Professor Mark Jayne
In October 1986, the city of Wuhan in China officially became twinned with Manchester, in the UK. Wuhan is one of China’s fastest growing cities, and most recently worked with Manchester to highlight the challenges each city faces in tackling smart city issues, and the development of trade and economic exchanges that support sustainable development too; taking issues such as air pollution, water quality and soil remediation. So then, there is much to learn from Chinese cities. Urban theory, and the understanding of how cities work, has so far been developed, broadly, in relation to large cities in America, and similar areas. However, cities beyond the West, such as those found in China, Japan, and Vietnam are critically important to understanding urban change globally.
In this podcast we speak to Professor Mark Jayne, an urban social and cultural geographer interested in consumption, cities and identity. He is based in the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University. We discuss the complexity of Chinese cities, and the experience of those moving through them, and the how city ‘twinning’ links fairly ordinary cities in the UK with spaces around the globe and how these partnerships make places in social, cultural and economic terms.
You can follow Geography and Planning at Cardiff University on Twitter @CUGeogPlan
Couples dancing in the park, Shanghai © Christopher, Flickr
Women dancing in Nanjing Lu ©
Twinning is a practice that creates formal and informal political, economic, social and cultural relationships between cities throughout the world.
The quality of being sociable, experiences, or instances where social life occurs.
Rather than large global cities and cosmopolitan areas, the term ‘small cities’ draws attention to the important spaces where, whilst space, urban change takes place.
Theories that are used to illustrate, describe, and explain urban experiences and cities. It has been argued that so far, this has focused too heavily on cities in the Global North.
The quality, or state, of being urban.
Establish with students – what counts as public spaces? As a class, ask students – what activities to they consider in, or out of, place in public space. Show the students the video ‘Singing and Dancing in Fuxing Park, Shanghai’ via YouTube
Either write this on the board collectively, or ask students to place their answers in a table. Think about activities such as dancing, running, massage etc. Why might these activities be in/out of place and think about how these ‘rules’ may change depending on geography (e.g your local area, comparative to spaces around the world).
Manchester is twinned with Wuhan, China. In pairs, students should research the City of Manchester and Wuhan in China. How are they similar, or different? Consider the architecture, key attractions and industries.
If term permits, research in more detail the ‘twinning’ between these places and how twinning works as a ‘place-making’ strategy more broadly – particularly the recent focus on smart cities, sustainable urbanisation, and trade. How may these places change as a result? What does this tell us about how places are governed locally, globally, and internationally?
As a plenary activity – discuss: how does city twinning affect our experience our place and place-image. Is your local area twinned?
Twin towns: Do we still need them? BBC (2012)
Why are towns untwining? BBC (2012)
Manchester Wuhan-30 year sister city relationship anniversary, YouTube (2016)
Welcome to Wuhan – a photographic tour of a historic Chinese city, The Guardian (2015)
International Civic Links, Manchester Gov: Jayne, M, Hubbard, P, Bell, D. (2011)
Worlding a city: Twinning and urban theory, City, 15 (11) 25-41
Professor Mark Jayne, profile page
Jayne, M and Leung H, H (2014) Embodying Chinese urbanism: towards a research agenda, Area 46 (3) 256 -267
British presence in Wuhan to further enhance links with China (2015) Gov
Jayne, M (2018) Chinese Urbanism: New Critical Perspectives. Routledge: London
Jayne, M (2005) Cities and Consumption. Routledge: London
China Today (KS3 module)
Urban air pollution smog in Chinese cities (2014)
China’s Great Green Wall (2015)
Animating public space (2012)
Featured image: 丁亦然 @yiranding /Unsplash
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