Julliard Improves Tone of China's Urbanisation

Agenda-Setting Financial Insight.
June 29 2012 3:37 PM

Julliard Improves Tone of China's Urbanisation

52958350
The Juilliard School, one of the best known U.S. music and fine arts colleges, has picked the city of Tianjin for a new institute.

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

The tone of China’s frantic urbanisation may be changing for the better. The Juilliard School, one of the best known U.S. music and fine arts colleges, has picked the city of Tianjin for a new institute. The host city is unlikely to be motivated only by a love of the performing arts, but it matters little so long as China’s urban jungle gets more liveable.

It’s not hard to see why Juilliard picked Tianjin. The city will offer the U.S. school a brand new campus rent free, according to a person familiar with the situation. At present the new site, in the wannabe financial centre of Yujiapu, is an hour’s drive from Tianjin. But high-speed railway lines should cut that leg to mere minutes, making Beijing also accessible within an hour or so.

Advertisement

Financially, that could make it a big win. The campus should be in easy reach of a formidable population of rising middle classes. Greater China already supplies around a tenth of Juilliard’s U.S. music students. Classical music is hot: a fraught Juilliard audition even makes an appearance in Amy Chua’s controversial parental memoir “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”.

Tianjin’s motives may not be purely artistic either. Big cities are clamouring for Western trophies to show their global credentials. Think NYU’s Shanghai campus, due to open next year - or the signings of international soccer players Dario Conca and Dider Drogba to Chinese teams.

While there’s room for discord - Chinese President Hu Jintao has complained Western influences are too prevalent in the media - it should be minor. By avoiding theatre and dance, Juilliard shouldn’t fall foul of China’s censors, and by not offering formal degrees, it also won’t need to worry about the equivalence of qualifications. The school is sticking to what it knows too - there’ll be violin lessons, but no-one will be studying the erhu any time soon.

China is building cities at an alarming rate, around 20 a year, and should account for 38 percent of the global increase in urban floor space between 2010 and 2015, according to McKinsey. That’s a lot of sprawl. Any idea for making city living more harmonious deserves an audience.

Read more at Reuters Breakingviews.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

How Tattoo Parlors Became the Barber Shops of Hipster Neighborhoods

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 8:07 AM The Dark Side of Techtopia
  Life
Quora
Oct. 2 2014 8:27 AM How Do Teachers Kill the Joy of Reading for Students?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 2 2014 9:08 AM Demons Are Real A horror movie goes behind the scenes on an Intervention-like reality show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 2 2014 7:30 AM What Put the Man in the Moon in the Moon?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?