Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Self-organization in planned Danwei and Dayuan: A case study of the transitional Houzaimen neighborhood of Nanjing in urban China
Qian Zhao

Last modified: 11-05-2018


In the network of global economy, urban places as the spatial effect of globalization that results from the negotiation between international capitals and local powers play an important role in globalization discourse. The transformation of urban form also responses to the entrepreneurial turn in the municipal governance that affects city planning in particular. The role of municipal governments due to global economic competitions shifts from a passive regulation operator to an active agent to increase attractiveness for local investments and fiscal incomes. Danwei as ‘the space of the socialist work unit’ and its residential compound Dayuan referring ‘a large courtyard’ in Chinese term have shaped the urban landscape and everyday life since Maoist China. The unitary urban space that emerged under a command economy favoring the governmental intervention has varied over time. Many Dayuan neighborhoods have diminished in urban renewal movements. As the study object, Houzaimen neighborhood of Nanjing has the well-reserved Dayuan fabric built before 1990. Most researches emphasize the top-down planning process that results in social and physical space while this article underlines self-organized community. By methods of site surveys and space syntax for site analysis, the identifiable pattern of self-organization including the social buildup and the subculture of residents, residential ownerships and the allocation of commercial activities compared to public institutions and facilities on site reveals the place-shaping mechanism.

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