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C5: China Research Cluster

Team Lead: Fulong Wu

Team Members: Zhigang Li

Research Context, Methods and Goals:

The Chinese suburbanism project will cover the following topics: 1) the emergence of suburban governance in China (including the transformation from entrepreneurial suburban growth to a new metropolitan form – governance challenges, advancement to suburban new towns, and administrative annexation); this is mainly achieved through literature review and earlier work on suburban development in China and 15 semi-structured interviews in Shanghai and Guangzhou; 2) FlexSpace of Shanghai and Guangzhou: examining new spatial elements e.g. high-tech parks, development zones, gated communities, and migrant villages to understand new conditions that lead to a new metropolitan structure, including polycentric urban forms and new towns; this is conducted through fieldwork in these two cities; 3) suburban life styles and suburbanism as a way of life: focusing on the presentation and image making of suburban lives, marketing and landscapes of suburban amenities and gated residential forms, low-rise vs high-rise suburbanism; the topic is explored through site-visits and production of photo archives and assistance to National Film Board to make a documentary of Shanghai’s suburbs; 4) rural migrants and new urban immigrants: investigation of migrant villages and immigrants enclaves, large affordable housing estates and their governance, residential preference and constraints for the local and new migrants; social inequalities and social interactions and implication for neighbourhoods. This research is conducted through fieldwork and questionnaires.


Zhigang Li, Xu J, Yeh A G O. 2014. “State rescaling and the making of city-regions in the Pearl River Delta, China.”Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 2014, 32(1): 129 – 143 (SSCI)

Lei Wang, Cuz Potter, Zhigang Li. 2014. “Crisis-induced reform, state-market relations, and entrepreneurial urban growth in China.” Habitat International, 2014, 41: 50-57 (SSCI)

Gengzhi Huang, Desheng Xue, Zhigang, Li.  2014. “From revanchism to ambivalence: the changing politics of street vending in Guangzhou.” Antipode, 46(1): 170-189

Michal Lyons, Alison Brown and Zhigang Li. 2013. “The China-Africa Value Chain: Can Africa’s Small-Scale Entrepreneurs Engage Successfully in Global Trade?” African Studies Review. 2013, 56(3): 77-100 (SSCI)

Zhigang LI and Wu Fulong, . 2013. “Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: A case study of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.” Urban Geography, 2013, 34(7): 923-949

Shen, J., & Wu, F. (2013). Moving to the suburbs: demand-side driving forces of suburban growth in ChinaEnvironment and Planning A45(8), 1823-1844.

Wu, Fulong. (2013). “Emerging Chinese cities and the implication for global urban studies.” Presidential Plenary speaker at American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, 9-12 April 2013. Los Angeles, CA.

Li, Zhigang. (2013). “State rescaling and the making of city-regions in Pearl River Delta, China.” Presented at American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, 9-12 April 2013. Los Angeles, CA.

Li, Y., and Wu, F. (2013). The emergence of centrally initiated regional plan in China: A case study of Yangtze River Delta Regional PlanHabitat International, vol. 39, p.137-147.

Li, Y., and Wu, F. (2012). Towards new regionalism? Case study of changing regional governance in the Yangtze River Delta. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, vol. 53(2), p.178-195.

Li, Y. and Wu, F. (2012).The transformation of regional governance in China: The rescaling of statehood. Progress in Planning, vol. 78(2), p. 55-99.

Shen, Jie & Wu, Fulong. (2012). “Restless urban landscapes in China: a case study of three projects in Shanghai.” Journal of Urban Affairs. 34(3), p. 255-277

Shen, J. & F. Wu. (2012). The development of master-planned communities in Chinese suburbs: A case study of Shanghai’s Thames Town. Urban Geography, 33(2), pp. 183-203.

You-tien Hsing. (2012). The Great Urban Transformation: Politics of Land and Property in China. Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 71(2), p. 526-527.