S. (1999), 'State policy and spatial restructuring in post-reform China, 1978–95', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 23, 670–96. State policy and spatial restructuring in post-reform China, 1978–95 International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 23 670 96 Google Scholar

LOGAN, J. R. (2002), 'Three challenges for the Chinese city: globalization, migration, and market reform', in J. R. Logan (ed.), The New Chinese City: Globalization and Market Reform, Oxford, Blackwell, 3–21. 'Three challenges for the Chinese city: globalization, migration, and market reform' The New Chinese City: Globalization and Market Reform 3 21 Google Scholar

LOGAN, J. R. and MOLOTCH, H. (1987), Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press. Urban Fortunes: The Political Economy of Place Google Scholar

LONG, X. (2003), 'Enhance understanding and fix responsibility to raise cultural relics undertaking to a new level', Beijing Cultural Relics and Museums, 31, 5–12. Enhance understanding and fix responsibility to raise cultural relics undertaking to a new level Beijing Cultural Relics and Museums 31 5 12 Google Scholar

MA, L. J. C. and WU, F. (2005), 'Restructuring the Chinese city: diverse process and reconstituted space', in L. J. C. Ma and F. Wu (eds), Restructuring the Chinese City: Changing Society, Economy and Space, London, Routledge, 1–20. 'Restructuring the Chinese city: diverse process and reconstituted space' Restructuring the Chinese City: Changing Society, Economy and Space 1 20 Google Scholar

MOLOTCH, H. (1976), 'The city as a growth machine', American Journal of Sociology, 82, 309–30. The city as a growth machine American Journal of Sociology 82 309 30 Google Scholar

MOLOTCH, H., FREUDENBURG, W. and PAULSEN, K. E. (2000), 'History repeats itself, but how? City character, urban tradition, and the accomplishment of place', American Sociological Review, 65, 791–823. History repeats itself, but how? City character, urban tradition, and the accomplishment of place American Sociological Review 65 791 823 Google Scholar

MUFSON, S. (1997), 'Beijing's newest invaders: city that defied conquering hordes being leveled by developers', Washington Post, 26 August, A1. Google Scholar

REN, X. (2008), 'Forward to the past: historical preservation in globalizing Shanghai', City and Community, 7, 23–43. Forward to the past: historical preservation in globalizing Shanghai City and Community 7 23 43 Google Scholar

SASSEN, S. (1991), The Global City: New York, London, Toyko, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press. The Global City: New York, London, Toyko Google Scholar

SHEN, Y. (2002), 'The whole story of demolishing Beijing City Wall', Beijing City Planning and Construction Review, 86, 61–64. The whole story of demolishing Beijing City Wall Beijing City Planning and Construction Review 86 61 64 Google Scholar

STONE, C. N. (1984), 'City politics and economic development: political economy perspectives', Journal of Politics, 46, 286–99. City politics and economic development: political economy perspectives Journal of Politics 46 286 99 Google Scholar

TRASFORINI, M. A. (2002), 'The immaterial city: Ferrara, a case study of urban culture in Italy', in D. Crane, N. Kawashima and K. Kawasaki (eds), Global Culture: Media, Arts, Policy, and Globalization, London, Routledge, 169–90. 'The immaterial city: Ferrara, a case study of urban culture in Italy' Global Culture: Media, Arts, Policy, and Globalization 169 90 Google Scholar

TUNG, A. M. (2001), Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, New York, NY, Clarkson Potter. Preserving the World's Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis Google Scholar

WALDER, A. G. (1997), 'The state as an ensemble of economic actors: some inference from China's trajectory of change', in J. M. Nelson, C. Tilly and L. Walker (eds), Transforming Post-Communist Political Economies, Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 432–52. 'The state as an ensemble of economic actors: some inference from China's trajectory of change' Transforming Post-Communist Political Economies 432 52 Google Scholar

WANG, J. (2003), Cheng Ji, Beijing, Sanlian Bookstore. Cheng Ji Google Scholar

WANG, Y., WANG, K., ZHU, J. and ZHOU, W. (2003), 'Research on planning and design of Yongdingmen and some areas along south Central Axis Road', Beijing City Planning and Construction Review, 90, 44–48. Google Scholar

WHILE, A. (2006), 'Modernism vs. urban renaissance: negotiating post-war heritage in English city centers', Urban Studies, 43, 2399–419. Modernism vs. urban renaissance: negotiating post-war heritage in English city centers Urban Studies 43 2399 419 Google Scholar

WU, F. (2000), 'The global and local dimensions of place-making: the remaking of Shanghai as a world city', Urban Studies, 37, 1359–77. The global and local dimensions of place-making: the remaking of Shanghai as a world city Urban Studies 37 1359 77 Google Scholar

WU, F. (2002a), 'Real estate development and the transformation of urban space in China's transitional economy, with special reference to Shanghai', in J. R. Logan (ed.), The New Chinese City: Globalization and Market Reform, Oxford, Blackwell, 153–66. 'Real estate development and the transformation of urban space in China's transitional economy, with special reference to Shanghai' The New Chinese City: Globalization and Market Reform 153 66 Google Scholar

WU, F. (2002b), 'China's changing urban governance in the transition toward a more market-oriented economy', Urban Studies, 39, 1071–93. China's changing urban governance in the transition toward a more market-oriented economy Urban Studies 39 1071 93 Google Scholar

WU, L. (1999), Rehabilitating the Old City of Beijing: A Project in the Ju'er Hutong Neighborhood, Vancouver, BC, UBC Press. Rehabilitating the Old City of Beijing: A Project in the Ju'er Hutong Neighborhood Google Scholar

WU, F. and YEH, A. G. O. (1999), 'Urban spatial structure in a transitional economy: the case of Guangzhou, China', Journal of the American Planning Association, 65, 377–94. Urban spatial structure in a transitional economy: the case of Guangzhou, China Journal of the American Planning Association 65 377 94 Google Scholar

XIE, Q., PARSA, A. R. G. and REDDING, B. (2002), 'The emergence of the urban land market in China: evolution, structure, constraints and perspectives', Urban Studies, 39, 1375–98. The emergence of the urban land market in China: evolution, structure, constraints and perspectives Urban Studies 39 1375 98 Google Scholar

XU, J. and YEH, A. G. O. (2005), 'City repositioning and competitiveness-building in regional development: new development strategies in Guangzhou, China', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29, 283–308. City repositioning and competitiveness-building in regional development: new development strategies in Guangzhou, China International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29 283 308 Google Scholar

ZHANG, J., YIN, J. and LUO, Z. (2007), 'Analysis of the urban growth machine based on major events, using the example of the Nanjing New Olympic City', Economic Geography, 27, 452–57. Analysis of the urban growth machine based on major events, using the example of the Nanjing New Olympic City Economic Geography 27 452 57 Google Scholar

ZHENG, B. (2003), 'Dare not talk irresponsibly about the city walls of the Ming Dynasty', Beijing City Planning and Construction Review, 91, 146–49. Dare not talk irresponsibly about the city walls of the Ming Dynasty Beijing City Planning and Construction Review 91 146 49 Google Scholar

ZUKIN, S. (1991), Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World, Berkeley, CA, University of California Press. Landscapes of Power: From Detroit to Disney World Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Zhang, Yue