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This book charts the evolution of the contemporary Chinese urban built environment. Following the socialist revolution of 1949, China's architects and planners attempted to remodel urban settlements according to modern neighborhood design and planning principles. However, the gigantic social upheaval left these attempts unsuccessful. The result was a divided landscape: a modern functional urban world of work units (danwei) - the largely self-contained entities which integrated workplace, housing, and social services - strictly separated from an underdeveloped rural world.
Against this background and drawing on urban studies, environmental design history, urban studies, and critical theory, questions of Chinese modernity, nation building, spatial injustice, and urban-rural conflict are explored.