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Cities and Governance Seminar Series - Seeing and Planning the Cities of the Greater Bay Area: Extended Urbanism, Intensive (Re)Development, and Regional Innovation



Date 15 September 2020 (Tuesday)
Time 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Prof. George Lin

Chair Professor of Geography, The University of Hong Kong

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Continuing growth and transformation of cities in the new urban age have been the subject of debates between those faithful to the notion of agglomeration economies and others persuaded by the theories of neoliberalization and global capitalism. This study of urban transformation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) identifies an interesting trajectory characterized by an intertwinement of the growth of extended urbanism horizontally and the new dynamics of intensive (re)development and regional innovation vertically. Institutional reforms and transportation advancements have opened up the bottleneck over the growth of cities and towns leading to extended regional urbanization. The functioning of agglomeration economies and externalities has given rise to intensive urban (re)development and concentrated (co)location of innovative industries. The study foregrounds the GBA model of regional urbanization in contrast with the conventional wisdom of town-based or city-centered urbanization. Probing into the social and political origins of urban transformation has uncovered a series of factors that are either ignored or taken for granted in prevailing theories of global urbanism, including state power reshuffling, state-society relations and place-sensitivity of the innovation activities that are seemingly footloose. Going beyond the current debates between convergence and exceptionalism, a new perspective is advocated to take seriously the model of urbanism in the GBA not as a strange animal to be benchmarked against Western models but instead as a constitutive and essential element of Chinese urbanism existing in its own rights. Practically, a special model of regional governance is called for to take better advantage of the diverse strengths existing among the constituents of the GBA, coordinate cross-border and cross-jurisdictional urbanization projects, integrate urban districts old and new, promote genuine participatory and inclusive urban redevelopments, improve accessibility of numerous science parks, and effectively motivate industry-university collaboration in regional urbanization and innovation. The urbanizing GBA is envisioned to become a new global anchor of urbanization and regional hub of innovation despite periodical disruption to the long-term trend of global interdependent developments. 


Acknowledgements: The work described in this paper has been sponsored by the grants obtained from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong SAR (CRF C7028-16G and GRF 17614218) and the Seed Funding for Basic Research Program of the University of Hong Kong.



Biography of speaker


Prof George Lin


Prof. George Lin

Chair Professor of Geography, The University of Hong Kong

George C.S. Lin is Chair Professor of Geography and former Associate Dean (Research) of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Red Capitalism in South China: Growth and Development of the Pearl River Delta (UBC Press, Vancouver, Canada, 1997), Developing China: Land, Politics, and Social Conditions (Routledge, London, 2009), co-author of China’s Urban Space: Development under Market Socialism (Routledge, London, 2007), and many articles.  His research interests include China’s urban development and urbanization, growth and spatiality of technological innovation, land use and land management, and the processes and consequences of urban redevelopment in Chinese cities.


Professor Lin has served as Chair of the China Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (2007-08), Vice-Chair of the Economic Geography Commission (2006-2012) and Councilor (2014-2018) of the Geographical Society of China, Head of the Department of Geography (2006-08), and Associate Dean (Research) of HKU Faculty of Social Sciences (2012-2017). He has been on the editorial boards of international scholarly journals including Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, The Canadian Geographer, Urban Geography, The Chinese Geographical Science, Eurasian Geography and Economics, and Area Development and Policy. He is the recipient of a Young Canadian Researcher Award (IDRC, Ottawa, Canada, 1992); University Teaching Fellow (HKU, 1998), Outstanding Young Researcher Award (HKU, 2002), Qiushi Chair Professorship (Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, 2014), Zijiang Chair Professorship (East China Normal University, Shanghai, China, 2010), and many competitive research grants from international funding agencies. He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS) of the UK in October 2017.



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