Shifting land-based coalitions in Shanghai’s second hub
Hongqiao is one of China's largest ever urban development projects, and within Shanghai second only to Pudong. It is designed to kick-start growth in the western part of China's economic capital, just as Pudong did in the east. The project comprises a transport hub and a new central business district and involves the participation of an array of organizations, including government at various levels, specially created bodies, property developers and banks. The central argument of this paper is that these organizations formed what can best be conceived of as a government-led land-based urban growth coalition and that this coalition became the driving force behind the Hongqiao project. It further argues that, rather than being one monolithic coalition, this was a shifting constellation of corporate actors, forming informal subcoalitions with different but interlocking roles and functions. The paper concludes by arguing that land-based urban growth coalitions rely on participants benefitting from rising land and property values once land has been developed, but for this debt financing is required, and this comes with its own substantial problems. The concept of land-based urban growth coalition can be useful in helping to interpret urban change in China so long as the coalition is examined in some detail.
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