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The making of the city image: architecture and the representations of the New Shanghai in China's Reform Era

Lai, S.-Y.; (2010) The making of the city image: architecture and the representations of the New Shanghai in China's Reform Era. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This project aims to provide an analysis of Shanghai’s new architecture and cityscape during the Reform Era, on the premise that the urban built form has been utilised to convey dominant ideas to create urban meaning. Image is the core concept to investigate this urban meaning of the new Shanghai. City image, embodied in architecture and urban landscape as physical and visible factors, can be a synthetic presentation of messages relating to economic development, urban identity and national politics. The thesis opens with a theoretical conception of image and city image, and their role in globalisation. By dismantling these concepts and examining their natures, an original theoretical framework for studying the city image of Shanghai can be constructed. This is followed by an investigation of Shanghai’s redevelopment under the Reform Policy as the context of the city’s image-making project, and of its highly image-conscious urban planning in recent decades. Case studies covering four areas in which the city is frequently represented follow. First, representations of the city in a municipal museum are shown to encapsulate Shanghai’s government-promoted city image. Second, representations of Shanghai in the mass media are shown to reveal mainstream views of the new city. Third, the cityscape and architecture applied in ‘zhuxuanlü music videos’ are shown to echo and deliver the state’s urban discourse. Fourth, contemporary avant-garde artworks are analysed to demonstrate the construction of the resistant urban meanings of the new Shanghai. It is concluded that Shanghai’s city image delivers messages of the dominant urban and political discourses, and functions at the global, national and local levels for economy, political legitimacy and civic identity. The project also contributes a model and an example of city image-making to the field of urban studies.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The making of the city image: architecture and the representations of the New Shanghai in China's Reform Era
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School > Bartlett School of Architecture

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