Superscribing Sustainability: Reformulating China's Contemporary Urbanism
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Within China's post-1980's urban planning discourse, shan-shui, a significance-laden compound character set translatable as `mountain-water' or `landscape', aligned with urban sustainability. The focus of this genealogical discourse analysis delineates the origins, evolution, interpretation, and application of the term shan-shui within China's contemporary urbanization as a developing urban design paradigm, informed through transnational flows of urban design practices. This work highlights case studies showing this discourse's morphological materializations and analyzes interviews, publications, media, letter exchanges, and urban designs to problematize the use of shan-shui within the discursive processes of urban development and sustainability discourses. The superscription of shan-shui generates a rubric through which Chinese cultural and symbolic elements are (re)formulated in contemporary urban developments and conjoined with sustainable urban design practices facilitating multifaceted ends including efforts towards sustainable urban development, bourgeoning neo-classical urban aesthetics, conceptual bridging of human-nature relations, land-centric capital accumulation, and a vernacular urbanism.