The Art of Re-Industrialisation in Shanghai


  • Xin Gu Queensland University of Technology, Australia



Creative clusters, art, cultural industries, creative industries, urban regeneration, cultural policy, re-industrialisation


This paper deals with the development of ’art clusters’ and their relocation in the city of Shanghai. It first looks at the revival of the city’s old inner city industrial area (along banks of Suzhou River) through ’organic’ or ’alternative’ artist-led cultural production; second, it describes the impact on these activities of the industrial restructuring of the wider city, reliant on large-scale real estate development, business services and global finance; and finally, outlines the relocation of these arts (and related) cultural industries to dispersed CBD locations as a result of those spatial, industrial and policy changes.


Bathalt, Harald, Anders Malberg & Peter Maskeii (2004): “Clusters and Knowledge: Local Buzz, Global Pipelines and the Process of Knowledge Creation”, Progress in Human Geography, 28, 1-31.

Bathalt, Harald & Philip Turi (2011): “Local, Global and Virtual Buzz: The Importance of Face-to-Face Conact in Economic Interaction and the Possibilities to go Beyond”, Geoforum, 42:5 520-529.

Bell, David & Mark Jayne (eds) (2004): City of Quarters: Urban Villages in the Contemporary City, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Brown, Adam, Justin O’Connor & Sarah Cohen (2000): “Local Music Policies within a Global Music Industry: Cultural quarters in Manchester and Sheffield”, Geoforum, 31:4, 437-451. [Read this article]

Bergere, Marie-Claire (2009): Shanghai: China’s Gateway to Modernity, Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Cooke, Philip & Luciana Lazzeretti (2008): Creative Cities, Cultural Clusters and Local Economic Development, Edward Elgar Publishing.

Cowie, Jefferson, Joseph Heathcott & Barry Bluestone (2003): Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization, Cornell University Press.

Crewe, Lewis & Jonathan Beaverstock (1998): “Fashioning the city: cultures of consumption in contemporary urban spaces”, Geoforum, 29: 3, 287-308. [Read this article]

Currid, Elizabeth (2007): The Warhol Economy: How Fashion, Art, and Music Drive New York City, New York: Princeton University Press.

DCMS (1998): Creative Industries Mapping Document, London: DCMS. (Revised 2001)

Drake, Graham (2003): “ ‘This Place gives me Space’: Place and Creativity in the Creative Industries”, Geoforum, 34:4, 511-524. [Read this article]

Evans, Graeme (2009): “Creative Cities, Creative Spaces and Urban Policy”, Urban Studies, 46: 5-6, 1003-1040. [Read this article]

Feinstein, Charles (1999): “Structural Change in Developed Countries During the Twentieth Century”, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 15, 35-55. [Read this article]

Florida, Richard (2005): Cities and the Creative Class, New York: Routledge.

Han, Yuqi (1999): The left bank of Suzhou Creek, (translated from ‘dongfang de saina zuo an’), Shanghai: Wenhui Publishing house.

Hee, Limin, Thomas Schroepfer, Su Nanxi & Li Ze (2008): “From Post-industrial Landscape to Creative Precincts: Emergent Spaces in Chinese Cities”, International Development Planning Review, 30:3, 249-266. [Read this article]

Hesmondhalgh, Dave (2012): The Cultural Industries, Third Edition. London: Routledge.

Hill, Dan (2010): “Re-Industrial City”,, accesses 28/11/2011.

Hutton, Thomas (2006): “Spatiality, Built Form and Creative Industry Development in the Inner City”, Environment and Planning A 38, 1819-1841. [Read this article]

Hutton, Thomas (2010): The New Economy of the Inner City, London: Routledge.

Indergaard, Michael (2009): “What to make Of New York’s Creative Economy? The Politics of the Creative Field”, Urban Studies, 46: 5&6, 1063-1093. [Read this article]

Keane, Michael (2012): China’s New Creative Clusters. Governance, Human Capital and Regional Investment, London: Routledge (Forthcoming).

Kong, Lily (2009): “Beyond Networks and relations: Towards Re-Thinking Creative Cluster Theory, in Kong, Lily and Justin O’Connor (eds), Creative Economies, Creative Cities: An Asia-Europe Perspective, 61-76, Spring Press: The Netherlands.

Kong, Lily and Justin O’Connor (eds) (2009): Creative Economies, Creative Cities: An Asia-Europe Perspective, Spring press: The Netherlands.

Lange, Bastian (2005): “Socio-spatial strategies of culturepreneurs”, Zeitschrift fur Wirtschaftsgeographie, 49, 79-96.

Ley, David (2003): “Artists, Aesthetisisation and the field of Gentrification”, Urban Studies, 40:12, 2527-2544. [Read this article]

Lloyd, Richard (2006): Neo-Bohemia: Art and Commerce in the Postindustrial City, London: Routledge.

Markusen, Ann (1996): “Sticky Places in Slippery Spaces: a Typology of Industrial Districts”, Economic Geography, 72, 293-313. [Read this article]

Markusen, Ann (2006): “Urban Development and the Politics of a Creative Class”, Environment and Planning, A 38, 1921-1940. [Read this article]

Mommaas, Hans (2009): “Spaces of Culture and Economy: Mapping the Cultural-Creative Cluster Landscape”, in Lily Kong and Justin O’Connor (eds), Creative Economies, Creative Cities: An Asia Europe perspective, 45-60, Spring Press: The Netherlands.

Oakley, Kate (2011): “In its own image: New Labour and the Cultural Workforce”, Special Issue, Cultural Trends, 20: 3-4, 281-289.

O’Connor, Justin (2010): Arts and Creative Industries, Sydney: Australia Council.

O’Connor, Justin (2012): “The Cultural and Creative Industries”, in Deborah Stevenson and Greg Young (eds), The Ashgate Companion to Cultural Policy and Planning, Aldershot: Ashgate (forthcoming).

O’Connor, Justin & Xin Gu (2010): “Developing a Creative Cluster in a Post-industrial City”, The Information Society, 26:2, 124-136. [Read this article]

O’Connor, Justin & Xin Gu (2012): “Creative Industry Clusters in Shanghai: A Success Story?” Eurasian Geography and Economics: Special Issue on China’s Creative Economy (forthcoming).

Pratt, Andy (2004): “Creative Clusters: Towards the Governance of a Creative Industries Production System?”, Media International Australia,112, 50-66.

Rantisi, Norma (2006): “Placing the Creative Economy: Scale, Politics and the Material”, Environment and Planning, A 38, 1789-1797. [Read this article]

Scott, Allen J. (2000): The Cultural Economy of the Cities, London: Sage.

Scott, Allen J. (2007): “Capitalism and Urbanisation in a New key? The Cognitive-Cultural Dimension”, Social Forces, 85: 4, 1465-1482. [Read this article]

Shorthose, Jim (2004): “Nottingham’s de facto Cultural Quarter: the lace market, independents and a convivial ecology”, in David Bell & Mark Jayne (eds), City of Quarters: Urban Villages in the Contemporary City, 149-162, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Van Heur, Bass (2010): Creative Networks and the City, Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Books.

Vickery, Jonathan (2007): “The Emergence of Culture-led Regeneration: A policy Concept and its Discontents”, Working Paper 9 Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick,, accessed 28/11/2011.

Waitt, Gordon (2004): “Pyrmont-Ultimo: the Newest Chic Quarter of Sydney”, in David Bell & Mark Jayne (eds), City of Quarters: Urban Villages in the Contemporary City, 15-36, Aldershot: Ashgate.

Wu, Fulong, Jiang Xu & Anthony Yeh (2007): Urban Development in Post-reform China. State, Market and Space, London: Routledge.

Wu, Fulong (eds) (2006): Globalization and the Chinese City, London: Routledge.

Wu, Weiping (2004): “Cultural strategies in Shanghai: Regenerating Cosmopolitanism in an Era of Globalization”, Progress in Planning, 61,159–180. [Read this article]

Zheng, Jane (2010): “The ‘Entreprenuerial State’ in ‘Creative Industry Cluster’ Development in Shanghai”, Journal of Urban Affairs, 32:2, 143-70. [Read this article]

Zhong, Sheng (2009): “From Fabrics to Fine Arts. Urban Restructuring and the Formation of an Art District in Shanghai”, Critical Planning, 16: 118-137.

Zukin, Sharon (1982): Loft-living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change, London: The John Hopkins Press.

Zukin, Sharon (1995): The Cultures of Cities, Oxford: Blackwell.




How to Cite

Gu, X. (2011) “The Art of Re-Industrialisation in Shanghai”, Culture Unbound, 4(1), pp. 193–211. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.124193.



Theme: Shanghai Modern: The Future in Microcosm?