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Restructuring and repositioning Shenzhen, China's new mega city


Restructuring and repositioning Shenzhen, China's new mega city

Zacharias, John and Tang, Yuanzhou (2010) Restructuring and repositioning Shenzhen, China's new mega city. Progress in Planning, 73 (4). pp. 209-249. ISSN 03059006

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.progress.2010.01.002


Shenzhen, a new mega city founded under China’s ‘open door’ policy, has experienced dramatic urban development over the past thirty years. From humble beginnings as a fishing village before the 1980s, it benefited from locational advantage next to Hong Kong, an autonomous city with a global role in finance and trade. Shenzhen was first among cities in China to adapt the capitalist world’s urban development practices to an indigenous, centrally controlled land management system. As a new city, Shenzhen may best represent the role of planning in a time of economic transition. Urban planning in Shenzhen was ambitious in its reach, using ‘experimental reform’ as a vehicle for institutionalizing changes in management of the land resource. These reforms became generalized in China, leading to a recent decline in academic investigation of Shenzhen. While the city as ‘reformer’ seems to have run its course, new challenges upset the old assumptions and call for more research. Today, as industry moves inland away from increasingly costly coastal areas, the city is grappling with the need to restructure its economic base. The city has undertaken major infrastructural projects in a bid to secure its role as a major transhipment hub and logistics command centre, while also developing a rail-based mass transit system. The regeneration of disused industrial land and ‘urban villages’, built up to accommodate at low cost a huge factory workforce, are important ongoing city programmes. While the city extends its infrastructure to connect more effectively with the rest of the Pearl River Delta (PRD) and with Hong Kong, more fundamental questions surround its role within a restructuring regional economy. Ambitions for international stature, bolstered by a large and young population base, a world-class port and modern facilities are challenged by a rapidly evolving regional economy.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Article
Authors:Zacharias, John and Tang, Yuanzhou
Journal or Publication:Progress in Planning
Date:May 2010
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1016/j.progress.2010.01.002
Keywords:urbanisation, China, urban planning, economic restructuring, post-industrial cities, urban design
ID Code:974472
Deposited On:16 Jul 2012 18:17
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:38
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