Island Dynamics | Lillegrund 39 | 2300 Copenhagen S | Denmark | Tel.: +45 5340 1982 | E-mail: | Terms & Conditions | © 2016 Island Dynamics

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Island Dynamics | Lillegrund 39 | 2300 Copenhagen S | Denmark | Tel.: +45 5340 1982 | E-mail: | Terms & Conditions | © 2016 Island Dynamics

About Macau.

In 1557, Portugal established a colony on Macau, then a sparsely populated archipelago in the Pearl River Delta. Macau developed into a major trading centre and later a centre for gambling tourism. Macau became a self-governing Special Administrative Region of China in 1999.

Macau’s islands were expanded through land reclamation over time. The spatial limitations arising from the territory’s enclave geography led to extreme yet phased urban densification. Macau is today the most densely populated territory in the world, with 650,000 residents concentrated in just 30.5 km², primarily on the 8.5 km² Macau Peninsula. Yet despite its small size, Macau Peninsula is a place of strong neighbourhood and functional distinction, encompassing heritage tourism zones; Buddhist, Taoist, and Christian religious sites; residential districts at all income levels; casino zones; green parks; and retail districts.

Although Macau is best known for its gambling tourism and UNESCO World Heritage status (both of which are characterised by strict regulatory regimes), Macau Peninsula in particular is rich in vernacular urban and architectural practices that flourish alongside, above, and sometimes beneath the city’s internationally oriented facade. The simultaneous preservation of colonial heritage and construction of monumental casino tourism infrastructure means that, despite the withdrawal of Portuguese colonial rule, the culture, traditions, and lifestyles of the Chinese people of Macau continue to be pushed to the margins of this hyper-dense city, necessitating creative spatial practices and clear differentiations between spaces for tourists and residents. At the same time, in an atmosphere of Western suspicion toward China, Macau’s decolonisation and re-Sinification is often framed in terms of culture loss, a framing that paradoxically echoes discourses surrounding Indigenous activism. Macau’s urban space thus contains and conditions complex negotiations regarding cultural authenticity, visibility, and practice.

Visas and getting to Macau.

Macau has different visa requirements to mainland China, and citizens of many countries do not require a visa to enter the Macau. See here for more information.

Macau International Airport serves cities across Asia. Most visitors from elsewhere in the world will find it easiest to fly into nearby Hong Kong and then take a TurboJet ferry to Macau directly from Hong Kong International Airport.

Convenor: Adam Grydehøj (Island Dynamics)

Conference coordinator: OuZuan (Minzu University)

Culture in Urban Space

Urban Form, Cultural Landscapes, Life in the City

8-12 April 2019, Macau, China

The city cannot be understood in terms of its buildings, infrastructure, and physical geography alone. Urban materiality is inextricably linked with city life: Urban spaces are influenced by the cultures that inhabit them, and urban form shapes these cultures in turn. This conference brings together researchers, planners, designers, and architects from around the globe to explore the mutual influence of urban culture and urban form.

Impacts of past urban planning reverberate long after original rationales have become obsolete: Fortifications (walls, moats, fortresses), coastlines and land reclamation, transport infrastructure (roads, bridges, city gates), and other elements of the built environment structure future development. Aspects of urban form contribute to dividing the city into neighbourhoods, determining which areas flourish while others decay, encouraging shifts from industrial to tourism to leisure uses. The city’s architectures affect the cultures of the people who use them: Different kinds of housing foster different forms of sociality or isolation, and different networked infrastructures promote different pathways to the internal cohesion and/or citywide integration of urban cultures. Whether urban cultural landscapes evolve gradually over time or result from decisive, top-down planning, they reflect and influence the city’s multitude of identities, industries, cultural politics, ethnic relations, and expressive cultures.

About the conference.

Culture in Urban Space allows delegates to contextualise knowledge and engage with the local community through three days of walking-based field trips. On 8-10 April, delegates will explore the morphological and cultural distinctions of Macau Peninsula, visiting diverse neighbourhoods across the city, with an emphasis on the ways in which the urban environment has transformed over the centuries. Conference presentations will take place on 11-12 April at Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16.

Delegates who are registered at Culture in Urban Space are also welcome to attend presentations at the simultaneous conference on Silk Road Archipelagos.

Keynote speakers.

Yiping Li (Guangzhou University)

Timothy A. Simpson (University of Macao)

Ping Su (Sun Yat-sen University)

How to propose a presentation.

This interdisciplinary conference welcomes presentations addressing any region of the world as well as innovative perspectives that highlight the complex intersections of multiple peoples, places, and polities.

Presentations last 15 minutes and will be followed by around 5 minutes’ question time. The deadline for abstracts has been extended to 30 November 2018. To propose a presentation, please fill out this presentation proposal form, and e-mail it to Write ‘Abstract for Culture in Urban Space’ in the subject line of the e-mail. The deadline for early registration is 31 October, and the final deadline registration 31 December. If you wish to take advantage of the early registration rate, you should submit a proposal a few weeks before the deadline.

If you have any questions, e-mail convenor Adam Grydehøj (

Registration & accommodation.

The deadline for early registration is 31 October 2018. The final deadline for registration will be 30 December 2018. All participants must pay a conference registration fee. You can register and order accommodation by filling out this registration form and e-mailing it to Write ‘Registration for Culture in Urban Space’ in the subject line of the e-mail. The registration fee must be paid by bank transfer.

Categories of registration.

Full Registration: Covers attendance at the walking trips in the city (8-10 April) and the conference presentations (11-12 April). Includes lunch and dinner on 8-12 April. Early registration fee: 4500 Danish kroner.

Short Registration: Covers attendance at conference presentations (11-12 April). Includes lunch and dinner on 11-12 April. Early registration fee: 2750 Danish kroner.

Basic Registration: Covers attendance at conference presentations (11-12 April). Includes lunch on 11-12 April. Early registration fee: 2000 Danish kroner.


Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16 will serve as the conference venue and the site from which group excursions depart. Sofitel Macau is both a 5-star hotel and ideally located for exploring the Macau Peninsula by foot. Delegates are free to stay in any accommodation they wish, but for the best possible experience, we strongly recommend that delegates stay at Sofitel Macau. Delegates can book rooms at a reduced rate via Island Dynamics.

Accommodation includes breakfast. The listed accommodation prices include all taxes and service fees. You can receive full refunds for cancellation of room bookings made through the Island Dynamics website up until 31 January 2019. After this point, refunds will not be possible.

We recommend that delegates for the Full Conference arrive in Macau on 7 April and depart on 13 April, while delegates for the Short and Basic Conference packages should arrive on 10 April and depart on 13 April. However, delegates who wish to stay for a longer or shorter time are welcome to do so.

If you have any questions or need help with the registration form, please contact convenor Adam Grydehøj (