TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 99-107.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003107

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Geographical Imagination and the Construction of Place Significance under the Transformation of Industrial Landscape: A Case Study of Guanggang New Town, Guangzhou

Zhang Longlong1, Lao Yingyi2, Cheng Guoyu2 and Wang Min2   

  1. (1.Guangzhou Planning & Design Survey Research Institute, Guangzhou 510030, China; 2. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China)
  • Received:2018-06-27 Revised:2018-10-15 Online:2019-01-05 Published:2019-01-05


Under the background of industrial land transformation in the process of urbanization, Guanggang New Town was selected for empirical analysis. From the perspective of geographical imagination, this paper explores the process-by surrounding villagers, old Guangzhou Iron and Steel employees, and new entrants—of deconstructing and reconstructing the local significance and cultural connotation of Guanggang New Town. This paper further analyzes the connection between local construction and identity construction. It argues that the differences in subjectivity and spatial practice between different social groups lead to different geographical imaginations for the cultural significance of Guanggang New Town. There exists a game of place significance between different groups in the common residential area. However, in the context of urban renewal, the upper class often has the upper hand. With the construction of the Guangzhou New Steel City, the collective memory of villagers and old workers around the Guangzhou Iron and Steel Plant was impacted and, at the same time, place identity was also reconstructed, reflecting the coupling of the relationship between changes in spatial material form and place significance. Moreover, the place identity of the new entrants is based on place cultural imagination without excluded groups. The place significance and identity of the two groups are broken, and therefore the two social groups need further cultural communication and integration in the future. With the cultural impact of social discourse and the dominance of power and capital, multiple imaginings about the place cultural significance of Guanggang New Town have been gradually derived. The spatial imagination of different individuals and social groups also reflects the construction and change of spatial meanings. The imagination of different individuals and social groups of a space is also reflected in the construction and change of place significance. However, in the process of urban planning and transformation from top to bottom by the government, there is often a lack of cultural and geographical perspective from the perception and memory of different spatial subjects, which renders the original place significance and collective memory of generations lost during the process of urban renewal. This paper explores the geographical imagination of industrial land transformation and the construction of place significance from the perspective of cultural geography, which attempts to explore urban renewal from the perspective of cultural geography, and provides new ways to consider more spatial subjects in the process of urban renewal. At the same time, this paper reveals how the daily life practices and collective memory of different groups are affected under the transformation of industrial land, how geographical imagination and place significance are reconstructed in this process, and what is the mechanism of the change of geographical imagination and place significance is reconstructed. This is also an extension of the topic related to urban renewal.

Key words: industrial landscape transformation, geographical imagination, Guanggang New Town, place cultural significance, place identity construction