The speed of urbanisation in China as well as its political structures has resulted in insurmountable socio-economic inequalities affecting ordinary citizens, their rights to housing and to participate in the transformations of their urban environments. China’s standard planning procedures that are state-led, profit-driven and have little regard towards those disenfranchised by rapid urbanisation is met with artistic practices that draw attention to the potential of art for social criticism, stimulating debate and empowering civil society towards social changes. This thesis is an analysis of critical spatial practices in China, exploring its critical and transformative potential as a practice on the interface of socially-engaged art, architecture and urbanism. It focuses on practitioners working under top-down processes of urban regeneration and artistic strategies that employ public participation as a condition for the democratisation of spatial production.
Martin Krenn (advisor)