The urbanisation of China is the largest and most rapid city-making exercise in history. China’s National New Urbanization Plan is an ambitious program, of ‘people-centered urbanisation’ swiftly changing millions of rural residents into urban dwellers, while reshaping the nation’s ecology, economy and vast tracts of the landscape. This process is not without its challenges and opportunities – but rapid city making is nothing new to the Chinese. Hear two leading voices on Chinese urbanism present interrelated perspectives on Chinese cities. Jing Liu discusses the nation’s ongoing appetite for making new cities and the critical issues at play for architecture. Beatrice Leanza speaks on ‘Transitional Urbanism’ discussing the changing scale and social space of Chinese architecture.
Dr Pippa Dickson, Arts Director, Asialink
Jing Liu co-founded SO – IL with Florian Idenburg in 2008, emphasising mission-driven cultural projects as an integral part of the urban fabric. Through building practice and interdisciplinary research projects, Jing has led SO – IL to explore new fabrication methods and engage with the sociopolitical issues of contemporary cities. Her perspective extends outside conventional architecture, with artist collaborations including Janaina Tschape and Kota Yamada; curatorial partnerships; and book projects.
Beatrice Leanza is a cultural strategist and design critic based in Beijing since 2002. She earned an MA in Asian studies from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, specialising in the history of Asian and contemporary Chinese art, and is the former creative director of Beijing Design Week (2013–16) and Baitasi Remade (2015/16). She is also chief curator of the ongoing research program Across Chinese Cities, which was featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014, 2016 and 2018, and is a member of the international advisory board of Design Trust (Hong Kong). In 2017 she co-founded B/Side Design, an international organisation behind the establishment of The Global School, China’s first independent institute for design and creative research.