Glocalizing Themed Spaces

The creation of urban spaces in China, Asia, and other regions

Authored by: Li Xiangning

The New Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138302129
eBook ISBN: 9780203731932
Adobe ISBN:


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In the latter half of the 20th century, urban design showed a preponderance towards themed spaces, a trend that became known as “Disneyfication.” This chapter explores how over the past decade, some themed spaces have begun to show a tendency towards integration with local cultures. First, the architectural styles and cultural undertones of international theme parks have begun to incorporate local cultural elements. Second, a wide range of local cultural elements have also been applied to the new urban spaces of consumption. Third, technology and innovation have become a new favorite for the creators of themed spaces across the globe. Many themed towns have been built in countries around the world, most of all in China. Unlike the globalized thematic creation seen during the latter half of the previous century, today’s themes tend towards an integration with local cultural characteristics, continually rewriting our understanding of themed spaces in the context of today’s modern, diversified political-economic system.

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