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Title: Symbiotic states and progressive projects : Shenzhen and London in comparative conversation
Author: Teo, Shaun Sheng Kiat
ISNI:       0000 0004 8507 9706
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis develops a critical account of state-society collaborations as a strategy for unlocking progressive transformation within capitalist states. It draws on the Shenzhen Urbanism\ Architecture Biennale and the Rural Urban Synthesis Society's (RUSS) Church Grove development in London as different case studies sharing particular features. Emerging from within the Shenzhen municipal government as a platform for the experimental redevelopment of problematic sites in the city, the Biennale's achievements over fourteen years, including the successful rehabilitation of Nantou Village, led to a shift in municipal policy from urban village demolition to in situ rehabilitation. Emerging from the aspirations of a Lewisham resident to develop a model of affordable, community-led housing development in London, RUSS worked with its local authority and private consultants over nine years to become the first CLT-developer in London to secure planning permission in its development of 33 affordable homes. Both cases represent innovative experiments to housing solutions undertaken through collaboration between state agents and societal actors, leading to project outcomes inspiring policy change within their respective cities in contexts where such changes seemed unlikely. By placing Shenzhen and London in comparative conversation, an experimental method developed in the thesis, to think about the emergence and evolution of both case studies, and the effects they produce, the concepts 'symbiotic states' and 'progressive projects' are generated. Symbiotic states emerge through informal associations between state agents and societal actors who strategically collaborate to pursue progressive projects which provide a framework within which these agents can coordinate their identities, goals, and actions in pursuit of a shared progressive interest manifesting in actual outcomes. These concepts, read together, are significant because they address current thinking where state-society partnerships are taken to largely reproduce the structural effects of capitalist states. They provide instead an alternative starting point for unravelling and making sense of how within capitalist states new models of governance and development can emerge in efficacious and encompassing ways through context-appropriate collaborative action, producing outcomes which change the balance of constraint and opportunity for similar projects to emerge on their own terms in future, and to produce unexpected state effects of their own.
Supervisor: Harris, A. ; Robinson, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available