Chinese Notions of Public Space: Transculturation in Urban Design and Architecture after the ‘Reform and Opening-up’ in 1978

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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Abstract

This doctoral research investigates the understanding and implementation of public space in the reformed Chinese context, particularly from the perspectives of urban design and architecture, by referring to the complex process and result of transculturation (transculturación). It delineates how public space as a Greco-Roman originated concept traversed the urban and architectural cultures of post-reform China, merging and negotiating with the local conditions, and evolved into a new phenomenon in Chinese urban design and architecture. This research first critically reviews contemporary narratives from Chinese philosophy and sociology, then materials written in post-reform China on the topic of public space. It then analyses various cases in their design and spatial conditions, ranging from ‘shared spaces’ in the areas characterised by urban dwelling and communities to ‘open spaces’ in the central city where strangers mingle and globalisation manifests. By analysing public space as a cultural phenomenon, carrying specific meaning, through specific concepts and designs, this research develops an interpretative framework within which the meanings and transculturation of public space in Chinese urban design and architecture can be understood and elucidates potential for future urban design and architectural practices. Theoretically, it moves beyond the conventional research on public space that is primarily based on Western thoughts, an Indo-European notion, and a Greco-Roman tradition. Practically, it paves the way for future development of the design of public space, highlighting the cultural, social, and spatial dynamics in Chinese cities vis-à-vis the related political, economic, and governmental conditions within the context of ongoing globalisation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Cavallo, R., Supervisor
  • Harteveld, M.G.A.D., Supervisor
Award date7 Nov 2022
Place of PublicationDelft
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-94-6366-599-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

A+BE | Architecture and the Built Environment No 19 (2022)

Keywords

  • public space
  • the public realm
  • post-reform China
  • transculturation
  • urban design

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