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Collective Forms: Neighbourhood Transformations, Spatialised Governmentality and New Communities in China

Principal Investigator:

Dr Sam Jacoby, Senior Tutor, Royal College of Art

Co-Applicants: Professor Tan Gangyi, Professor and Vice Dean of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Huazhong University of Science and Technology; Professor He Xuefeng, Cheung Kong Scholar Chair Professor and Dean of Department of Sociology, Wuhan University; Tang Yan, Associate Professor of School of Architecture, Tsinghua University

Abstract:

This research examines how social projects, spaces, and realities shape three contexts critical to understanding urban design and planning in China: modes of governmentality; the history of collective spatial development models in relation to current community development; and socio-spatial changes in urban and rural developments. A comparative analysis of community developments in China and a programme of knowledge exchange will study how a national collectivisation in the 1950s created rural people’s commune and urban workunit systems that laid the foundations to today’s urban problems.Their socio-spatial design, despite extensive policy reforms since 1978, continue to control access to public infrastructures and services, but also created resilient governance and community-building models.

The effects of spatial transformations of governmentality are little researched by urban designers and require a new interdisciplinary approach that offers alternatives to Western-centric theory and practice. This is of global relevance, including the UK and its new community-led developments.

Old housing district of the Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation, China

Old housing district of the Wuhan Iron and Steel Corporation, China

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