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Collective forms:



Organisers 组织单位



Royal College of Art (RCA) 英国皇家艺术学院



Tsinghua University 清华大学

The Global School 世界学院

MAT Office 





Saturday 8th September 2018

Time: 09:00 - 18:00

Venue: Wangzeting Lecture Hall, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University




Sunday 9th & Monday 10th September 2018

Sunday 9th

Time: 09:00-18:00

Venue: Xinyuanxili 新源西里


Monday 10th

Time: 09:00 – 18:00

Venue:  Beijing Leping Foundation 北京乐平基金会





The one-day symposium is to frame a discussion by urban academics, practitioners and artists about the growing challenges of contemporary community building and renewal agendas and their socio-spatial implications. This discussion is part of a larger conversation about how social projects, spaces, and realities shape three contexts critical to understanding urban design and planning in China: the history of collective spatial development models in relation to current community development, socio-spatial changes in urban and rural development, and modes of governmentality.


Specifically, this symposium examines the relationships between social policies and spatial or planning policies and transformations of community ideas and urban governance models in Beijing and China – for example, through a shift from ideas of the collective to that of a community or from government to governance – as well as the impact this has on changing urban experiences, lifestyles, and needs. Within this context, we want to discuss urban design practice as not just concerned with problems of designing a built environment, but also as dealing with the design and realisation of a social environment. This intrinsic connection is especially evident in the history of ‘collective forms’, the basic units of social, political, and economic life in urban and rural China of the recent past, such as the urban danwei or rural people’s commune. These ‘collective forms’ institutionalised communal developments through ‘neighbourhood’ units and instrumentalised spatial design in the forming of a community and place.


But, how to define a wider interdisciplinary urban design theory and practice today that can incorporate cultural, economic, educational, public, and policy issues? While the problems that urban-rural China is facing due to rapidly changing demographics and diversified communities and lifestyles is comparable to that found in many other countries, China’s legacy of ‘collective forms’ also questions some core Western beliefs in notions of public space, liberal models of governance, or public services provision, nuclear family households, and labour and social mobility, instead foregrounding the shaping of collective subjectivities based on shared modes of production, living, and education. This raises the question of how China provides a significant counter-model to Western ideas of community-led developments, and how this can contribute to global discourses of community development? By discussing concrete studies and examples, the symposium will try to clarify what the term ‘community’ can mean today or in the near future.



为期一天的研讨会汇集城市学者、从业者和艺术家,旨在探讨当代社区建设和更新议程中日益增长的挑战,及其社会空间影响。本次研讨是一个更大框架下对话的一部分 —— 社会项目,空间和现实如何塑造对于理解中国城市设计和规划至关重要的三个语境。这三个语境分别是:集体空间发展的历史演变与当代社区发展的关系,城乡发展中的社会空间变化,以及治理术的不同模式。




然而,如何定义更广泛的跨学科城市设计理论和实践,以纳入文化,经济,教育,公共及政策议题?虽然中国城乡由于人口结构的快速变化以及多元化的社区和生活方式所面临的问题与许多其他国家相似,但中国的“集体形制”这一遗产也质疑了一系列西方的核心理念:公共空间概念,自由主义管理模式,或公共服务提供模式,核心家庭,以及劳动力和社会流动性。相比之下,中国的“集体形制”基于共同生产,生活和教育从而塑造集体主体性。那么这提出了一个问题:中国如何为西方社区发展理念提供重要的反模式? 以及这如何对社区发展的全球话语做出贡献? 研讨会力图通过具体的研究和实例,阐明“社区”一词在今天以及不远将来的意义。




Morning Session 上半场




Welcome by Liu Jian | 刘健 & Tang Yan | 唐燕



Collective Forms in China | 中国集体形制

Sam Jacoby

Research Leader, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art



Influence of Planning Policy on Community Transformation: Case of Beijing |


Liu Jian | 刘健

Tenured Associate Professor and Vice Dean, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University



From Spatial Design to Content Planning: Community Regeneration Practice by MAT Office|

从空间设计到内容设计:MAT 社区更新实践

Zhang Miao | 张淼

Founding Partner, MAT Office



Old Community Regeneration and Participatory Community Planning: Case of Qinhe, Beijing |


Liu Jiayan | 刘佳燕

Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University


11:30–12:00    Discussion 


Afternoon Session 下半场



The Resound of Socialist Realism in Chinese Contemporary Art: Modern Art Practice in Beijing 1972 – 1982 |

社会主义现实主义在中国当代艺术中的回响: 1972年至1982年在北京的现代艺术实践

Liu Ding | 刘鼎 & Lu Yinghua (Carol) | 卢迎华

Artists and Curators



China’s People’s Commune and the Everyday Practice: From the Poster of Hongqi People’s Commune |


Cheng Jingru (Cyan) | 程婧如

Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art



Contemporary Urban Design and Community Renewal | 当代城市设计与社区更新

Tang Yan | 唐燕

Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University



Socialistic Public Housing in Beijing: History and Status Que | 北京的社会主义福利住房:历史与现实

Hui Xiaoxi | 惠晓曦

Lecturer, College of Architecture & Urban Planning, Beijing University of Technology



Informality in Community Building: A Perspective of Public Service and Spatial Governance |


Chen Yulin | 陈宇琳

Associate Professor, Department of Urban Planning, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University



Space, Behaviour and Data: Exploration of Data from Indoor Positioning System |


Huang Weixin | 黄蔚欣

Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University


17:00–17:30    Discussion 





The two-day workshop will continue the discussions of the symposium in the context of a concrete case study, the Xinyuanxili Community, a typical xiaoqu in the Zuojiazhuang Sub-District, Beijing. Together with MAT Office, the regeneration architect of Xinyuanxili, the workshop will study the use of, and need for, shared functions and facilities in and around the xiaoqu. This will form the basis to map out, better understand, and propose how existing and new types of shared or public services are essential to any form of community renewal and how to enable the forming of new social relationships based on mutual interests, needs and support. Historically in the danwei, most of these social ties were based on collective live-work relationships, but today these are defined by individual interests, economic circumstance, lifestyle choices, and demographic changes, such as an ageing population or changes in household sizes and structures. The ongoing social and urban transformations are leading to new urban needs and forms. While historically many spaces were collective in the sense of ownership, use, and organisation, increasingly so-called ‘public’ spaces are introduced, which significantly differ in their social and political function. In the context of current community renewal, this raises the questions of what exactly the difference between a collective space and a public space is, but importantly also how collective forms in China have particular meanings that remain relevant to today’s socio-spatial challenges? The aim of the workshop is to clarify these two questions and to develop real design proposals for Xinyuanxili that can address the social and spatial needs of urban communities. We will try to present these back to the community and ask for their feedback on our proposals.



为期两天的工作坊是研讨会的延展。工作坊将关注一个具体案例——新源西里社区。该社区隶属北京左家庄街道,是一个典型的小区。工作坊将与新源西里的更新设计师MAT Office一起,研究小区及周边共享功能和设施的使用与需求。以便制定、理解和提出现有和新型共享/公共服务如何对社区更新起到至关重要的作用,以及如何促进在共同利益、需求和相互支持的基础上建立新的社会关系。在历史上的单位体制中,大多数社会关系都是基于集体的生活工作关系。然后在今天,这些关系是由个人利益,经济环境,生活方式和人口变化所决定的,例如人口老龄化,或家庭规模和结构的变化。持续的社会和城市转型正在导致新的城市需求和形式。虽然历史上许多空间在所有权,使用和组织意义上都可被定义成集体空间,越来越多的所谓“公共”空间正在被引入。这些空间在社会和政治功能方面与集体空间存在显着差异。在当前社区更新的背景下,这提出了一个问题,即集体空间和公共空间之间究竟有什么区别?同样重要的是,中国的集体形制如何与当下的社会空间挑战产生有意义的联系?工作坊的目的是阐明这两个问题,并为新源西里制定设计方案,以满足城市社区的社会空间需求。我们将尝试将这些内容反馈给社区,并征求他们对提案的反馈意见。


Themes and Outcomes  主题与成果


During the workshop, participants will work in mixed groups with students and tutors with different research and study backgrounds on specific sites within Xinyuanxili. The aim is to devise concrete programmes and plans for micro-spatial interventions that can foster models of ‘social sharing’ in the community. Proposals can involve both online and offline strategies of engagement, but must develop sustainable forms and tools of participation that enhance the engagement of local users, or use of facilities and services already present in Xinyuanxili, as well as an integration of potential external service or logistical providers. As part of this, a reflection on positive dependency and internal or external transactions between the xiaoqu and the city will be discussed during the workshop.


The final proposals must include clear ideas for tools that can facilitate and encourage residents’ involvement in the process of decision-making relevant to the proposed ‘’social sharing’’ function. The aim is to develop feasible and specific programmes that can be presented for review to the Xinyuanxili Street Office and Residents’ Committee.


The final outcome will be produced in the form of:

- A visually convincing image that advertises in a clear and communicable language the chosen function and programme.

- A textual and visual roadmap explaining the proposal and chosen social function, including details on the target audience, actors and contributors involved in its development, and the operational model chosen.













Day 1  

09:00 – 18:00


AM: Site visit of Xinyuanxilil 

Lou Yunbin, Architect,MAT Office

娄云彬 MAT Office 建筑师

Representatives from Xinyuanxili Community Residents’ Committee


Wang Defu (Sociology – Urban Governance)

王德福 (社会学-城市社区治理)


PM: Seminar and Group Work 

Venue: Zuojiazhuang Street Office Cultural Service Centre (close to site)



From Place to Place:

The Role of Place-making within Urban and Rural Revitalisation

Neill McLean Gaddes, Founder, SANS


Day 2 


09: 00 – 18: 00

Venue: Beijing Leping Foundation 北京乐平基金会


AM: Seminars                                     


Old Community - New Life: Planning Research on Xinyuanxili Regeneration |


Liang Yin | 梁颖

Engineer, Beijing Municipal Institute of City Planning & Design


Building Teacher Learning Community | 营造教师学习社区

Liu Yun | 刘韵

Project Manager, Beijing Leping Foundation


Digua Community | 地瓜社区

Zheng Yan | 郑言

CEO, Digua Community


PM: Seminar, Group Work and Review


Guizhou Project: Community Regeneration in Dali Village

Catherine McMahon

Designer, Researcher and Co-founder, ATLAS Studio

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