The Building of “Cultural City” in Ordinary Chinese Cities: An Application of the Policy Mobility-cum-assemblage Analytical Framework to the Case of Shenzhen

Project: Research

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In an increasingly globalizing world, the idea of "cultural/creative cities" has been embraced by many policymakers in China. In this endeavor, the local advocates do not work alone. Instead, urban development policies and policy actors are always on the move, with the latter functioning at, and across, different spatial- administrative scales. However, this phenomenon of Chinese cities hocking onto novel policy ideas through the global networks of actors and communications has only recently been taken up for preliminary examination, not to mention a critical evaluation.This proposed study attempts to fill the gap of policy mobility in Chinese cities by exploring the web of politics in cultural city making in China, starting with the pilot case of Shenzhen - a city that has self-proclaimed to have transformed from a "cultural desert" to a City of Design plugged into the UNESCO Network. This pilot study will prepare the investigators to conduct a full-scale study of policy mobility across a large number of Chinese cities that have engaged in the processes of assemblage of global ideas. In particular, this study explores how the idea of cultural city travels among the rhizomatic networks, and how the global idea and local forces encounter and form the local assemblage. This research attempts to acknowledge the mobility of ideas and actors while stressing the importance of politics in the processes of mobilization.


Project number7003046
Grant typeSG
Effective start/end date1/04/136/01/15