The change in China's state governance and its effects upon urban scale


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In this paper I investigate how the changing role of the Chinese state has led to the reformatting of urban space. It is argued that a new rationality of governance, based on both localization and promotion of state authority, has been introduced during the era of economic reform. This dual process has reconstructed China's urban scale which was inherited from the prereform period. The implementation of city-led counties (shi guan xian) in 1982 has provided a good example for illustration. Under this new system, cities have not only been institutionalized as administrative centers, their territory, bureaucracy, and power have also been expanded and hence a new relationship between cities and counties has been forged. These arguments are illustrated by reference to Jiangsu, one of the first provinces to initiate city-led counties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-809
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironment and Planning A: Economy and Space
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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