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Hintergrund 37


Under the title "Chinaproduction" the exhibition presented in the Az W reflects the current international debate about contemporary architecture in China that is developing from a Maoist-communist state to a political and economic superpower with Western tendencies. This Hintergrund 37 "Chinaproduction" is dedicated in detail to urbanization processes in China, which is mainly intended to fulfill economic growth and guarantee and promote the creation of added value. This issue of the Hintergrund 37 offers comprehensive information and provides multifaceted insights into the "world-laboratory" of urban planning and architecture that China has become.



In recent decades, China has embarked on a modernization program designed to gradually undertake the structural transformation of Chinese society in favor of the market-based conditions that prevail globally today. “Urbanism” proved to be a suitable field of experimentation and an efficient set of instruments for anchoring networks of international capital in (post)communist China. Urbanization processes, which have since taken place in China in the interaction of state bureaucracy and the interplay of forces of the free market, primarily fulfilled the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting economic growth, the creation of surplus value. A genre of urbanism beyond the (academic) discipline of “architecture” has developed, new city types generated from purely economic models have emerged. Architectural practice is confronted with a new kind of “urban substance” in the “context of China” without legitimized or universally valid sets of rules: From respective urban locations, forward-looking general but changeable principles would have to be elaborated, which should be translatable site-specifically (elsewhere) into planning strategies. “China” has become a “world-laboratory” of urban planning and architecture. Large-scale and comprehensive destruction of traditional urban structures, which eradicate traditional ways of life, are also inscribed in the image of today’s modernism as a collective loss of memory.
On the other hand, however, the new form of political economy – under the title of “socialist market economy” – and the resulting dimension and speed of urbanization made China the most sought-after construction site for the architectural heroes of the Western international architectural establishment.