Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

Collective Forms

Neighbourhood Transformations, Spatialised Governmentality and New Communities in China

Funded by: British Academy (The Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling the UK's International Challenges)

Principal Investigator: Dr Sam Jacoby

This research project examines how social projects, spaces, and realities shape three contexts critical to understanding urban design in China: modes of governmentality, the history of collective spatial development models in relation to current community development, and socio-spatial changes in urban and rural developments. A comparative urban and social analysis of past and present community developments in China and a programme of public symposia and workshops in China and the UK studied the relationship between development models emerging with national collectivisation in the 1950s and contemporary urban and rural development projects. Based on this, the primary aim of this project was to develop a review of current urban design policy and related social policy in China. 

Collective Forms sits within the Institutional Forms & Practices research group.

Project Outcomes


Collective Forms in China, Venice Architecture Biennale, May–October, 2018 (as part of the Across Chinese Cities – The Community series)

Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Korea, forthcoming 2019

Symposia and Workshops

Wuhan, 3–4 July 2018, in collaboration with Huazhong University of Science and Technology

Beijing, 8–10 September 2018, in collaboration with Tsinghua University, The Global School and MAT Office

London, 6–7 December 2018, Royal College of Art.

Journal Special Issue

Jacoby, S., Cheng, J. and Tan, G., ed. (2018) ‘Collective Forms in China: A Contemporary Review’, special issue of New Architecture 180.

Book (forthcoming)

Jacoby, S. and Cheng, J. ed. (2019) The Socio-Spatial Design of Community and Governance: Interdisciplinary Urban Design in China. Springer. (The Chinese edition by Tongji University Press)

Find out More

Contact[email protected]