Author: Natalia Bonilla Porras
Project: “CeNTo – Chinese New Towns: Negotiating Citizenship and Physical Form”, funded by Politecnico di Torino, Ricerca dei Talenti, Fondazione CRT (Italy) (2015-2017)
Coordinators: Michele Bonino (DAD), Francesca Governa, and Angelo Sampieri (DIST), China Room, FULL – Future Urban Legacy Lab, Politecnico di Torino (Italy)
Photography: Samuele Pellecchia
Since the mid-twentieth century, China has been implementing urban strategies that include the development of ‘new towns’ as economy-supporters for main cities. Former developments of new towns started as mere satellite towns that have now shifted their role as key components of wider city regions.
Today, these new developments are somehow part of a spatial, institutional, political, and economic framework that has been difficult to define. These Chinese towns are ambiguous in their character in that new does not properly conceptualise them. New involves a comparison, a differentiation, and an eventual substitution for something else. Thus, the question here seeks to address what they do instead of what they are.
Chinese new towns are emerging assertively to help decentralise economic and political centres and provide housing solutions. Three cases that exemplify this phenomenon are Tongzhou, part of Beijing’s Overall Planning; Zhaoging as part of the Pearl River Delta; and Zhengdong, included in the Rise of Central China Plan.
Chinese new towns thus provide a new perspective of contemporary urbanisation due to their relationship with their context rather than due to their discourse as isolated cases.
For further information about this research please visit urbanNext.com.
The research included an audiovisual production by Samuele Pellecchia. Full photo album can be found here, and the video can be found here.