Event Sep/23
Fulong Wu: Understanding Chinese Cities and Their Implication for Urban Theory

Fulong Wu is Bartlett Professor of Planning at University College London. His research interests include urban development in China and its social and sustainable challenges. He has recently published a book, Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China (2015, Routledge). He was awarded 2013 Outstanding International Impact Prize by UK ESRC. He is an editor of International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. He has previously taught at Cardiff University and the University of Southampton.

This talk will review recent studies on urban China and discuss the implication of urban China research for the urban theory. Echoing the recent debate over specificity vs generality of the urban theory, this talk tries to understand the evolution of the concept of ‘the city’ in association with Chinese political economic changes and argues that the concept cannot be properly understood without interrogating the position of the city in its national economy, multi-scalar governance, the institution of land, dynamics of financing infrastructure. The making of the ‘urban’ has been made through transforming work-units into a more territorial-based economic governance – namely the city as an asset for growth. The presentation will discuss the development of new town and science parks as examples to illustrate how urban development has been orchestrated by the local state and how this development is operationalized. The understanding of Chinese cities opens up new possibilities of understanding the urban with a greater attention to governance which involves a wide range of actors in territorial politics. This also requires a more nuanced understanding of the complexity of city planning, because although the Chinese context of planning is quite specific, recent reading of entrepreneurial governance and declining of democratic participation in the West would need to be further interrogated.

Recommended reading list:
Commodification and housing market cycles in Chinese cities
Do rural migrants 'float' in urban China? Neighbouring and neighbourhood sentiment in Beijing
Emerging Chinese Cities: Implications for Global Urban Studies
Failing entrepreneurial governance: From economic crisis to fiscal crisis in the city of Dongguan, China
Housing in Chinese Urban Villages: The Dwellers, Conditions and Tenancy Informality
Informality and the Development and Demolition of Urban Villages in the Chinese Peri-urban Area
Planning for Growth: Urban and Regional Planning in China
State Dominance in Urban Redevelopment: Beyond Gentrification in Urban China