RAS Beyond City Series

Heritage Futures in Shanghai – Discussing Authenticity and Selective Memory of a Chinese Global City

Speaker: Plácido González Martínez

China’s ‘heritage boom’ is symptomatic of the new central role of culture in state governance. The deep economic and political motivations underlying this change are producing completely novel heritage narratives, where issues of authenticity strongly differ from those defined in the West, and where the memory of the cities and landscapes are selectively rewritten in order to cater to developmental aims. Aiming to stand out in a competitive global scenario, Shanghai offers an extraordinary example of the challenges faced by urban conservation, and of the creativity with which heritage-led redevelopment is changing the urban landscape of the city.

In this talk, Plácido will discuss a selection of cases that he has studied over the last years in Shanghai, referring to chosen official narratives: the cosmopolitan, the vernacular and the modern, to highlight how in a framework of urban entrepreneurialism, heritage futures are determined by authorized heritage discourses, where the splendour of remembrance startlingly coexists with the shadows of oblivion.

About the Speaker:

Plácido González Martínez – Ph.D. Architect and Urban Planner, is Professor at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University in Shanghai, and Distinguished Professor of Shanghai Universities (Eastern Scholar, 东方学者). He is Executive Editor of the journal Built Heritage and Vice President of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.

Convenor: Parul Rewal, Architect & Urbanist

RSVP: bookings@royalasiaticsociety.org.cn