Spatial reconfi gurations are common in societies in transition. By giving frame

and form to the material world, architecture defi nes the structure of human fl ows,

creates a visual representation of power, and provides the physical site where

everyday life occurs. Thus, the reordering of space is really a reordering of social

relations. The Chinese attempt to reshape the built environment shared with

modernist projects elsewhere a vision of social transformation through spatial

reorganization by employing modern knowledge and techniques (Gregory, 1994;

Scott, 1998). What is different is the unique outcome created as modernity unfolded

within the specifi c national and social contexts (Gaonkar, 1999; Eisenstadt, 2002).