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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.

Fulong Wu, 12-13 November 2013, “The evolution of new towns in China: from industrial satellite towns to eco-cities”, Asian Development Bank – Tongji Urban Knowledge Sharing Workshop, New Towns and New Districts in China – Challenges and Opportunities 12-13 November 2013, Shanghai. (keynote)

Fulong Wu, 8th April 2014, “The planning of new town in the UK”. Beijing Urban Planning and Design Institute.

Fulong Wu, 15th April 2014, “Urban development in the UK: new town and the new financial district.”, Nanjing University.

Fulong Wu, Fangzhu Zhang, 22th Nov 2013, “The city and innovation: building biotech in Shanghai” Regional Association Regional Conference, (keynote).

Li, Zhigang.”Guangzhou’s ‘Chocolate City’: An ethnic enclave in a changing landscape, International Conference: Mobility with and to the Global South.” Cologne: Cologne University, 05-07-2013

Li, Zhigang “State-led community transformation in suburban Dongguan, the world factory of China.” International Conference: Suburban Revolution? Toronto: York University, 26/09-28/09, 2013

Li, Zhigang “Remaking south China: Sanjiu redevelopment in the Pearl River Delta.” China Planning Research Symposium, London: University College London, 05/31, 2013

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.