• Constructing Utopias: China's Emerging New Town Movement
    Zhongjie Lin
    Princeton University Press, 2021
    Zhongjie Lin

Zhongjie Lin, Yujiapu Financial District, 2013, Tianjin, China. Photo: Zhongjie Lin.

Steered by China’s aggressive policies of urbanization, hundreds of new towns were created in the last thirty years, which have dramatically transformed Asia’s urban landscapes and reshaped the geopolitical system worldwide. This book explores a series of model new towns built as demonstration projects of this unprecedented urbanization movement and delves into the reciprocal relationship between urban growth and the changing socioeconomic conditions. Each chapter focuses on a fundamental issue of urbanism from the spatial, economic, cultural, and environmental perspectives, and together, they expose mechanisms through which the new towns exert a profound impact on Chinese society. Simultaneously utopian and dystopian, these grand projects embody ambitions of the government and social elites in the global economy while forcing local communities to renegotiate their rights and identities in the city. Looking into their successes and failures sheds new light on contemporary planning theories and deepens understanding of the emerging sociospatial relationships.

Zhongjie Lin is a scholar and practitioner of urbanism with particular interest in urban design, ecological urbanism, utopianism, and Asian architecture and urbanism. He is associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Stuart Weitzman School of Design, and author of several books including Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist Movement: Urban Utopias of Modern Japan (Routledge, 2010), Urban Design in the Global Perspective (China Architectural & Building Press, 2006), The Making of a Chinese Model New Town (China Architectural & Building Press, 2012), and most recently Vertical Urbanism: Designing Compact Cities in China (Routledge, 2018). He is recipient of the 2012 ARCC New Researcher Award, 2012 Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship, and 2014 Abe Fellowship, as well as numerous research awards including three individual grants from the Graham Foundation. He is cofounder of Futurepolis, an award-winning international design consultancy. He holds a PhD in architecture from University of Pennsylvania and a master’s of architecture from Tongji University.