Socio-Cultural Transition and Urban Dynamics In Shanghai


Rapid large-scale urban development leads to phenomena of social disaffection and the fragmentation of social identity which generate feelings of solitude and existential difficulty. Urban modernity presents itself as the manifestation of a new temporality in which change, either concrete or abstract, results in breaks with the past (relocations) and new collective representations that seem to challenge previous shared values (art, indifference, landscape, solidarity, history, religion, heritage etc.).

A movement of reaction and reappropriation is spreading, stimulated by the Shanghai World Expo (2010) and summed up by its slogan, “Better City, Better Life”. The idea of a more sustainable, more benign urban transition, in which “quality of life”, the cultural environment and the heritage issue are finally taken into account, is beginning to emerge. A perfect symbol of this is the first public contemporary art museum that has just been created in Shanghai (2012) in a converted industrial building, the Power Station of Art.

The issue of the city’s relationship with culture – in the form of representations and practices, self-affirmation and the discovery of others, social bond and space for freedom – is highly relevant to this movement.

We propose to examine three dimensions of this global issue by using to the notion of Social Semantic Web for representing the City, its evolutions and its cultural items. For that we propose an interdisciplinary french-chinese research initiative between Human and Social Science (HSS) and Informations Technology (IT) researchers, including in addition possible territorial and cultural actors in Shanghai, seeking to design and use innovative a ICT Participative Knowledge Management solutions. The proposed socio-technical approach could also directly contribute to make more efficient the Shanghai artistic and cultural heritage and to create better cultural/touristic services boosting the local economy.

The platform will furnish a complete set of functions for professional allowing to describe cultural initiatives and items, to share and disseminate crucial cultural Knowledge, to confront Viewpoints and to build bridges of common interdisciplinary Culture between the domains of expertises. The platform will also furnish some functions for inhabitants and visitors at a pilot scale, allowing to consult on the Web maps, topic maps and items, geography, urbanism, agriculture…). These knowledge gaps could be better assisted by the recent participative knowledge engineering technologies we propose.