The Bartlett School of Planning


Yi Feng

Research subject

Financing Urban Development in China Using Local Government Financial Vehicles, From Entrepreneurial Governance to Financialization

Primary supervisor: Professor Fulong Wu
Secondary supervisor: Dr Fangzhu Zhang
Sponsor: China Scholarship Council
Start date: September 2018
Projected completion date: September 2022

The literature has documented the expansion of financial activities to fund urban development, which enmeshes local governments in the financial market and leads to governance restructuring. In extreme cases, finance overturns previous power relationship and leads to financialized governance in the late-entrepreneurialism.

Situating Chinese urban development in this body of literature, this research aims to explain how to finance and govern urban development in post-crisis China using local government financial vehicles (LGFVs). Further, it aims to answer whether China has seen a governance shift from entrepreneurialism to financialization after extensively adopting financial instruments.

First, the role of the state and the development of the LGFVs at the national scale will be studied via desk research. Second, this research will detail the financing mechanisms and the local governance restructuring by case studies on two types of LGFVs, including the Urban Development and Investment Corporations (Chengtou) and land reserve centres. Third, the Chinese pathway of governance restructuring in the financialization of urban development will be discussed by taking Shanghai as an example. The research will investigate the salient features of financialization in Chinese urban development and contribute to the theorization of governance financialization.



Before entering the BSP, Yi Feng had studied urban planning at the Nanjing University of China, where she got both Bachelor's and master's degrees. Benefiting from interdisciplinary training and urban planning practices in China, she has developed her interests in urban governance and land development.


She is now doing a Ph.D. with Prof. Fulong Wu and Dr. Fangzhu Zhang on financialization and urban governance transformations in China.