Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change | VOL. 20

Macao’s post-Mao grand tour: China’s gamble on urbanization in the Venetian Macao Resort

Publication Date Sep 3, 2022


ABSTRACT The Venetian Macao Resort is one of the world’s largest buildings and Macao’s most popular attraction, visited by millions of tourists each year from mainland China. This article explores the Venetian’s function in China’s National New-Type Urbanization Plan, a macro-economic initiative implemented in 2014 by China’s central government. The project aims to urbanize hundreds of millions of rural Chinese citizens in hopes that these new urbanites will create a domestic consumption economy powerful enough to sustain economic growth. One key to enhancing urban consumption levels is fostering what Louis Wirth called ‘urbanism as a way of life’ – the density, heterogeneity, and anonymity of urban experience that stimulates market activity. Drawing on indigenous Chinese theories of education, and China’s pedagogical use of normative models to guide ethical behavior, this article analyzes the Venetian as an encapsulated model city in this national urbanization plan. It explores how tourists in the Venetian experience a normative mode of ‘urbanism as a way of life’ that comports post-socialist consumers, and contributes to the country’s economic development. As a privatized urban enclosure, the Venetian constitutes an architectonic resolution to the inherent contradiction of China’s macro-economic planning, and the risks that urbanization poses to the central government.


National New-Type Urbanization Plan National Urbanization Plan Macro-economic Planning Popular Attraction Pedagogical Use Largest Buildings Mainland China Central Government Urbanization Plan Rural Citizens

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