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Formation of City-regions from Bottom-up Initiatives: Investigating Coalitional Developmentalism in the Pearl River Delta

Date: 22 April 2021 (Thursday)

Time: 4:30 – 6:00 pm (UTC+8, HK Time)

- Dr Xianchun Zhang (Assistant Professor, Department of Land Management, Zhejiang University)

Department of Geography and Resource Management, CUHK

Language: English

Zoom link:
https://cuhk.zoom.us/j/97360375790 (no password required)

By formulating a conceptual framework of coalitional developmentalism, this presentation aims to understand the formation of city-regions from bottom-up initiatives in China. Coalitional developmentalism extends state developmen-talism with more emphasis on the coalitional politics under which local state agents form a strategic coalition spontaneously to pursue regional growth. The case study of Shenzhen-Shanwei Special Cooperation Zone (Shen-Shan Zone) in the Pearl River Delta uncovered that the coalitional developmentalism aims to develop regional governance capacity so as to overcome territorial fragmen-tation owing to jurisdiction-based development. This case of Shen-Shan Zone has four theoretical implications. First, the flexibility of state regulation is central to forge the deliberate scale-building processes oriented toward regional governance. Second, bottom-up initiatives in building city-regions have emerged through a decentralized but integrated organizational structure and the strong governance capacity of advanced cities. Third, local state agents devote their effort to creating market-favored climate to attract enterprises, whereas the developmental discourse of the local state agents at the scale of city-region is partially fulfilled by making use of external factors, e.g., the economic clout and geographical location of the Shen-Shan Zone. Lastly, bottom-up innovative behaviors unfolding against the specific context of coalitional politics associated with top-down state spatial interventions become unique characteristics of the so-called state spatiality in post-reform China.

Prof. Calvin Chung (Tel: +852 3943 9791; Email: calvin.chung@cuhk.edu.hk)

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