Representing concession culture: remaking of Minyuan Stadium in the Five Avenues (Wudadao) in the former British Concession of Tianjin

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


After China’s liberation in 1949, the Five Avenues, an upscale residential area in the former British Concession of Tianjin, underwent the redistribution of urban space resources. With the regeneration of this area accelerated by cultural tourism in 2004, the concession buildings were revalued by the local government as cultural heritage and capital for the city to cope with global economic competition. This government-led mode of heritage regeneration and top-down construction of the official narrative of concession is commonly seen in China, often accompanied by the gentrification of building function and relocation of local community residents. One specific case of this phenomenon is the transformation of Minyuan Stadium and its surroundings in the Five Avenues, as the core project to represent concession identity and promote tourism. The stadium, built by the British during the concession period, was reconstructed in 2012 by the government and architects to be a multi-functional building that sells Western-style architectural symbols and lifestyles for tourists. It is worth noting that this formal approach is accompanied with other forms of representation by different agents.
My thesis will focus on these different forms of representation in the Minyuan Stadium to examine how the concession culture is constructed in post-independence Tianjin. In this presentation, I will briefly introduce two of these representation, i.e the formal architectural design of the new Minyuan Stadium by the government and architects, and the informal construction of the memories of Minyuan Stadium by local residents. Through this, I will show how the residents’ views differ from the state-sanctioned version of concession culture, urban identity and collective memory of Tianjin.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventACT and MARG PhD Summer School 2022: Embodied cultures of collecting, creating, constructing and conserving - The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Jun 202224 Jun 2022


ConferenceACT and MARG PhD Summer School 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • concession regeneration
  • Post-colonial spaces
  • stadium
  • collective memory
  • personal history
  • informal space


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