Open access reading for World Urbanism Day
It's World Urbanism Day! To celebrate, here's a roundup of recent open access books which focus on resilience in the city. From China's residential neighbourhoods, to engaging communities in city-making, via the inclusiveness of the local high street, we've got it covered.
Creating Chinese Urbanism describes the landscape of urbanisation in China, revealing the profound impacts of marketisation on Chinese society and the consequential governance changes at the grassroots level.
During the imperial and socialist periods, state and society were embedded. However, as China has been becoming urban, the territorial foundation of ‘earth-bound’ society has been dismantled. This metaphorically started an urban revolution, which has transformed the social order derived from the ‘state in society’. The state has thus become more visible in Chinese urban life.
Besides witnessing the breaking down of socially integrated neighbourhoods, Fulong Wu explains the urban roots of a rising state in China. Instead of governing through autonomous stakeholders, state-sponsored strategic intentions remain. In the urban realm, the desire for greater residential privacy does not foster collectivism. State-led rebuilding of residential communities has sped up the demise of traditionalism and given birth to a new China with greater urbanism and state-centred governance.
Taking the vantage point of concrete residential neighbourhoods, Creating Chinese Urbanism offers a cutting-edge analysis of how China is becoming urban and grounds the changing state governance in the process of urbanization. Its original and material interpretation of the changing role of the state in China makes it suitable reading for researchers and students in the fields of urban studies, geography, planning and the built environment.
Engaged Urban Pedagogy presents a participatory approach to teaching built environment subjects by exploring 12 examples of real-world engagement in urban planning involving people within and beyond the university. Starting with curriculum review, course content is analysed in light of urban pasts, race, queer identity, lived experiences and concerns of urban professionals. Case studies then shift to focus on techniques for participatory critical pedagogy, including expanding the ‘classroom’ with links to live place-making processes, connections made through digital co-design exercises and student-led podcasting assignments. Finally, the book turns to activities beyond formal university teaching, such as where school-age children learn about their own participation in urban processes alongside university students and researchers. The last cases show how academics have enabled co-production in local urban developments, trained community co-researchers and acted as part of a city-to-city learning network. Throughout the book, editorial commentary highlights how these activities are a critical source of support for higher education.
Together, the 12 examples demonstrate the power and range of an engaged urban pedagogy. They are written by academics, university students and those working in urban planning and place-making. Drawing on foundational works of critical pedagogy, they present a distinctly urban praxis that will help those in universities respond to the built environment challenges of today.