Seeing urban regeneration through an institutional lens: toward a new contextualism

Raul P. Lejano, Wing Shan Kan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the ‘tools’ of urban regeneration is discourse – that is, the social construction of new strategies for uplifting parts of the city. In this article, we take an institutionalist approach and contrast textualist urban development regimes from contextualist ones, building on recent theoretical advances in institutional contextualism. A review of the institutional literature underscores the utility of this lens in analysing the discourse and practice of urban regeneration. We demonstrate the contrast between text and context in practice and point to a new contextualism in urban planning and design. Drawing upon examples from Hong Kong, we discuss particular challenges, such as textual autopoiesis, for regenerative urban design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Urban Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015


  • contextualism
  • urban design
  • urban regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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