Polities and economies are historical constructs. Political and economic spaces, built into territories historically, generate cities and their structures of growth and use. They give form and identity to political and economic objects and relations in cities and regions, as well as to the energy and vitality of social and economic activity. I will review the processes by which these spaces are constructed and cities are generated and regenerated, and then use this analysis to explore opportunities for political empowerment and economic livelihood at the local scale in Shenzhen. Specifically urban strategies of local social and economic renewal may work with realise potential communities and governance polities, as well as sustaining a petit bourgeois class of shopkeepers and small and medium scale entrepreneurs.
There are strategic aims to this: first, to revalue the city and its processes at meso and micro scales by showing how forms of local community and economy are structured in and by the city itself, and; second, to argue that urban strategies can become instruments in larger state policies of a ‘moderately prosperous’ (xiaokang) society and social depolarisation.
Associate Professor, Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy, Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology
Stephen Read is associate professor in the chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy, Department of Urbanism at the TU Delft. Trained as an architect in Cape Town, he worked as architect in Cape Town and London for 15 years before doing a PhD at the TU Delft, modelling the spatial and functional structuring of Dutch cities. He then ran his own urban consultancy doing work for the dRO (Spatial Planning Department) Amsterdam before beginning his latest life as teacher and researcher at the TU Delft. He has continued his interest in urban form and structure paying special attention to the mechanics of the historical formation of territories at all scales and to their historical and contemporary changes and regime transitions. He combines a technical understanding of contemporary political and economic spaces with an appreciation of how these spaces enable and facilitate contemporary forms of urban function and social and economic life. He uses a relational brand of phenomenology derived from Hannah Arendt, and historical-spatial ideas and frameworks of a world of cities, developed by Peter Taylor amongst others from world-systems theory.
The Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) is an inclusive network that brings together concerned scholars and practitioners engaged in collaborative research on cities in Asia. Consisting of over 100 researchers from 13 institutes in Europe, China, India and the United States, the Urban Knowledge Network Asia (UKNA) represents the largest academic international network on Asian cities. The UKNA is being funded by a grant awarded by the Marie Curie Actions ‘International Research Staff Exchange Scheme’ (IRSES) of the European Union. For details, please visit http://www.ukna.asia
This Lecture Series is organized by Ms. Juan Du (Associate Dean for International and Mainland China Affairs), the UKNA Committee Member at the University of Hong Kong.
**** All interested are welcome ****