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Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities

Creating New Urban Landscapes in Asia Lily Kong, Provost and Lee Kong Chian Professor of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, Ching Chia-ho and Chou Tsu-Lung, National Taipei University, Taiwan
While global cities have mostly been characterized as sites of intensive and extensive economic activity, the quest for global city status also increasingly rests on the creative production and consumption of culture and the arts. Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities examines such ambitions and projects undertaken in five major cities in Asia: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore. Providing a thorough comparison of their urban imaging strategies and attempts to harness arts and culture, as well as more organically evolved arts activities and spaces, this book analyses the relative successes and failures of these cities. Offering rich ethnographic detail drawn from extensive fieldwork, the authors challenge city strategies and existing urban theories and reveal the many complexities in the art of city-making.
Extent: 272 pp
Hardback Price: $125.00 Web: $112.50
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978 1 84980 176 8
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While global cities have mostly been characterized as sites of intensive and extensive economic activity, the quest for global city status also increasingly rests on the creative production and consumption of culture and the arts. Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities examines such ambitions and projects undertaken in five major cities in Asia: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Singapore.

Providing a thorough comparison of their urban imaging strategies and attempts to harness arts and culture, as well as more organically evolved arts activities and spaces, this book analyses the relative successes and failures of these cities. Offering rich ethnographic detail drawn from extensive fieldwork, the authors challenge city strategies and existing urban theories about cultural and creative clusters and reveal the many complexities in the art of city-making.

This noteworthy study will appeal to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as academics from a variety of disciplines -ranging from urban and cultural geography to Asian studies. Arts and cultural policy makers and artists will also find this a fascinating read.
‘Cultural elements, particularly in terms of consumption, are less tangible and difficult to study quantitatively or even qualitatively, making research along these lines especially challenging. Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities provides an invaluable example of how this can be accomplished and provides an invaluable understanding of the problematic and complex nature of creative production and consumption of culture and the arts. . . .the authors know their case studies. Having made numerous visits to four of the five case study cities, this reviewer is especially impressed at how well the authors know the cultural spaces landscapes and the historical policy context of each. This speaks well to the quality of the ethnographic research in terms of who was interviewed, the content of the interviews, and the background policy research. Indeed, the book is reflective of six years of focused effort by the authors. In summary, it is a useful, accessible, and practically framed book that 1) provides a foundational understanding of creative production and consumption of culture and the arts in world cities; and more substantially, 2) specific, particular, and useful insights into the planning for and development of the arts in five leading cities of East Asia.’
– George Pomeroy, The Review of Regional Science

‘This book is a welcome and timely analysis of how global economic and financial powerhouses in Asia also aim to become global cultural cities. It critically examines the tension between top-down policies implemented by strong states to boost urban culture, which are typically focused on the hardware of iconic venues, museums, and opera houses mostly designed by famous western architects, and the need for freedom to enable more organic cultural initiatives rooted in local practices.’
– Robert C. Kloosterman, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

‘This book not only establishes the importance of cultural projects in crafting Asia's new global cities, it offers the first systematic comparison of both governmental plans and artists' actions in major urban sites from Beijing to Singapore. Whether art is viewed as an economic engine or a creative act, the authors show that it is a highly visible part of Asian societies that no one can ignore.’
– Sharon Zukin, author of Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places

‘This volume makes two very significant contributions to the literature on Asian cities: it shifts the focus away from manufacturing and real estate as drivers of growth to the role of creativity in fostering the development of global cities; and it chronicles how arts and culture are changing the physical character of the cities studied. It is a highly welcome addition to our understanding of the dynamics of urban Asia and its increasing importance in generating global culture.’
– Susan Fainstein, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, US and author of The Just City

‘In conclusion, this valuable book is without question a timely, up-to date and well-researched scholarly work, which will be of interest to graduates, researchers and all professionals who are interested in how globalism and its macroscale interaction with the specific realm of culture and art is progressively helping reshape relevant sections of the local urban environment, inner city organisations and specific socio-cultural milieus of a large part of the East and Southeast Asian cities.’
– Town Planning Review

‘Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities provides an impressive overview of the efforts of selected cities in East Asia to establish large cultural infrastructure and to promote culture and creative industries to enrich their urban profiles and reach an upper place in the not very rational competition among world cities.’
– newbooks.asia

Contents: 1. Arts spaces, New Urban Landscapes and Global Cultural Cities PART I 2. The National Grand Theatre in a City of Monuments: Discourse and Reality in the Construction of Beijing’s New Cultural Space 3. Rivalling Beijing and the World: Realizing Shanghai’s Ambitions through Cultural Infrastructure 4. Hong Kong’s Dilemmas and the Changing Fates of West Kowloon Cultural District 5. The Making of a ?Renaissance City’: Building Cultural Monuments in Singapore 6. In Search of New Homes: The Absent New Cultural Monument in Taipei PART II 7. Cultural Creativity, Clustering and the Sstate in Beijing 8. Remaking Shanghai’s Old Industrial Spaces: The Growth and Growth of Creative Precincts 9. Factories and Animal Depots: The ?New’ Old Spaces for the Arts in Hong Kong 10. Reusing Old Factory Spaces in Taipei: The Challenges of Developing Cultural Parks 11. From Education to Enterprise in Singapore: Converting Old Schools to New Artistic and Aesthetic Use 12. Culture, Globalization and Urban Landscapes References Index