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Sydney’s Chinatown/Chinese cities

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Interpreting the inscription of ‘Chineseness’ in cities beyond China is a challenging process. This article reflects upon some recent architectural and urban design issues in what is known as Sydney’s ‘Chinatown’. Drawing on some of the insights provided in Li Shiqao’s recent book, Understanding the Chinese City (2014), it provides a commentary on some of the challenges facing architects and urban designers in their attempts to rearticulate Sydney’s Chinatown. This comes at a time when development processes in central Sydney are seen as being driven by apparently contradictory forces of supertall apartment building design and fine-grain, low-rise ‘heritage’ streetscapes.
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Keywords: Asian urbanism; Chinatown; Chinese gardens; Sydney; architecture; urban design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Western Sydney

Publication date: 01 September 2014

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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