New Book: Engaging Comparative Urbanism: Art Spaces in Beijing and Berlin

Postcolonial Urbanism

A new book by Julie Ren is published with Bristol University Press.

Julie Ren investigates the motivations and practices of making art spaces in Beijing and Berlin to engage with comparative urbanism as a framework for doing research, beyond its significance as a critical intervention. Across vastly different contexts, where universal theories of modernity or development seem increasingly misplaced, she explores the ways that art spaces employ creative capital to sustain themselves in a competitive urban landscape. She shows how these art spaces are embedded within a politics of aspiration and demonstrates that aspiration is an important lens through which to understand the nature of, and possibilities for, urban change. 

The book is published by Bristol University Press

Image of book: Book jacket © Bristol University Press

Publishers blurb:

"A beautifully written book on art-making as an integral part of the restless urban landscape and an original, cultural-geographical contribution to debates on comparative urbanism.” Jan Nijman, Urban Studies Institute
“This rich theoretical, methodological and empirical journey between Beijing and Berlin brings comparative urbanism into tangible applicability for urban researchers.” Jason Luger, Northumbria University

“Sets a new standard of comparative method and analysis in global urban studies. Her cases of art spaces in Beijing and Berlin reveal the concept of 'aspiration' as a contradictory feature of art practice and urban change.” Jennifer Robinson, University College London