Global Cities with Local Identites – Chinese Urban Transformation

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Katharina M. Borgmann, University of Duisburg - Essen, Germany


    China’s rapid economic growth offeres a unique environment to create a high speed urbanization never witnessed before and providing researchers as well as practicers with the opportunity to study and learn from this exceptional ‘urbanization lab’. Urbanization aspects like technological optimizations and globally important issues like sustainability, scarceness of resources and the quality of life are well discussed topics, but what is often neglected is the increasing importance of discourses regarding the local urban identity and the existing anxiety in China of creating identical cities without context. However, the latter decades revieled the challenges as well as the chances for urban innovation, the gained expertise influences todays decision making processes. In the context of the presentation, the topic of the discussion will be whether current and future Chinese urban design approaches develop towards cultural sustainability. It is argued that urban reinnovation transforms towards a cultural sustainable direction, as it seems, by valuing local traditions with a focus on demands and needs of todays urban inhabitants. The objective is to understand the Chinese urban development and its transformation by analyzing the existing yet ever-changing physical environment with the tools of architectural and urban semiotics. Researching on city components like city halls, open space, train stations and other shaping and characterinzing components of Chinese cities provides the framework for understanding the Chinese urban innovation processes. Besides it adds a different perspective in order to be better equipped to capture urban complexity.