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.
Image of book: Book jacket © Bristol University Press
“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