This thesis is an analysis of critical spatial practices in Mainland China, exploring its critical and transformative potential as a practice on the interface of socially engaged art and urbanism. It focuses on top-down processes of urban regeneration and artistic strategies that employ public participation as a condition for the democratisation of spatial production. The speed of urbanisation as well as China’s 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. Consequently, art assumes a subversive role by interrupting conventional routines in urban regeneration. 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 bottom-up social/spatial changes. The co-production of political spheres, albeit unlawful in China, together with civil society, designers, district governments and stakeholders, become the premise for an informal life politics — where different voices are heard and concerns and visions can be deliberated.