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M Talks China: A History of Future Cities

In A History of Future Cities, published in English in 2013 and recently translated into Chinese, American author and journalist Daniel Brook explores the fascinating and fraught question: How do civilizations use instant modern cities to leap-frog into the modern world?

Beginning in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1703, when Tsar Peter the Great sought to catch up to Western Europe by building his own redbrick, canal-laced ersatz Amsterdam on the banks for the Neva River, myriad societies have attempted to modernize overnight through the construction of instant modern cities. In China, this project, pioneered in Shanghai a century ago, is now evident in neighborhoods and metropolises all over the country. Some swell with pride while others wince at contemporary Chinese cities with international-style skyscrapers, scale-model Eiffel Towers, and stage-set English town centers. But the most pressing questions raised by such architecture are less aesthetic than philosophical, economic, and political. How do these ersatz cities become real cities? How does imitation blossom into innovation? And what are the possibilities for equal cultural exchange in a contemporary world no longer dominated by the West? At M on the Bund, Daniel Brook will explore these questions through concrete architectural images and conversation with the audience.

Ticket Type Event Details Price
Adult September 30, 2017 at 4:00 PM ¥ 85.00 CNY
Student September 30, 2017 at 4:00 PM ¥ 40.00 CNY
Daniel Brook

Daniel Brook

Daniel Brook is an American journalist and author whose work on architecture and urbanism in Asia has appeared in publications including The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, and N + 1. Brook’s 2013 book, A History of Future Cities, was praised as “uncommonly interesting and intelligent” by The Washington Post and “[a] pleasure” by The Wall Street Journal and lauded in a Times Literary Supplement (London) cover story. The book was recently published in Chinese and Russian translations and Brook is now on a Eurasian book tour. Born and raised in New York, Brook was educated at Yale University and lives in New Orleans.