China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

(84) Manufacturing the Metropolis in Modern and Contemporary China

3/23/2018
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Thurgood Marshall West, Mezzanine

China’s metropolitan areas have experienced phenomenal growth in recent decades. This panel examines how industries reshaped socio-spatial dimensions of mega-cities in modern and contemporary China. Moving beyond the “modernization versus local identity” paradigm, the four case studies in Tianjin, Shanghai, Daqing, and Chongqing identify institutional changes that stimulated urban expansion. These mega-cities underwent cycles of fragmentation and consolidation. The power struggle between Chinese railway developers and foreign river conservancy bureaus devolved into a turf war that led to Tianjin’s expansion. Catastrophes created openings for the centralization of urban planning. The 1917 flood which damaged the Tianjin railway station forced Chinese and foreigners to collaborate and avert future disasters; The 1950 air raid in Shanghai prompted the local electrical power bureau to micro-manage power consumption of hundreds of factories. State policy had to be adapted to fit local realities. Oil workers of Daqing in the 1960s lived in decentralized settlements made of mud houses similar to those of local peasants. This was in line with state policy of social equality and also led to urban-rural integration. More recently, deindustrialization turns out to be the driving force for urban expansion. State-owned heavy industries in Chongqing have branched out to other industries and moved from the urban core into the periphery. Coordination between state and local authorities, careful rationing of resources, urban-rural integration, narratives of progress through memory-making, lay the groundwork for a model of high-density urban development unique to China.

Presentations:

Ying Jia Tan

Wesleyan University, Connecticut

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Qin Shao

The College of New Jersey, New Jersey

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Kan Li

University of Minnesota, Minnesota

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Ying Jia Tan

Wesleyan University, Connecticut

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Li Hou

Tongji University, Not Applicable, China

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Yanfei Li

University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Qin Shao

The College of New Jersey, New Jersey

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