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Messy UrbanismUnderstanding the "Other" Cities of Asia$
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Manish Chalana

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9789888208333

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888208333.001.0001

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Messy Urbanism and Space for Community Engagement in China

Messy Urbanism and Space for Community Engagement in China

(p.215) Chapter 12 Messy Urbanism and Space for Community Engagement in China
Messy Urbanism

Daniel Benjamin Abramson

Hong Kong University Press

In China, political leaders, professional planners and designers, and the public at large typically view the modernization of cities as a matter of ordering them. Many outside observers, awed by the scale and speed of China’s urbanization and the monumental mobilization of labor and resources involved in it, are willing to accept that the drive towards order is both necessary and desirable. This chapter will question dominant official and professional characterizations of what constitutes orderliness, and discuss the actual coexistence of order and disorder in the Chinese urban landscape. In addition, by examining a series of community design activities in the city of Quanzhou, in Fujian Province, between 1993 and 2005, followed by village surveys and some modest design studies in 2007 and 2008, this chapter describes how an official and popular recognition that standardized approaches do not provide answers to the city’s unique conditions led the city’s planning authorities to sponsor an experiment in more incremental and resident-driven urban visioning. While the experiments were limited in their impact, they have served to reveal more clearly the obstacles that community-engaged planning must overcome in China.

Keywords:   Chinese cities, Chinese urbanism, Chinese urban planning, Participatory planning, Neighborhood planning in China, Quanzhou

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