Journal article (2014): Urban spatial restructuring, event-led development and scalar politics

14.coverA recent paper of mine on examining Guangzhou’s use of the Asian Games has just been published by the journal Urban Studies. Entitled “Urban Spatial Restructuring, Event-led Development and Scalar Politics”, it examines the use of the 2010 Summer Asian Games by Guangzhou in China as a means to justify its developmental vision that aimed at raising the city’s global profile and urban accumulation. Please click here to go directly to the journal page to download the paper.

Below is an abstract. Please e-mail me if you do not have access to the journal and I’ll be happy to share the paper. Other papers that have resulted from my project on Guangzhou can be found on this link (e.g. journal papers from Antipode and City).

Abstract of “Urban Spatial Restructuring, Event-led Development and Scalar Politics”

This paper uses Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the 2010 Asian Games to illustrate Guangzhou’s engagement with scalar politics. This includes concurrent processes of intra-regional restructuring to position Guangzhou as a central city in south China and a ‘negotiated scale-jump’ to connect with the world under conditions negotiated in part with the overarching strong central state, testing the limit of Guangzhou’s geopolitical expansion. Guangzhou’s attempts were aided further by using the Asian Games as a vehicle for addressing condensed urban spatial restructuring to enhance its own production/accumulation capacities, and for facilitating urban redevelopment projects to achieve a ‘global’ appearance and exploit the city’s real estate development potential. Guangzhou’s experience of hosting the Games provides important lessons for expanding our understanding of how regional cities may pursue their development goals under the strong central state and how event-led development contributes to this.

[In Chinese; thanks to Yimin Zhao for translation]



Below is one of the images used in the paper, which shows how the new central business district (Pearl River New Town or zhujiang xincheng ?江新城) has changed substantially during the ten years prior to the Games opening.

Transformation of the Pearl River New Town, 2000 - 2010

Transformation of the Pearl River New Town, 2000 – 2010

Proposal accepted for a journal special issue on Accumulation, State Legitimacy and Cities of Spectacle in ‘Emerging’ Economies

Earlier last week, it was a great pleasure to receive the final acceptance letter from the special features editor of the Urban Geography journal with regard to a proposal to pursue a special issue on Accumulation, State Legitimacy and Cities of Spectacle in ‘Emerging’ Economies. I will be guest editing this with Andy Thornley in my department. The special issue aims to bring together original research papers to examine  mega-events in some of the major emerging economies that have hosted, or are hosting, major international mega-events. The special issue is one of the endeavours that emanate from the earlier session organisation at the RGS-IBG annual conference in the summer of 2013.

I am very happy to see the great line-up of colleagues from around the world. These include Anne-Marie Broudehoux (University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada), Elena Trubina (Ural Federation University, Russia), Xun Li, Yi Liu and Jigang Bao (Sun Yat-sen University, China) and Astrid Wood (University College London, UK), who will be discussing the experiences of Rio de Janeiro, Sochi, Guangzhou and Cape Town respectively.

In order to build upon existing scholarship discussing the role of mega-events as societal spectacles, contributors are purposefully brought together to create a dialogue about the use of mega-events as a means to address both accumulation needs and social stability. Consideration is given to the historicity of urban development and political economic contexts within each host nation. Contributors are asked to pay attention in particular to the issues of state legitimacy and governance in their emerging country context and to tease out differences with more developed countries.

Papers are aimed to be submitted to the journal for peer review from around May 2014. More updates to follow as progress is made.