Open spaces in shopping malls and commercial complexes are publicly accessible and resemble public spaces, but they are designed and managed for seeking profit and serving paying customers. They are pseudo-public spaces. The emergence of pseudo-public spaces has drawn great scholarly attention, and, in the West, some critical scholars argue it leads to the ‘end of public space’. When it comes to China, empirical studies on the rise of pseudo-public spaces and their consequences in this particular context can hardly be found in the existing literature. However, China is experiencing a new form of urbanism which is meaningfully different from the Western ones. Drawing on case studies in two Chinese cities, this paper discusses how pseudo-public spaces rise in China, assesses to what degrees Chinese pseudo-public spaces are public and analyses how the rise of pseudo-public spaces impacts the publicness of Chinese urban space. The findings suggest that, although pseudo-public spaces are generally less public than traditional public spaces in China, the rise of these spaces does not necessarily lead to the ‘end of public space’ in the country. Additional studies are required to determine the political–economic consequences of the resulting property relations.
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The average house price of Xintiandi area during late 2001 and early 2002 was about 16,000 yuan per square metre. The 2015 average house price (120,000 yuan per square metre) was for second-hand houses. This information draws on conversations with local real estate agents during the fieldwork.
This information draws on conversations with local real estate agents.
The price increase is based on Chongqing Municipal Statistics Bureau (2015), Table 7–29: Sales price indices of houses (1998–2014).
This figure is the average annual wage of workers employed by ‘non-private enterprises’. Data on the average wage of workers employed by ‘private enterprises’ are not available. Therefore, this figure is merely indicative.
This information draws on conversations with local real estate agents.
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The authors acknowledge Dr Franklin Obeng-Odoom for his valuable comments on this paper and Prof. Spike Boydell for guidance at an early stage of this research. The authors also thank the three anonymous reviewers, the managing editors and Sian Thompson for their critical and illuminating comments that have contributed greatly to improving the quality of the paper.
See Table 4.
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Wang, Y., Chen, J. Does the rise of pseudo-public spaces lead to the ‘end of public space’ in large Chinese cities? Evidence from Shanghai and Chongqing. Urban Des Int 23, 215–235 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41289-018-0064-1
- Pseudo-public space
- Social-spatial consequences