Literature Review_ “Constructing The Real (E)state of Chinese Contemporary Art: Reflections on 798, in 2004” (Berghuis, 2008)

Posted: April 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

“These days, the experimental art scene is reinventing itself as a highly profitable and marketable, commercial cultural industry.”
– Berghuis, 2008

The main argument of Berghuis to the art district like Dashanzi is that he found the most fundamental and essential development occurring here is in deed the real estate industry more than a contemporary art industries. Though, the place like Dashanzi district started as an experimental art basement of artists’ initiative, but it now ends up a trendy cultural cluster and commercial district whose biggest beneficiaries are property dealers. The loser could be the artists who contributed to the reborn of 798 art factory but eventually have to be driven off by the increasingly raised residential rent. In fact, the distinct culture context or creativity brand helps promoting the real estate speculation and generates a compound economy of creative industries and commercial industries.

Using the creative industries as overwrap, and then packaging the commercial oriented industries into creative economics, such a development mode of creative industries was copied by a lot of followers. As in Ningbo area, we’ve observed Loft8, Creation harbour and Creative 3rd plant established one and another designed in similar way. In a first sight, such creative industries may bring instant benefit as it successfully promotes the real estate speculation. However, the more in-depth and profound effect should be  questioned and highlighted: how long could this mode of “fake” creative industries further go?


Berghuis, Thomas J(2008), ‘Constructing The Real (E)state of Chinese Contemporary Art: Reflections on 798, in 2004’ , Urban China 33 [Special Issue: ‘Creative China: Counter-Mapping Creative Industries’].

Below are some pictures took from Creative 3rd plant.

The Cluster Name: Creative 3rd plant

The location is formerly the No3. plant subordinate to Shanghai drawnwork import and export company

Building No1 is right now repacked to a hotel.

Some are lofts for design companies.

Insider there is a new-concept restaurant; about 100rmb per capital consumption.

The ceiling of restaurant keeps the original of old factory

website on China environmental law

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

How academic resource/ knowledge contribute to local communities

Posted: April 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »    is the link (in Chinese)of one major NGO on environmental protection in East China–Green Zhejiang Associations which is

  •  engaged in public educations, children and students green summer camp and other social campaigns for EP.
  •   issues a quarterly Green Newsletter which supposed to be the only one organization to do so
  •  The team has also close networking with local mainstream media.
  •  Members included university students, individual EP specialists and some organizations.
  • used to be funded by several international and national Funds.

We can work together to arrange a lecture/speech on E-waste as in Topic  3  in our lectures to share the ideas with members there  some time in the coming months that our ideas might become their next campaign (Not sure July is suitable for its summer vocation for some students in the university, TBC)

Knowledge sharing and transformation to practice is a good  start for academic birds’ effort striving  for a better environment.

Local Policy on E-waste management( in Chinese)

Posted: April 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

1. policy published in Ningbo Environmental Protection Bureau. See Chapter 5

2. Essay on” E-waste in China’

Essay Questions(draft)

Posted: April 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | No Comments »

It sounds beautiful: whose paradises in the coming HOPSCA Time in Ningbo?-A comparative study of key HOPSCA Projects in Ningbo

This is the initial thought on the topic.  As HPSCA becomes more focus in urban development from the government to property developers, to small investors and consumers who with lovely and high expectations by the propaganda, it’s to be tested that does this all-in-one model serve well the newly forming communities around?

To be developed…

Experience “flanering” in the city!

Posted: March 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

“The Beauty of YinZhou”, is it beautiful in your eye?!


Finally, human being move into the city…and finally humen being evolve to the “animals”?!!…


(PS, the direct interpretaion of this ad. is: Weekend animals in the night light…are exceedingly fascinating and charming!)

2 functions presented by the wall: enclosure movement+propaganda=legitimacy


Rape flowers: Survived after” raped”, still  blooming and lovely~~

油菜花(英文名Rape flower!): “蹂躏”之后依然坚强并绽放着~~

After demolition, before exploitation, it’s the “sweet” home of informal immigrants


有人说过:世界上最美的建筑是废墟.  更甚, 废墟还有不死之灵~~

Someone said that: the most beautiful architecture is the ruins. More than that..this  ruin never die~~

Rarely the case: one lucky ancient town “living” in city~


The truth is: we need to “protect” our heritage…but how to define which is heritage and which not?


No reason…some part of my heart was touched in this moment!


The historic point of Yinzhou urbanization: title changed from “county” to “district”?!


The “economic development zone” under bridge…thanks to the golden land of city


Now, should we count down for what?! Benz, ICBC, or sponsor’s ad expire date?

时间为谁而止步~~奔驰? ICBC?赞助商们?!

Book City


Situated oppositely to Ningbo LaoWaiTan, formerly the place of old flour factory. One vivid comment on this change is very impressive, so allow me to quote here: this plant, before producing food for body,  now upgrades to produce food for mind.

位于外滩对岸,原面粉厂位置. 有种说法,值得一提…以前生产粮食~~现在,提供精神粮食

The spot next to Book City is another imaginary landmark of Ningbo: Fortune Centre.The question is, can it be a real name card of Ningbo? Or just another non-place?!



The third spot of this industrial chain is HeFeng Creative Square

What you can get from a bunch of wall advertisements: creative centre + business centre + city centre=potential stock in real estate?!


(PS : English version of wall ads.

pic1: The creativity headquater of chinese designers

pic2: stylish resturants, creative retails, high-end leisure centre, and in-style industies…

pic3: JinYi 5 stars cinena and Four Season HeFeng hotel join in.

pic4: Location in the mouth of 3 rivers,  scarce and rare lots…

The Slogan: Create World, Win Future

标语:创世界 赢未来

To what extent are the migrant workers related to creative industry in the era of Post-Fordism: taking Ningbo for an example

Posted: May 31st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »


Within the recent twenty years, developed capitalist countries are in the process of promoting economic structure. As a part of global economy, China is also affected by this change. Now, in China, the most important thing is to change from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’. Directed by this objective, creative industry has developed to a certain extent. However, as a basic constituent part, migrant workers’ roles in creative industry always ignored. Few people connect migrant workers with creative industry. Actually, as the typical subject of Post-Fordism, highly flexible and unstable of migrant workers fit to the features of creative industry, which is also the typical industry in the era of Post-Fordism, to a certain degree. However, question of what is the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers is arising. In order to discuss the question, this paper regards Ningbo, a second-tier city in Zhejiang province, as an example to analyze the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers in the era of Post-Fordism. The concept of Post-Fordism and its representation in contemporary China will be first presented. The relationship between creative industry and migrant workers will be then examined from three perspectives, with focuses on the creative production and consumption, the spatial distribution and the creative expression.

1. Post-Fordism and Its Representation in Contemporary China

Post-Fordism is a concept corresponding to the Fordism. Based on producing commercial article in a large scale on the production line, Fordism is a mode of production which regards standardized products and low prices as important means in business competition (Braverman 1974). Since 1950s, Fordism has been practiced by western companies generally. As a result, the golden age of capitalist economy occured. However, by the end of 1960s, the environment of world economy had changed, and the inherent disadvantages of Fordism emerged. In order to reply the crisis, developed capitalist countries began to promote economic structure (Alain 1987). In this process, two modes, Neo-Fordism and Post-Fordism, for resolving the crisis shaped regularly (Albritton et al. 2002). In the eye of the development of capitalist countries from 1990s, Post-Fordism represented the developmental direction of the mode of production. Comparing with Fordism, Post-Fordism is a mode of production based on information and communication techniques and to satisfy the individuating demands. And both the process of production and labor relations of Post-Fordism are flexible. Specifically, Post-Fordism includes flexible specialization and lean production. Flexible specialization means small quantity production done by skilled workers takes the place of quantity production on the production line. When consumer’s demand is changing, temporary groups for producing special products may be superseded by other associations. Lean production means companies set up close ties among research, production and sale departments. The innovation in both technology and product is important. In addition, companies should enhance core competitive in main areas and outsource the weak parts of production to other companies, Amin notes (1994).

Although Post-Fordism is used to describe the mode of production in western society, China is affected by it inevitably in the wave in economic globalization. Actually, the representation of Post-Fordism in China is obvious and even special. Now, in China, the transition of traditional industries is in progress. In order to move to a better position in industry chain, originality which can enhance the product added value is paid more attention. In other words, creative industry has become more and more important in the industrial structures in China. Actually, creative industry is a typical industry of Post-Fordism. Firstly, aiming at the various requirements, different creative products emerge in the market. The typical example is fake design. In fact, the invaluable asset of fake design is to satisfy the individuation demands of customers. It will be further discussed in following part. In addition, the various demands necessitated the small quantity and special production. Fake design can also be a good example. Moreover, because of the unstable market requirements, creative companies have to employ workers in a flexible way. Low-skilled workers were gathered and rejected casually. And because of a lack of creative power, Low-skilled workers are classified into low-level labor force, earning little money. (Fusheng & Lei 2005). In China, migrant workers are the main parts of these low-skilled workers. They usually get low-level job like serving for resort, recycling wastes and constructing infrastructures facilities of creative industry. And the employment is also temporary, after finishing the work migrant workers should find new jobs. It should be noted that the feature of no fixed abode helps migrant workers adapt doing odd jobs.

2. The Relationship Between Creative Industry and Migrant Workers in the Levels of Creative Production and Consumption

2.1 Creative Production

In general, migrant workers are considered as in the periphery of creative industry. Neilson (2008) points out that in China, the development of creative industry should be supported by the infrastructure construction. And with the development of creative industry, more businessmen have desire to exploit real-estate in the edge of the city. So, a flood of cheap labor is needed. Ned & Neilson (2008) also indicate large influxes of migrant works solve the problem of the lack of labor force. Of course, migrant workers who have few work skills usually do work in the lower echelon of the creative industry. Their labor is highly flexible. Within some dates, migrant workers may gather together to work in the building site. After building the house, they have to find another jobs, it may or may not building houses.

The example of migrant workers in Ningbo can be a good instance. Shiyong (2007) reports Ningbo is the big producer in manufacturing industry in China. In the era of Post-Fordism, innovation in traditional industries is in the process of transforming in Ningbo. In this process, local labor force is far from the requirement of development, more migrant workers are needed, as. Low-skilled migrant workers always do the low-level jobs in Ningbo, such recycling waste products and building houses (Shuli & Jialiang & Suoping 2008). By researching, the recycling industry is prospering in Ningbo. There are various recycle stations and markets, such as Nanmeng second-hand goods markets, Housun metal scrap recycling market, and Wangchun renewable resource recycling station. A large number of migrant workers work in the recycling industry. This situation is quite similar to migrant workers in other industries. Although migrant workers’ work is not directly related to creative production, they guarantee the operation and development of creative industry.

A Migrang worker carries bricks on his back. Behind him, there is a tall building. ( Yinzhou area in Ningbo)


2.2 Creative Consumption

Migrant workers are usually in the low-end of value distribution of creative industry. People think that they do not have the ability to consume the creative products which contain more potential values. The whole imagination about migrant workers’ cultural consumption is connected to the tasteless performance of sings and dances or recreation in the low-grade KTV. Maybe these can be parts of portrayal of migrant workers’ cultural consumption. However, the innovative ability, in both production and consumption, of migrant workers cannot be ignored. Xiaoming & Jun (2008) points out that actually, in the process of transforming from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’, a very special mode of creation which is called ‘Fake Design’ has appeared. Fake design began in the manufacturing of mobile phone in 2008 and developed in manufacturing of digital products. After that, fake design is popular in various industries. The interesting thing is that the fake design products naturally have the characters of Post-Fordism. The producers of fake design products have broken the mode of quantity production, designing specific products to cater for different needs of customers. The fake design products enabled underclass, especially migrant workers, to afford the creative products. Thus, migrant works are included in both creative production and consumption.

To take Ningbo for an example, fake design products are also quite popular in migrant workers. During the research, migrant workers’ mobile phones which can easily be recognized as the imitation of Nokia, Samsung and other famous brands attract my interests. Liu (2009) told me that he spent 490 RMB on the phone in which the term of Sunsung was printed. Fake design phones make migrant workers look like townsman in some ways. Obviously, without fake design products, they may not use phones because of the high prices.

Migrant Workers & Fake Design Mobile Phone


3. The Relationship Between Creative Industry and Migrant Workers in the Levels of Spatial Distribution

The relationship between creative industry and migrant workers in the levels of spatial distribution should be considered from two aspects. The first perspective is about the relation of the geographic distribution between migrant workers and creative industry. Butt (2008) indicates that, on one hand, as the main mode of production of Post-Fordism, cluster production is very common in creative industry. By gathering spontaneously or planning governmentally or developing commercially, creative cluster always distributes in the special spaces in the city. Neilson, & Rossiter (2008) point out that the operation of cluster production needs more supporting infrastructure which can bring more opportunities of low-skilled work. So, a large number of migrant workers are desperate for work crowd in creative cluster. In China, creative clusters gather in both the center and the edge of a city, a large amount of migrant workers also can be founded there. On the other hand, the cost of living is a prime consideration for migrant workers, so they tend to dwell around the creative cluster rather than live far from them. And the liquidity of migrant workers provides possibility for them to move willfully. A common example is that, in China, around the construction site, there are numbers of miserable work sheds in which migrant workers dwell. After building the house, these miserable work sheds are dismantled, migrant workers should move again until to find another temporary job. This process occurs through a cycle.

The second perspective is about the relation of the social space distribution between migrant workers and creative industry. In the era of Post-Fordism, creative industry has replaced traditional manufacturing industry, becoming the principal sector of the economy to some degree in the city (Susan & Gordon & Harloe M 1992). The transformation of industrial structure leads to polarization of the society. People who are in the high-end of value distribution of creative industry chain have become the new elites, such as the designers and the developers of real-estate. People who are in the low-end of value distribution of creative industry are in the lower class of the society, like the migrant workers (Zhigang & Fulong & Hanlong 2004). The polarization of social class also reflects the geographic distribution of different classes in the city. Elite always distribute in the luxury condominium of the civic center and the suburban villa while lower class, especially the migrant workers, usually live together in the urban and rural connecting areas. And they build shanty or lease unadorned houses own by local peasants, characterized by similar native places and occupations.

In Ningbo there are 3 kinds of conditions of the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers. First of all, creative cluster in Ningbo mainly gather in the industrial parks of the periphery of the city, such as ‘Creative Valley’ in Zhenhai area and ‘Innovation 128’ in Yinzhou area, and lofts of the old city town, such as Loft 8 in Haishu area and No.3 factory in Jiangdong area, as Che (2009) notes. The lofts were reconstructed from old factories, surrounded by communities. Migrant workers merely appear in these areas. However, both the ‘Creative Valley’ and ‘Innovation 128’ are located in the edge of the cities. Although, these two creative industry parks operate in the early stage, migrant workers have already assembled in these places. The construction of infrastructural facilities needs more migrant workers. Che (2009) also points out that both of two parks are projects of real-estate. Migrant workers can find more low-skilled work there, such as carrying of bricks and recycling metallic scrap. Secondly, affected by recycling industries, numbers of migrant workers gather in the city villages. City villagers distribute in every sections of Ningbo. A recycling market near the city village can be always found. For example, Zhang (2009) who lives in Housun village in Haishu area of Ningbo told us that he has lived in city village for one year and a half. In the beginning, he and his neighbor were introduced to work here by his villager of Anhui Province. Every day, they collect metal scarp in the metal scrap recycling market near Housun village and do some simple processing. By doing this work, they can earn more money than farming in his hometown. However, he has to move house and find new job, because Housun village are in the process of demolishing. Actually, more city villages, such as Lianfeng villiage and Wangchun village, are in the process of demolishing because of the urbanization of Ningbo. By then, migrant workers may gather in new places which can provide low-skilled jobs (Tiefeng 2009).

Temporary Shanty


City Village : ‘Wang Chun’ Village


Thirdly, some migrant workers have relatively permanent home in Ningbo. This condition can be found in the creative industries which require some skills. The noticeable example is the textile and clothing industry. In fact, the transformation of textile and clothing industry in Ningbo has happened. Technical innovation was paid more attention to. Thus the requirement of work skills is relatively high. Some migrant workers have the abilities to work in textile mills and garment factories. And their problems of lodging are solved by enterprise. For instance, Ningbo Youngor clothing company, the top enterprises of textile and clothing industry in China, provides dormitories and supporting facilities for both local and migrant workers. The lives of migrant workers who have some work skills are relatively stable and they are called white-collar in migrant workers (Tan 2009).

4. The Relationship Between Creative Industry and Migrant Workers in the Level of Creative Expression

In our established thoughts, migrant workers merely related to the construction of infrastructural facilities of creative industry, the relationship between migrant workers and creative industry in the level of creative expression are not concerned. However, by digging, the deep relationship can be revealed. Guo (2009) indicates that the development of culture needs supporting of a stable and secure environment, while creation can be stimulated in the circumstance of uncertainties and fluidity. Thus, in this respect, the living environment of migrant workers can stimulate some new idea and new practices, no matter whose ideas and practices they are. TO view from another perspective, Blackwell (2008) represents that, migrant workers from different provinces congregated in the urban periphery, creating collisions among diverse experiences, skills and talents. These collisions provided a huge potential for innovation. Actually, the creative expressions, made by both migrant workers themselves and other creative producers, have arisen.

4.1 Self-Expression of Migrant workers

Recent years, migrant workers express themselves through various forms in China. In megacities, autobiography wrote by migrant workers are quite popular. Besides, lots of migrant workers are interest in poetical creation. In the first national poetry competition of migrant workers in 2008, more than 3000 migrant workers took part in the competition and over 20,000 poetries were handed in. All of these works express the state of surviving of migrant workers (They are migrant workers, they are poets 2008).

It seems that it is more possible for migrant workers to be stimulated to give voice to themselves in megacities. However, actually, in the Second-tier Cities, migrant workers are also interested in expressing their life and the methods for expressing are even quite special. In Ningbo, by researching several dwelling places, a general phenomenon is that migrant workers like to use something related to their works to beautify their environment. In Lianfeng village of Haishu area where rubbish collectors assembled, posters peeled from magazines, bottles, and decorations are used to decorate rubbish collectors’ houses. In a house, a dollar bill was stuck to the glass. Weng (2009) told me that he didn’t know which countries the bill belonged to, it was a memento of his life of collecting waste. Of course, these creative expressions are quite simple and their influences are limited, they can be considered as a channel for reading and understanding by other people in the same class and even higher classes (Yue 2008).

Actually, creative expression of migrant workers in Ningbo goes far beyond the simple way, instead, some cultural and artistic groups where members are all migrant workers have been established. Most of the groups perform just for enjoyment, and a few of them perform in public. Two groups named ‘Zhen Hai Art Ensemble’ in Zhen Hai area and ‘Wei Feng gongs and drums team’ in Jiang Dong area had performed publicly for several times (Zui & Yangyu & Yifen 2007). In addition, original painting exhibition drew by migrant workers is on show. The topics of these performances and works always closely related to the life of migrant workers, such as their love life, the housing problems and their expectation of life. Now, their performance has attracted artists and businessmen. Artists want to cooperate with these groups while businessmen desire to push their performances to the market. All of these seem that a creative cooperation crossed the boundaries is about to come forth.

Cultural and Artistic Groups of Migrant Workers


4.2 Concern by Others

In China, more and more producers in creative industry bring migrant workers under the vision of creative expression. Two methods are always used. Firstly, designers add some characters of migrant workers in design. For example, a canvas shoe named ‘Ospop’ is now popular in European and American Market. In fact, this kind of shoes was improved from shoes of migrant workers in daily life. Secondly, migrant workers are taken as the objects for creation. The influential works are photography shows named ‘Frailty and Potential­­——Flowing at the Edgy’ in Beijing Library in 2006 and the exhibition of work shed in which migrant workers live in Shanghai Biennale in 2008.

Ospop &  Shoes of Migrant Workers in China


In Ningbo, products affected by the characters of migrant workers do not emerge at the present moment. However, there are exhibitions concerned about the migrant workers. For instance, a photography show of periphery of the city lay out in Ningbo People’s Art Center. When the camera zooms in the tired old dress, the anxious look and low-skilled work, like opening stands and pedaling tricycle, the subsistent state of migrant workers is demonstrated. This demonstration is powerful, helping paying more attention to these bottom people, as Shen (2009), the photographer of the pictures, says.

Although positive evaluations of creative producers’ expression of migrant workers are primary, there are still some negative evaluations. Shi (2009) pointed out that, for migrant workers, the real changes brought by these expressions are slight. Moreover, because of the positions of higher level which creative producers are usually in, these expressions emphasize on displaying creative forms than real contents. Migrant workers serve as a means for revealing innovation. Lei Zheng, the sponsor of a migrant workers literary society named ‘Beijing Work Songs Literary Society’, supports this opinion. And, he also noted that, in this stage, the main glances of creative producers from superior attitudes to migrant workers are sympathetic and curious. (Lei Zhen: ‘Work Songs’ are Needed in This Era 2006). Thus, it is important for migrant workers to express themselves in innovative approaches, and achieving understanding. It may be a contradiction. Creative producers can help migrant workers gain more attention, but they cannot display the real life and emotion of migrant workers. Migrant workers can faithfully representing themselves but the influence is limited.


In contemporary China, creative industry has developed to a certain degree. However migrant workers are considered not relate to the creative industry. Actually, as the typical subject of Post-Fordism, migrant workers play important roles in developing creative industry. This paper takes Ningbo as an example to discuss the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers.

The first section is about the concept and background. The notion of Post-Fordism is first explained. Post-Fordism is a mode of production which is on the basis of information and communication technique and to satisfy the individuating demands. And both the process of production and labor relations of Post-Fordism are flexible. Then the representation of Post-Fordism in China is discussed. It can be found the migrant workers’ characters fitting to the creative industry to a certain extent. The second section examines the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers from the perspective of creative production and consumption. On one hand, large influxes of migrant workers solve the problem of the lack of labor force in creative industry. On the other hand, the fake design products provide opportunities for migrant workers to consume creative inductive. Thus, migrant workers are included in both creative production and consumption. The third section discusses the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers from the perspective of the spatial distribution. The creative industry affects the distribution of migrant workers from both geographic and social levels. The forth section talks about the relation between creative industry and migrant workers from the perspective of the creative expression, other people and migrant workers themselves have different methods of expression. Thus, in the paper, the relationship between creative industry and migrant workers are discussed from these three levels.

It should be noted that, from the subjective aspect, because of the time limitation more researches of literatures and field works of the relationship between migrant workers and creative industry are not done. From the objective aspect, multiple roles and effects of migrant workers in creative industry have not been admitted and the academic studies of them are also limited. Thus the discussion of relationship between migrant workers and creative industry in this paper is not very deep and comprehensive. They could be further researched in the future and of interest to the scholars or other people who are related to creative industry or migrant workers.


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The Combination of Cultural Heritage Tourism and Creative Industry

Posted: May 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: | No Comments »


Tourism has been found to be the number one industry in many countries and has been a driving force for economic growth. Tourism in China has greatly expanded over the last few decades. The emergence of a newly rich middle class and an easing of restrictions on movement by the Chinese authorities are both fueling this travel boom. China has become one of the most-watched and hottest outbound tourist markets around the world. It has been estimated that at least 1.3 billion Chinese need a place to go for entertainment with the increasingly growing of their income (Investors ride China’s theme park craze 2006) In 2006, according to the UNWTO, China received 49.6 million international visitors, making it the fourth most visited countries in the world (Lu 2006). According to the National Tourism administration of China, China would be the world’s number one tourism destination and the fourth-largest nation for tourist departures by 2020(ibid).

Cultural heritage tourism is the most important category in China’s tourism industry since China has a vast land and five-thousand-year history. And due to the economic and cultural competition among cities all over china, ancient town tourism becomes useful tool to attract invests and create wealth for local government. According to Hu (2005), ancient villages refer to “preserve the rich heritage and of great historical value special or commemorative significance of the Revolutionary towns and villages.” He further argues that accompanied socio-economic and cultural development, protection of ancient towns is an important part of China (ibid).

First of all, this essay will discuss general benefits in economy and culture and challenges of developing cultural heritage tourism. The next part is brief introduction of ancient town tourism market in China. Finally, with the reference of Cicheng Ancient County and the City of Tien-kung DIY theme park, I will apply the theory of global city brought up by Sassen to examine its position in whole market and discuss the possibility to succeed in the future.


The benefit and challenge of heritage tourism

National Trust for Historic Preservation defines it as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts, and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.”(Hargrove 2002)The value of cultural heritage tourism surpass the entertainment, it owns both economic and cultural benefits and meanings for the local government and people.
Tourism is a powerful economic development tool. Tourism creates jobs, provides new business opportunities and strengthens local economies. When cultural heritage tourism development is done right (Hargrove 2002), it also helps to protect our nation’s natural and cultural treasures and improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike. A well-managed tourism program improves the quality of life as residents take advantage of the services and attractions tourism adds. It promotes community pride, which grows as people work together to develop a thriving tourist industry. In addition, it provide authentic environment for people to experience culture and history. It also creates new opportunities for tourists to gain an understanding of an unfamiliar place, people or time (ibid).
On the other hand, cultural heritage tourism also provides challenge and problems. One is the protection of original, when a community’s heritage is the substance of what it offers visitors, protecting that heritage is essential. So a major challenge in cultural heritage tourism programs is ensuring that increased tourism does not destroy the very qualities that attract visitors in the first place. Because tourism is a highly sophisticated, fast-changing industry, it presents its own challenges. Moreover, tourism demands infrastructure for tourists, such as roads, airports, water supplies, restaurants, resorts and so on. These deeds deprive the rights and living space of locals and most benefits have taken by the big investors not for locals.

The Proliferation of ancient town tourism in China
China is a vast land with rich tourism resources includes scenic spots, historical heritages, spectacular landscapes, and various traditional customs. Huang (2006) notes China is a cultural enriched country with a history of over 5,000 years and the culture is the essence of Chinese tourism. According to a recent Baidu’s survey, a specific online travel service website of ancient town, Sozhen.Com, is the forth popularity among top ten travel website (ancient town gain more attention 2008). This shows the favorite and popular extent of ancient town tourism in China both foreign and domestic tourists. According the estimate by KuanSan government, Zhouzhuang opened the first site to tourists in 1989, there are only 55,000 person and 200 thousands of income per year (Zhouzhuang tour: 20 years transition 2008). In 2007 there were over 300 million tourists the sales exceed 1.2 billion per year (ibid).Another old city Lijiang in Yunnan province, there were only 3000 to 4000 tourists per year. After it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the amount of tourists has reached 430 millions per year. (Li & Zhou 2008)

As the popularity of heritage tourism grows, so does the competition. According to Kearns and Philo (1993), there are three main connected elements to consider the competition of cities, culture, history and capital. The cultural and historic resource is the most superior advantage and priceless asset to gain attractions. With the 5000-thousand-year history context, there are over two hundred old towns with thousands history around China. Every local government invests enormous capital for developing variously characteristic theme of ancient town tourism to rival the priority since they have been aware that ancient town is a potential business. The competition of ancient town tour has reached the climax.


Ancient town and fashionable creative industry
Case study: Ancient Cicheng and the City of Tien-kung DIY

Cicheng is located in the North of Ningbo with over 2000 years history. It is presently the best preserved ancient county town in south China. It maintains old chessboard pattern of the capital- Chang in Tang dynasty. There are three verticals and seven horizontals and totally thirty three alleys. It owns thirty three sites of the National Key preserved cultural heritage. There are the best preserved Confucain School, the only one extant imperial examination house in eastern Zhejiang province, and the largest ancient China government court in south China. There are totally thirty three national forth-level preserved heritages. (DIY a kind of fashion and an ancient town 2009) With the abundant historical resources, Cicheng becomes one of the key sites to develop tourism and cultural industries by Ningbo Government, According the official of Jiangbei district government, Mr. Chen, the future cultural development is located in CiCheng, and it has orientated as “The specimen of Chinese Ancient County, the paradise of DIY” (Chen 2009)


(Cicheng Ancient County)


According to Sassen’s notion of global city (2001), the specialized difference is the key point to posit a city in the global economy at present. The specialized contribution and function include culture, economy or politic is the foundation of a city to have its own status or market in global economy (Sassen 2001). This notion is also valid to apply for examining Cicheng’s position and opportunity in the whole tourism industry of China.

In cultural and historical conditions, compare to other old towns in south China, the most distinctive difference is that Cicheng is an ancient government and administration county. Others almost are waterfront villages. Such as the most famous old town Zhouzhuang on the skirt of Shanghai is a typical representation of water village tourism in south China. Zhouzhuang is noted for its profound cultural background, the well preserved ancient residential houses, the elegant watery views and the strong local colored traditions and customs (Zhouzhuang tour: 20 years transition 2008). On the other hand, Cicheng also possesses thousands years of history and maintains primitive and nostalgic characters. Besides, it preserves lots of heritage related to political systems in ancient China. There are court, examination house and school, totally thirty three heritage site had been preserved. Moreover, Cicheng is the birthplace of the Hemudu culture. In 1987 the oldest clogs was found in CiCheng, and it is the first shoes in China and world history. With those rich innate terms, Cicheng undoubtedly becomes one of advantageous means for Ningbo developing cultural heritage tourism. ( DIY fashion and an ancient town 2009)

Then, in terms of classification of cities by Sassen, the second tier cities are typically located in the neighborhood of the first tier cities (Sassen 1994). Ningbo as a second tier city of China benefits from the first tier city Shanghai and Hangzhou, but also suffers from competition with them. Since the launch of the Hangzhou Bay Bridge in 2008, the distance from Shanghai to Ningbo has shortened to 160 kilometers. The effect of two-hour-drive tour did bring some effects into Ningbo’s tourism. According to a survey, the tourists grow around 13% in 2008 compare to last year. (Ningbo’s tourism appears the effect of Hangzhou Bay Bridge 2008)

Due to Shanghai 2010Expo is coming next, it is officially estimated that over 70 million foreign and domestic tourists will attend this mega-event Expo. About 35% will stay is Yangzi River Delta for sightseeing. Zhejiang province will be the main destination to attract 90 percentages of visitors (ibid). In fact, Cicheng is the first destination from Shanghai to Ningbo through the Hangzhou Bay Bridge. The subordinate status is a severe challenge for Ningbo. Moreover, it is the unarguable truth that the awareness and popularity of Cicheng is less than other ancient towns in Zhejiang province such as Xitang and Wuzhen.

The race with other possible competitors also exists in the battle of marketing and propaganda. Lack of awareness is another current problem of Cicheng to compete with other similar ancient towns. For example, Zhouzhuang is posited as “this first water village in China” and orient Paris and it become well-known due to the Chinese eminent painter Chen Yifei’s art piece “the memory of hometown”(Art village Zhouzhuang attempts to build up orient Montmartre high land 2007). Another example is Citing, the famous director Guan Jinpeng choose this nostalgic water village to shoot the famous drama “Huahun” which means “painting soul”. After the drama broadcast throughout the country, it attracted numerous tourists to go there for recapturing classical scene. (From tourism transit to leisure, what should Shanghai develop ancient town tour 2006) Many specialists consider the brand play a vital role in the construction of consumer identity (Elliot & Wattanasuwan 1998), and can provide “linking value” which links users into communities. Moreover, in this information and media society, turning into the spectacle and raise the visibility means control the capital and opportunity (Debord 1968). Compare to other old towns, increasing awareness and establishing branding is an urgent and crucial mission. Cicheng needs effective propaganda to promote the popularity to gain higher market share


(No.1 water vallage in South China :  Zhouzhaung  from:


To counter increased competition and manufactured heritage experiences, destinations join together to create theme tours and trails (Margrove 2002).Tourism Research Centre of Chinese Academy of Social Science chairman, Hong Chinhua says that handicraft, real estate, film industries and so on can increase the finical income, enhance the attraction of ancient tourism and also provide more employments for locals (From tourism transit to casual, what should Shanghai develop ancient town tour 2006). In Cicheng, the planners and marketers meditate combining the nostalgic aura and the first one DIY, “do it by your self”, handicraft theme park to create its own specialized difference.

The chef consultant of this DIY theme park, Professor Huang Yongsong, is an authoritative specialist in the field of Chinese folk custom culture. He named this DIY theme park as “City of Tien-kung” which is adopted form the ancient Chinese science and technical encyclopedia – “Tien-kung Kai-wu” written by Song Yingxing in Ming Dynasty. This is the first professional agriculture and handicraft encyclopedia in the world, but finally lost overseas. Coincidentally, the first edition was found in Ningbo. (Huang 2009)

There have been several international DIY industries companies entered the City of Tien-kung, include famous transnational cross stitch company DMC, the biggest sewing machine’s factory in China, a professional arts pigment company from French and clothing handicraft company fro Taiwan. Besides, there have been over 10 DIY studios such as poetry, candles, homemade dolls, paintings. For Mr. Huang, handicraft is the accumulation of the human race’s culture and civilization (Huang 2009). Tourists visiting Cicheng Ancient County and doing handcraft with their hands not only can experience the wisdom of ancestors but also can gain the feeling of achievement and stimulate the creativity.


(Do it by yourself!    Pic from www.天工之城


However, DIY is a niche and immature market in China. The City of Tien-kung DIY leisure land may need more time to promote and educate the potential target. Meanwhile, it also needs to prepare for facing the competition and challenge from other national scale theme parks. It is raised recently the investment craze of theme park around China. The biggest two theme parks around the world, Universal Studio and US-based Walt Disney Land are all prepared to launch in China. Disney land is planning to build up first Disney land in Shanghai’s Nanhui district and to open in 2014. In addition, Zhouzhuang poured US$40 millions constructing a theme park with five thousands Chinese history. And Shenzhen cooperated with Canada-based Bedford International Financial Group planning a $3 billion theme park called China Today based on the legend of Three Kingdoms. An official Liu Jingwang worriedly says “China’s amusement parks and attractions industry is already plagued by repetitive investments from local governments. And he worries that what people do with so many theme parks.” (Investors ride China’s theme park craze 2006)

In fact, DIY theme park is a small part of whole plan and the alternative goal is to build up an only one and number one DIY creative industry cluster in China. Ningbo is the foundation of manufactory, but lacks the capacity of creative innovation. The concept of DIY is not only for attracting tourists, but also has been planned to build as a design and creative cluster of Chinese traditional handicrafts and culture. The main planner Xing Ping says, “The circumstance and condition of Ningbo is different from others, it is impossible to duplicate the model from Beijing or Shanghai (Xing 2009). The strength of Ningbo is manufacturing technique and experience. To combine creative industry and manufactory is beneficial for both sides.” (ibid) And Mr. Huang posits that it is designed as a specialist service plat form for integrating resources and knowledge to provide various infrastructures and equipments (Huang 2009).

Keane (2009) mentions the general phenomenon of domestic manufactories in China which the profits usually go overseas. The author of “Creative Industries are changing China”, Li Wuwei says,” they eat the meat and we have the bone. They eat the rice and we the husk.” (Keane 2009) It is a pertinent description of the same thought for all traditional manufactories’ entrepreneurs. Many local and domestic manufactories are now realizing the bottleneck of improvement and the value of creativity, especially after the financial crisis. An owner of loofah company, Mr. Fei says, “We think about the transition of our business after the global economic crisis. We want to improve products from cleanser materials to a healthy brand.” Upgrading image and building up brands is their same aspiration and this is the reason to think about join the development of DIY industry.

Since local governments all over China have been realized the value of the creative economy, the combination of cultural heritage tourism and creative industries are duplicated in other destinations and proliferated around China. For examples, Zhouzhuang launched its Art village in 2007 and attracted over 150 artists from America, United of Kingdom, Australia, Japan and mainland China to set studios (Art village Zhouzhuang attempts to build up orient Montmartre high land 2007). Afterwards, Kunshan cultural creativity industry cluster also located in 2008. There are totally 25 projects include 10 advanced manufactories, 5 research and development centers and 10 modern service and cultural creativity industries (Zhouzhuang adds new dynamic power 2008). The local government intends to construct Zhouzhuang as the most potential and influential base in Yangzi river delta during five to ten years (ibid.)

However, the construction of creativity cluster is not equal to the development of creative industry. According to Sassen (2001), forming a cluster in this global economy and highly connected digital world needs to highlight its specialized function. This is not only in terms of basic infrastructures and facilities, but also in terms of highly specialized services, such as financial, accounting, design and management consulting and so on (ibid). In the next phrase, the City of Tien-Kung wants to gather local manufactures in Ningbo to join the development of DIY creative industries (Xing 2009). Although the local government provides tax and rent deduction, the issue of education and sustainability is the coming task and the key point to be success. Many entrepreneurs still maintain the attitude of “wait and see”. A representative who owns the biggest bakery brand in Ningbo, Mr. Fei, brings up their concerning, “most investors maybe hesitate to invest if they can not see the efficiency in the near future.”


With increasing income of Chinese people, domestic tourism becomes a potential and productive industry, and cultural heritage and ancient town tour is becoming an emerging market. Developing heritage tourism indeed can bring enormous economic effect to locals, improve the living quality and provide education function. However, excessive development will bring unexpected challenge and problem. Tourism Demands related basic infrastructure and this become the burden of environment. Therefore, protection is the first priority for driving cultural heritage economy.

Nowadays, city competition drives the wave of investing theme park and developing ancient town tourism. Cicheng and the city of Tien-kung is an illustration of this phenomenon. With the rich historical heritage and flavorful aura, Cicheng was chosen by local government to invest for developing tourism and creative industry. In the race with other hundreds ancient towns around China, marketers of Cicheng adopt DIY as the specialized difference to open up its tourism economy and creative industry. This also is the hope and opportunity to provide local manufactories for upgrading and establishing brand images

Form now on, the city of Tien-Kung still is an imaginary city, but those participants seem very confident about this project. However, it is worthy to notice that market-orientate of tourism might cause heritage losing the original appearance and aura. To keep the balance of development and protection is an unavoidable mission. In addition, except for the City of Tien-kung in Cicheng, only in the Jiangbei district, there are other creative clusters: the Jiangbei Wealthy Creative Port, the 134 creative valley, and the 1842 Old Bund (DIY fashion and an ancient town 2009). In the context of socialism, the government policy still plays a crucial role to plan and administrate a big development project in. We can see ambition and intention, but willing power and determination to put into practice is the key to succeed. Except for the construction of creative industry clusters, training and education program is a crucial issue for Ningbo government to develop creative industry.




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The spectacle and Panopticon in port

Posted: May 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

After the fieldwork of the port, it is proved again that the spectacle and surveillance society coexist everywhere in modern society.According to Debord’s concept, this world is shaped by the images of mere represtations.In the the stock place of cargo, we see the variety logos of containers from the globe. These logos presnt the choices of the shipment in the whole world. On the other hand,  we also meet the officials who work in the port in charge of coast guard. According to Foucault’s notion of the Panopticon, we live in the society of surveillance. Everyone is constantly visible and controlled by invisible power. Everthing imported has to register and get permission. Everyone needs to get the visa to acorss the border and is traced permnanently. 


Xu Shengxi’s Essay Question (modified)

Posted: March 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »

Modified essay question:
To what extent the developments of creative clusters promote the structure of urban spatial network in contemporary Ningbo?

Make some modifications on the basis of my former one.