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Transplanting cityscapes: the use of imagined globalization in housing commodification in Beijing

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How does globalization unfold in the process of urban development? Rather than examine the impact of globalization on the city as if the former were independent of and superimposed on the latter, this paper aims to address how globalization can be imagined, pursued and exploited in the process of local growth. Through examining the emergence of Western architectural motifs in a late socialist capital, Beijing, it is shown that transplanting cityscapes is a conscious action by developers to exploit globalization and thereby overcome the constraints of local markets. By associating themselves with globalization, the development elite hope to sell the vision of the good life in the era of globalization.

Keywords: Beijing; global city; global imagination; housing development

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2004


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