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Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 19:30

Transitional Urbanism – How Creativity and Social Innovation are changing the Chinese City

Beatrice Leanza Co Founder and Creative Director of The Global School

EU Delegation to China
15 Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Sanlitun

15 东直门外大街, 三里屯

BIS events are open to foreign passport holders only.
All BIS events are off-the-record.
Photography, filming and recording are not permitted.

Non-members welcome for a single lecture fee of RMB 60;
students with valid ID RMB 30. 

Membership desk open 7:00 pm for 7:30 pm lecture,
no reservations necessary.

For inquiries on the day of the event, from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm, please call 1324 151 4978.

This event is by reservation only. Please send your reservation request by CONTACT US  on

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Over the past two decades, the development of the creative industries in China has been part of national economic policies devising urban making and a rejuvenation of ‘mass innovation’ with Chinese characteristics. In recent years, a more nuanced urban change has been shaping itself among an expansive field of design practices and bottom-up initiatives, which are impacting the country’s relentless urban growth. These initiatives emerge within a transitional framework of development pressured by escalating social fragmentation and environmental challenges.  

With transforming social mores, a saturated market place, and policies attempting to alleviate large-scale cities from illegal occupants and polluting hazard, younger generations of urbanites and design professionals are offered unprecedented opportunities and motives to partake in a systemic restructuring of urban ecologies and new communities founded on valuing social progress, inclusivity and civic participation hence fostering alliances among governmental stakeholders, economic actors and civic constituencies. 

While the past three decades accelerating urbanization and economic growth have generated the semblance of generic cities of top-down regimentation, actually the current architecture and design practices present diversifying ambitions.

In this framework, Beatrice Leanza will talk about examples of integrated urban revitalization, augmented communal spaces, experiments appreciative of craft-knowledge and grassroots intelligence, which she participated to create as director and curator. Among these, The historical district of Beijing as Dashilar and  Baitasi are close examples of  innovative urban district shaped on collectively shared values for a contemporary urban commonwealth to emerge.  

Beatrice Leanza is  a cultural strategist, curator and critic based in Beijing since 2002. Former creative director of Beijing Design Week (2012-2016) - China’s largest and internationally best reputed design & architecture event, she started her career in Beijing working with Ai Weiwei as a curator of the alternative art space the artist founded in the late 1990s. 

Beatrice is currently working at the establishment of The Global School, China’s first independent institute dedicated to design and creative research, and is Chief curator of research project Across Chinese Cities featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale (2014/2016/ and the upcoming 2018 edition). 

She has been recently nominated one of the European Young Leaders (EYL )- Class 2018, within the program Friend of Europe, a leading think-tank engaged in creating a more inclusive, sustainable and forward-looking union.  

She holds a MA in Asian Studies with a dissertation on Contemporary Art in China from Ca’Foscari University (Venice).