The Bartlett School of Planning


Building Chinese city-regions under state entrepreneurialism

02 November 2022, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

CPRG event

A China Planning Research Group Seminar

Event Information

Open to



Feng Yi

Zoom meeting ID: 937 8064 4333


The past decade has witnessed a variety of city-regional projects across the world, such as the formulation of city-regional plans, the establishment of inter-regional organizations, and the construction of region-wide infrastructure. For some, city-regions are seen as a geopolitical project orchestrated from above by the national state in the global age of late capitalism. For others, city-regions are best approached from below, under the logic of territorial alliances or growth coalitions. However, geopolitical motivations and regional coalitions cannot alone fully explain the actual mechanism of city-regionalism in the Chinese context. Drawing on the governance framework of state entrepreneurialism, this paper distinguishes between the processes of the centrally orchestrated regional imaginary and local implementation through regional cooperation in the making of Chinese city-regions. It traces the latest round of regional integration in the Yangtze River Delta through three different practices: ascendant collaborative technological parks under inter-city partnerships, connecting regional infrastructure under regional associations, and the creation of a regional collaboration demonstration zone. Through these case studies, this paper aims to understand the processes of city-region building as well as its inherent contradictions in the Chinese context.

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About the Speaker

Dr. Yi Li

Associate Professor at School of Public Administration, National Research Centre for Resettlement, Hohai University, Nanjing, China

Yi’s research interests lie in the formation and governance of city-regions. Her work has covered the three dominant mega city-regions in China, including the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei. She approaches different aspects of Chinese regional governance from planning, cooperation towards provision of infrastructures and housing. She has published on Territory, Politics and Governance, Political Geography, Regional Studies, Progress in Planning, Cities, Land Use Policy, Habitat International and so on.