back to



Chinese New Towns:
Negotiating Citizenship and Physical Form

In China, a generation of New Towns has emerged recently, as to balance the distribution of the population in favor of the innermost parts of the country.
This phase of urbanization looks as vast and rapid as the preceding ones, but it is conditioned by some keywords promoted by the government, such as “sustainability” and “inclusive growth”. The need for a reciprocal exchange between Western and Eastern experience arises, aiming at more social and economically responsible urban practices.

The Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy in Beijing and the “CeNTO – Chinese New TOwns” team of Politecnico di Torino produced “What can Europe learn from China?”, a short documentary with interviews of some western architects, professors and scholars.

The event looks at the way in which Chinese New Towns are reworking physical and functional models coming from different contexts, and how these models contribute to the definition of a new social identity. The proliferation of thematic urban developments suggests the deployment of an intentional strategy for building communities, based on a collective consciousness – or rather a promise. Do these actually play a significant role in the building of a community, or are they mainly justified by market ambitions? Reciprocally, can the new models of Chinese New Towns become a reference for future urban plans of Western countries?
Policies and actual (physical) implementations – “tested” in China with the purpose of accelerating citizenship negotiation – will possibly give new insights for future applications in Western multipolar regions.

Linda Vlassenrood (International New Towns Institute), Zhong Ge (Tsinghua University) and Yang Dingliang (Harvard University) will discuss about this during the debate, that will be chaired by Michele Bonino and introduced by Anna Pagani and Maria Paola Repellino.


Cultural Institute at the Embassy of Italy in Beijing; Politecnico di Torino – CeNTO – Chinese New TOwns team
Anna Pagani and Maria Paola Repellino (curators)

Michele Bonino, chair – Politecnico di Torino; Zhong Ge – Tsinghua University; Linda Vlassenrood – International New Towns Institute; Dingliang Yang – Harvard University (participants)

Sept. 25th, 10:00 – 13:00

The Global School / Marketplace / 52 Gongmenkou Dongcha