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Whose city? Shanghai between a global and worlding city

Authors: Yanpeng Jiang*, East China Normal University
Topics: Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, China
Keywords: global city; port city; capitalization; Shanghai
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Shanghai, as the largest Chinese port city, has been attempting to reclaim and rebuild its glory through attracting global capital to be global city. This paper examines the marketing of colonial buildings, in the former European (French, British and international) concession areas in the city centre and urban regeneration, specifically the central role played by municipal government and state-owned institutions, in the financing and maintenance and repurposing of those colonial buildings for public. This colonial/postcolonial image is fundamental to the city’s image and have become major tourist attractions both locally and internationally, with implications that potentially destabilize national narratives of China’s entry into the global market. The paper examines in detail how the concept of a worlding city might apply to Shanghai through an examination of the preservation of colonial buildings to demonstrate history in west in contrast to the skyscrapers in Pudong (the city’s financial centre) to demonstrate global power. I argue that postcolonial culture is still relevant for attracting global capital flows in Shanghai. In essence worlding (through the colonial past) and globalization co-exist in this port city, in mutually reinforcing ways.

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