The nexus between (re)production of space and economic resilience: An analysis of Chinese cities

Xin Mai, Chaoqun Zhan*, Roger C. K. Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The uneven geography of economic resilience is generally considered to be dependent on local-specific attributes such as economic structure, human actions, and institutional arrangements. Going beyond these internal attributes, this study draws insights from Harvey's spatial fix concept and explores the impact of the (re)production of space on economic resilience across 285 prefectural-level cities in China in relation to the economic crisis of 2008. Economic resilience was measured by the cities' resistance to decline during the crisis period (2007–2009) and its recoverability in the period immediately afterwards (2009–2016). For each period, we used regression models to assess the relative impact of fixed-asset investment, economic structure, and local government spending on the cities' economic resistance or recoverability. The (re)production of space, as measured by fixed-asset investment in urban space, was found to have a consistently positive and significant effect on economic resilience across the cities. In addition, the manufacturing sector showed a positive and significant effect on the cities' resistance to decline whereas the service sector was key to their recoverability during the post-crisis period. Our analysis extends the perception of space in regional resilience by corroborating the proposition that the built environment can serve as a resource system for sustained and resilient growth. The robustness test confirmed that the spatial-fix effect on economic resilience was consistently significant across Chinese cities regardless of spatial and temporal variations in local contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102326
Number of pages10
JournalHabitat International
Early online date19 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Urban Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Economic resilience
  • Resistance
  • Recoverability
  • Spatial fix
  • Fixed-asset investment
  • China


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