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The City in ChinaNew Perspectives on Contemporary Urbanism$
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Ray Forrest, Julie Ren, and Bart Wissink

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529205473

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529205473.001.0001

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Beijing Ring Roads and the Poetics of Excess and Ordinariness

Beijing Ring Roads and the Poetics of Excess and Ordinariness

Chapter:
(p.141) 8 Beijing Ring Roads and the Poetics of Excess and Ordinariness
Source:
The City in China
Author(s):

Jeroen de Kloet

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781529205473.003.0008

“The city,” so does Park argue, “shows the good and evil in human nature in excess.” Which inspires him to read the city as a laboratory to study human behaviour. In my chapter I connect the notion of excess to the significance of the ring roads in Beijing. Beijing is an excessive city par excellence, too big, too polluted, too crowded, too ugly, and changing too fast, making one lose his way time and again. The ring roads function as a symbolic device to keep a sense of control over this excess; they help to locate people and places, they function as the highway in the centre, and they create the mental map of the city. How do Beijing citizens relate to the ring roads? And how do art and popular culture help reimagine the ringroads and contain or parody the excessiveness of Beijing?

Keywords:   Beijing, Ringroads, Excess, Art, Popular culture

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