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Hong Kong Baptist University December 2007
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Hong Kong Baptist University December 2007

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  1. Hong Kong Baptist UniversityDecember 2007 Urban China amid Globalization: Spatial Restructuring in Guangzhou in Comparative Perspective Lachang LU, Guangzhou University Linda McCARTHY, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

  2. Theoretical/methodological issues • Large-scale processes of change associated with globalization impacting urban areas in LDCs & DCs • Break from traditional monocentric spatial patterns captured by new terms for evolving decentralized multicentric configurations, e.g. ‘urban realms’ in US (Vance 1990), ‘polycentric urban development’ in China (Wu 1998) • Negative reaction to ‘convergence thesis’ (neglect for importance of local in mediating global) → pendulum swinging perhaps too far in other direction → focus on Chinese cities as distinct/uniqueness of Chinese urban processes & spatial outcomes

  3. Argue against ‘throwing out baby w/bathwater.’ Not arguing for convergence on universal or US or Los Angeles model. Ma & Wu (2005) critiqued Dick & Rimmer (1998): SE Asian cities converging on W. cities based on selective elements—shopping malls, gated communities, etc.—superficially similar to US, while ignoring common LDC elements, e.g., squatter settlements, large informal economy • Agree with Dick & Rimmer: paradigm emphasizing uniqueness of LDC cities & disallowing similarities with DCs is problematical. Agree with Marcuse & van Kempen (2000): despite diversity in spatial patterns produced by globalization processes, common tendencies that form similar patterns

  4. Increasing pervasiveness of globalization processes  comparative international perspective may be helpful  international similarities incorporated into theorizations of urban change/better appreciation of impacts of globalization; policy implications/learn from experience; (Dear & Flusty 1998; Denters & Mossberger 2006; Keating 1998) • Importance of local context in mediating global forces  finding shared problems ≠ shared capacities to address

  5. Universal (country to country urban analysis) too general; Unique (city to city analysis) allows real world comparison • Guangzhou vs. Los Angeles: fast-growth; sprawl; large metro. pop; near top urban hierarchy, not capital; economic structure: balance of commerce & industry. US: ‘the’ model of capitalist growth & policy imitation • Metropolitan scale facilitates urban/policy analysis within single politically-integrated planning environment

  6. Theoretical framework • Chinese cities as a separate ‘transitional’ group?  post-1978 reforms  not surprising: conceptualizations as ‘transitional.’ But problematical re. ‘convergence thesis’ & all cities in constant transition (Wu 2003); prefer ‘globalizing cities’ (Marcuse & van Kempen 2000); globally dispersed net of megalopoles in a single integrated urban system (Dear & Flusty 1998) • Global-local interplay  External/global e.g. FDI, & internal/local e.g. domestic investment; local government economic dev. despite strong control of state; • Operationalizing globalization  Political; economic; cultural; environmental

  7. Guangzhou’s changing metropolitan structure • Real world example to situate discussion • Since 1978, change from ‘single core’ socialist ‘production’ city

  8. 1. Initial opening up: Single core w/planned leapfrog development, 1978-87 • Single core: commercial • 1984: Guangzhou Economic & Technology Dev. District (GETDD): FDI in industry 1984

  9. 2. Toward a Modernized International Center: Dual core, 1987-2000 • 1985: Tianhe development • 1987: new land leasing system • urban sprawl

  10. 3. Growing International Conurbation: Multi-core network, 2000-present • 2002: GETDD & 3 other dev. zones → ‘4 Zone Union’: Guangzhou Dev. District (GDD); 2005: Luogang urban district • 1993: Nansha Econ. & Tech. Dev. District (NETDD); 2005: Nansha urban district • Guangzhou University Town; Internat. Bio-island; Internat. Convention & Exhibition Center • 2000: Huadu urban district

  11. Urban processes & spatial outcomes amid globalization • Theoretical framework & 3-stage Guangzhou model → distinctive features of Chinese urban processes & outcomes; & any emerging similarities

  12. Political processes & spatial restructuring • Institutional restructuring in China & US = ‘globalization of neoliberal project’ & entrepreneurial local gov. (Peck & Tickell 2002); ‘roll back,’ ‘roll out’ in US vs. proactive support in China; political fragmentation; but national power centered on Communist Party; goal & location of dev. zones in China ≠ EZs in US

  13. Economic processes & spatial restructuring • Domestic ‘self-raised funds’ & FDI; decentralization from single core/selective urban renewal; Guangzhou University Town, etc. corresponds with 1 of Hall’s (2001) common nodes in polycentric metropolis specializing in education, exhibition & convention centers, etc. (but stronger hand of higher tiers of gov.); buthistoric core retained its economic dominance (so far); FDI → commercial/historic core vs. industry/dev. zones; agriculture → industry & services

  14. Cultural processes & spatial restructuring • Increasing consumerism; growing middle class; economic, social, spatial/residential polarization w/luxury apartments, gated W-style housing, gentrification; rural-to-urban migration; but limited involvement in planning by civil society (Lin 2007)

  15. The environment & spatial restructuring • Pollution with industrialization; pollution with rising wealth/car ownership/freeways & longer commutes; concern: pollution & environmental degradation negatively affecting economic growth, but so far economic growth favored; but outside pressure from international community to curb pollution re. global warming; ‘Kuznets curve’?

  16. Theoretical & policy implications • From theoretical perspective, not considering Chinese cities as ‘transitional,’ allowed comparative differences but also any similarities to be examined • Deliberately did not look for convergence on US model, & did not find it • While need to be careful using W. theories for understanding Chinese cities, may be helpful to consider models of L.A. re. informing conceptualizations of urban spatial restructuring in China

  17.  Vance (1990) ‘urban realms’ model: realms function semi-independently; Guangzhou’s spatial pattern showing nascent tendency for different cores to function semi-independently, esp. former GDD (Luogang) & former NETDD (Nansha)?  Dear & Flusty (1998) model of postmodern urban structure: global-local interplay & social polarization reflected in Guangzhou; but not reterritorialization of urban space with hinterland organizing center; urbanization not occurring ‘on quasi-random field of opportunities’

  18. From a policy perspective, some similarities (while not identical) have implications, including learning from experience. • Politically, possibility of raising broader questions, including validity of neoliberal project’s focus on city competitiveness, with worker exploitation; drawbacks of trend toward political fragmentation, & alternatives in US e.g. competitive regionalism • Economically, new elements on Chinese urban landscape, e.g. sprawl, have drawbacks that policy analysts in US have been grappling with longer • Culturally, increasing social polarization & residential segregation also longer-term issues in US • Environmentally, degradation with rapid urban development an issue since Ind. Rev.

  19. Concluding comments • Further comparative analysis may be helpful in identifying & attempting to understand any similarities as well as differences in processes & outcomes amid globalization in China compared to other parts of world, including US. • Important from a policy perspective to investigate in greater detail both theoretically & empirically extent to which any similarities are result of different processes, policies, contexts, & any differences are produced by similar ones—both intended & unintended

  20. Acknowledgments • Support from China’s Natural Science Foundation (40571049/D0107) & Social Science Foundation (05BJL042) • Wang JianJun for his research assistance • Professors Ya Ping Wang & Yeu-man Yeung for helpful comments on earlier version of presentation

  21. References • DEAR, M. & FLUSTY, S. 1998 ‘Postmodern urbanism’, Annals of Association of American Geographers, 88, 50–72. • DENTERS, B. & MOSSBERGER, K. 2006 ‘Building blocks for a methodology for comparative urban political research’, Urban Affairs Review,41, 550–71. • DICK, H. W. & RIMMER, P. J. 1998 ‘Beyond the Third World city’, Urban Studies,35, 2303–21. • HALL, P. 2001 ‘Global city-regions in the twenty-first century’, in A. J. Scott, ed., Global City-Regions, New York, Oxford University Press, 59–77 • KEATING, M. 1997 ‘Public-private partnerships in the United States from a European perspective’, in J. Pierre, ed., Partnerships in Urban Governance, London, MacMillan, 163–74. • LIN, G. C. S. 2007 ‘Chinese urbanism in question: state, society, and the reproduction of urban spaces’, Urban Geography, 28, 7–29. • MA, L. J. C. & WU, F. 2005 Restructuring the Chinese City. London, Routledge. • MARCUSE, P. & VAN KEMPEN, R. eds. 2000 Globalizing Cities, Oxford, Blackwell. • PECK, J. & TICKELL, A. 2002 ‘Neoliberalizing space’, Antipode, 34, 380–404. • SIT, V. F. S. & YANG, C. 1997 ‘Foreign-investment-induced exo-urbanization in the Pearl River Delta, China’, Urban Studies, 34, 647–77. • VANCE, J. E. 1990 The Continuing City, Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins University. • WU, F. 1998 ‘Polycentric urban development & land-use change in a transitional economy: the case of Guangzhou’, Environment & Planning A, 30, 1077–1100. • WU, F. 2003 ‘Transitional cities’, Environment & Planning A, 35, 1331–38.