UCCA Beijing

A History of Future Cities: Daniel Brook in conversation with Phillip Tinari


Location:  Workshop
Language:  English with Chinese Translation

In A History of Future Cities, published in English in 2013 and recently translated into Chinese, American author and journalist Daniel Brook explores the fascinating and fraught question: How do civilizations use instant modern cities to leap-frog into the modern world? In light of China’s rapid urban growth, UCCA invites the author of A History of Future Cities, Daniel Brook, to join UCCA Director Philip Tinari for a discussion concerning future urbanity.
Beginning in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1703, when Tsar Peter the Great sought to catch up to Western Europe by building his own redbrick, canal-laced ersatz Amsterdam on the banks for the Neva River, myriad societies have attempted to modernize overnight through the construction of instant modern cities. In China, this project, initially begun in nineteenth-century Shanghai, is now evident in neighborhoods and metropolises all over the country. Some swell with pride while others wince at contemporary Chinese cities with international-style skyscrapers, scale-model Eiffel Towers, and stage-set English town centers. But the most pressing questions raised by such architecture are less aesthetic than philosophical, economic, and political. How do these ersatz cities become real cities? How does imitation blossom into innovation? And what are the possibilities for equal cultural exchange in a contemporary world no longer dominated by the West? The first stop on his Asian book tour, Daniel Brook will explore these questions at UCCA through concrete architectural images and conversation with the audience.

Ticketing: Free


*Collect your ticket from reception 45 minutes before the event begins;

*Please no late entry;

*Seating is limited, and tickets must be collected individually;

*Please keep mobile devices on silent.

UCCA Membership Benefits

Scan the QR code below to sign up for UCCA membership and enjoy exclusive member benefits.


For this event, UCCA members will enjoy:

• Exclusive seats reservation service

• Members-only guided tour

For UCCA members, please send us your name and mobile number to RSVP (ve@ or call UCCA membership hotline: +86 10 5780 0200


Daniel Brook (Writer)

Born and raised in New York, Daniel Brook was educated at Yale University and now lives in New Orleans. His work on architecture and urbanism in Asia has appeared in publications including The New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and N + 1. Brook's A History of Future Cities, praised as "uncommonly interesting and intelligent" by The Washington Post, "fascinating" by Nature, and "[a] pleasure" by The Wall Street Journal has recently been published in Chinese and Russian translations.

Philip Tinari (UCCA Director)

Philip Tinari has served as Director of UCCA, the museum at the heart of Beijing's 798 Art District, since late 2011. In his six-year tenure, he has mounted more than sixty exhibitions and organized a wide range of public programs and development activities. Prior to joining UCCA, he was founding editor of LEAP, the internationally distributed, bilingual art magazine published by the Modern Media Group. He is a contributing editor of Artforum, having previously served as founding editor of that magazine's online Chinese edition, artforum.com.cn. Tinari was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015 and to the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations in 2016.


Xinhua Publishing House


13:00-13:20 Ticket pick-up at the reception desk (for UCCA members who RSVPed)

13:20-13:50 Exclusive UCCA members-only guided tour

13:30-14:00 Ticket distribution at the reception desk (for UCCA members who didn’t RSVP and non-members)

14:00-18:00 Conversation

*Please arrive promptly.