The 20-Kilometer University: Knowledge as Infrastructure

John Phillips, Andrew Benjamin, Ryan Bishop, li Shiqiao, Esther Lorenz, Liu Xiaodu, Meng Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This piece presents the work of academics and architects in a collaborative venture. It provides an architectural design and a series of statements towards the hypothetical creation of an unconventional city centre in the Chinese city of Shenzhen. The idea is to create a linear university that would run the 20-kilometer length of the Shenzhen Strip: the 20K university. The contributors outline, in the diversity of their idioms, a complex spatial condition fundamental to life, and demonstrate new relationships between knowledge and the city. The design of the proposed ‘open university space’ responds to two simultaneous and interrelated challenges: that posed to architecture, and that posed to science. The university would embody the meeting of these at the intersection of the urban infrastructure and the knowledge infrastructure. The purpose is thus also to develop the notion of knowledge, embodied in institutions, as urban infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-320
Number of pages34
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • 20K university
  • city
  • complex ecology
  • epistemology
  • infrastructure
  • knowledge
  • urban planning

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