Urban heritage does not mean only the historic buildings and public spaces in urban area. It is a “place” for the community dwelling, from which they get their identity/ies through their rituals of daily life. The meaning of urban heritage is often associated with the “spirit” of the place, based on communities’ understanding of their own urban area. It serves as a marker for the coexistence of multiple identities in one given social environment in the globalized age, especially in the metropolis like Beijing and Shanghai in China as well as Paris and London in Europe.

The process of place-making has taken particular importance characterized by a tension existing between top-down and bottom-up ends of the socio-political spectrum. Based on research of the urban development in Chinese and European metropolises as well as the changes of physical and social structures in historic areas, the research will analyse the range of creative agency performed by the residents in the process of place-making, thereby addressing original and sometimes indirect forms of contestation against the politico-economic apparatus and its hegemony over public discourses on heritage. The more globalized metropolises in Europe might serve as a good exemplary counterpoint to the situations prevailing in Chinese cities, each characterized by a diversity of people living there with mixed identities and connections to the places.