Publication: Spatial injustice of central area public spaces and its production mechanism: a case study in Nanjing, China
Like many other large cities in China, Nanjing central area has experienced a large scale urban regeneration since twenty-first Century, mega-retail-Led regeneration, which transforms the original residential land to commercial land, dominates the process. Large scale and huge volume flagship stores emerge on the regenerated land affected by the commercial building model coming from the developed countries. The emerging space form is also supported by the local government, because it can quickly make the image of the city catch up with the international standard, significantly enhance the level of physical space environment and bring considerable economic income. Nevertheless, more and more attention has been paid to the negative social effects brought by this space form. Taking the central area of Nanjing as the research object, based on 2000-2015 historical topographic maps, this paper reveals the transformation characteristics of central area space form in Nanjing, it shows that the space form has been transformed from the dispersed, high density and low plot ratio to the concentrated, low density and high plot ratio, in the meantime, it has produced many so-called “public spaces”. According to the authors’ firsthand survey data, this paper finds that the so-called "public spaces" are just the outdoor spaces separately belong to different commercial flagship stores, and in which there exist obvious spatial injustice. The injustice embodies in two aspects: one is the function simplification, the “public spaces” only bear the commercial and transportation functions, which can not meet the requirements of the central area public spaces to carry a variety of social activities; the other is the environment exclusiveness, the “public spaces” just designed to attract the young middle class with a consumption orientation, which can hardly be used conveniently, comfortably and with dignity by all regardless of age or economic circumstances. This paper also analyzes the production mechanism of space injustice from the aspect of China’s land regeneration system, and the local government entrepreneurialism and the capitalization of space production are defines as the root cause. In accordance with the analysis result, this paper suggests the public policy attributes of urban regeneration should be strengthened through the reformation of the land regeneration system and planning-making system, and the improvement of public participation, so as to obtain the realization of spatial justice.
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