Integrating Urban Sculptures into the Urban Planning System in China: Origin, Transition and Breakthrough, 1982-2003

Zhu, Jie

Ngā Pūtahitanga / Crossings: A Joint Conference of SAHANZ and the Australasian UHPH Group

SAHANZ conference proceedings are subject by copyright protections. Please read the Disclaimer and Copyright Notice.

The integration of urban sculptures into the urban planning system requires cross-disciplinary cooperation. Since 2003, many cities in China have mapped out all urban sculptures and formulated related regulations and overall urban plans. In fact, as early as 1982, the government established the Urban Sculpture Planning Group (USPG) to guide the development of urban sculptures. So why did it take so long to integrate urban sculptures into the urban planning system? Through analysing the changes in the USPG as well as related policies and regulations, this research shows that the development of urban sculpture planning in China has three critical moments: 1982 (origin), 1992 (transition) and 2003 (breakthrough). Also, the paper reveals that the changing ownership, responsibility and leadership of the USPG, the unclear definition of urban sculpture planning and many uncertain elements of urban planning are the primary factors slowing down the development of urban sculpture planning in China. The transition from urban sculpture to urban sculpture planning is not only a cross-disciplinary process but also a struggle between urban planning and sculpture. The paper argues that the essence of the transition is an antagonism between planning ideology under authoritarianism and the free expression of artistic thought. The research results benefit scholars in understanding the historical trends of urban sculpture practice in China. In addition, the history of urban sculpture planning reveals the problem of transition from small-scale objects to large-scale planning, which provides a prediction for the cross-field development of similar objects.