The Making of Global City: Local Governments’ Involvement in Dubai and Shanghai’s Urban Development

By Xiao Hu.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Economic globalization has resulted in the creation of global identity. The rise of both Shanghai and Dubai during the past decade has demonstrated that the new forms of global identities in today’s Asian cities have generated new views and understandings of heralding their ambitious aspiration of building unique global images through large and expensive construction projects.
All of those urban projects have altered the political role of the state in a new era. The globalization is introducing new actors into local politics and also transforming the actors within the city.
The transformation of political power structure in making the urban identities can be more driven by the proactive local governance as an institutional response to the global economic challenge. The power of government begins to actively transform itself into a new structure in order to consolidate its strength and presence. Both Shanghai and Dubai are two prominent examples which indicate the spatial reorganization of the economic advancements in both China and the UAE. The governments have played a significant role in the urban developments and strongly influenced the definitions of the urban identities.
This paper is to examine the role of the local governments in both Shanghai and Dubai, the city “makers”, in the development of the urban identities, and to compare the reconfigurations of the local governments in these two cities to respond to the global changes. It is argued that although globalization poses a potential threat to the urban identity for all cities, local governments can take positive and proactive involvements, and make historically and geographically contextualized response between their historical heritages and the changing view of the new identity.

Keywords: Globalization, Architecture, Urban Development, Dubai, Shanghai, Politics

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp.351-360. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 645.922KB).

Dr. Xiao Hu

Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture & Interior Design, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, USA

Dr. Xiao Hu is teaching architectural design at the University of Idaho as assistant professor. He gained PhD degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with specialization in architectural education. His research interests include urban design, spatial representation, traditional dwellings, and the globalization of architectural practice.


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