The Pearl River Delta in Progressive Transformation

Part of the Advances in Asian Human-Environmental Research book series (AAHER)


This introduction gives an outline of the book and explains the context the developments happen in. It sets out to define the notion of “maturing megacities” and stresses why the selected topics are of major relevance for the Pearl River Delta. It explains the thematic focus on projects that deal with the redevelopment, restructuring, and reuse of parts of the urban cores that have already been in use or still are and consist mainly of already built-up areas. This focus allows for a more profound analysis of the evolving strategies of dealing with one of the major challenges of southern Chinese maturing mega-urban regions. The challenges of a combination of changes in market value, functional loss, and physical neglect and the search for appropriate ways to overcome it are outlined here. The chapter sketches crucial background developments in the context of political, socioeconomic, and physical restructuring. It introduces the two major case studies, the cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen and the crucial experimental modes of governance that accompany the ongoing reform process.


Maturing megacity Maturing megacities Urban governance Pearl River Delta Urban upgrading Urban regeneration 


  1. Altrock U, Schoon S (2009) The governance of urban regeneration in Southern China. In: Conference paper, AESOP conference, AESOP, Liverpool, July 2009Google Scholar
  2. Altrock U, Schoon S (2011) The governance of urban upgrading in Southern China—the example of urbanized villages. DISP 187(4/2011):37–48Google Scholar
  3. Altrock U, Schoon S (2013) Urban villages as local economic clusters: the case of Zhongda cloth market in Guangzhou. In: Wu FL, Zhang FZ, Webster C (eds) Rural migrants in urban China. Enclaves and transient urbanism. Routledge, AbingdonGoogle Scholar
  4. Amnesty International (ed) (2012) Standing their ground. Thousands face violent eviction in China. Amnesty International Report ASA 17/001/2012, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. China National Development and Reform Commission (2008) The outline of the plan for the reform and development of the Pearl River Delta (2008–2020). Government Logistics, Hong KongGoogle Scholar
  6. Chua BH (2000) Consumption in Asia—lifestyles and identities. Routledge, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Eng I (1997) The rise of manufacturing towns: externally driven industrialization and urban development in the Pearl River Delta of China. Int J Urban Reg Res 21:554–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Friedmann J (2005) China’s urban transition. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis/LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Goodmann DS (ed) (2008) The new rich in China—future rulers—present lives. Routledge, London/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Hall P, Pfeiffer U (2000) Urban future 21. A global agenda for twenty-first century cities. E & FN Spon, LondonGoogle Scholar
  11. He SJ, Wu FL (2005) Property-led redevelopment in post-reform China: a case study of Xintiandi redevelopment project in Shanghai. J Urban Aff 27(1):1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Heinrichs D, Kuhlicke C, Meyer V, Hansjürgens B (2009) Mehr als nur Bevölkerung: Größe, Geschwindigkeit und Komplexität als Herausforderung für die Steuerung Megastädten. In: Altrock U, Kunze R, Pahl-Weber E, Schubert D (eds) Jahrbuch Stadterneuerung. TU Berlin, Berlin, pp 47–57Google Scholar
  13. Hsing YT (2010) The great urban transformation. Politics of land and property in China. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ipsen D, Li YN, Weichler H (eds) (2005) The genesis of urban landscape. The Pearl River Delta in South China. Kassel University Press, KasselGoogle Scholar
  15. Kuhn R (2009a) Guangdong: reenvisioning Guangzhou [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 12 Apr 2010 from
  16. Kuhn R (2009b) Guangdong visions: a talk with Wang Yang [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 12 Apr 2010 from
  17. Kuhn R (2009c) Guangdong visions: forging China’s future [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 12 Apr 2010 from
  18. Kuhn R (2009d) Guangdong visions: responding to the crisis [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 12 Apr 2010 from
  19. Kuhn R (2009e) Guangdong visions: the way forward [Electronic Version]. Retrieved 12 Apr 2010 from
  20. Lange H, Meier L (eds) (2009) The new middle classes—globalizing lifestyles, consumerism and environmental concern. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  21. Liang S (2012) Remaking China’s great cities. Space and culture in urban housing, renewal, and expansion (Asia’s transformations). Routledge, New York/LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Ma LC, Wu FL (2005) Restructuring the Chinese city. Changing society, economy and space. Routledge, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McGee TG, Lin CS, Marton AM, Wang M, Wu JP (2007) China’s urban space. Development under market socialism. ACQUIRE [electronic resource] Central Queensland University Institutional Repository. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Schoon S (2011) The power of conceded informality. Experimental modes of urban restructuring. Conference paper. In: International conference on urban and regional development in the 21st century and Lingnan Forum, Guangzhou, December 2011Google Scholar
  25. Schoon S (2012) Niche authority in urbanized villages. Bottom-up co-determination of megacity development. In: Perera N, Tang WS (eds) Transforming Asian Cities: intellectual impasse, Asianizing space, and emerging trans-localities. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Schoon S, Altrock U (2013) ‘Three Olds Redevelopment’ in Guangzhou. In: Wu FL, Zhang FZ, Webster C (eds) Rural migrants in urban China. Enclaves and transient urbanism. Routledge, AbingdonGoogle Scholar
  27. Sit VFS, Yang C (1997) Foreign-investment-induced exo-urbanisation in the Pearl River Delta. China. Urban Stud 34:647–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sorensen A, Okata J (2011) Megacities. Urban form, governance and sustainability. Springer, Tokyo/New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Wei DY, Li W, Wang C (2007) Restructuring industrial districts, scaling up regional development: a study of the Wenzhou model, China. Econ Geogr 83(4):421–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wu FL, Zhang FZ (2008) Planning the Chinese city. Governance and development in the midst of transition. University Press, LiverpoolGoogle Scholar
  31. Wu FL, Zhang FZ (2009) Urban transition in China. Regional economies in a globalising world. Institute of Welsh Affairs, Cardiff, pp 30–45Google Scholar
  32. Wu FL, Xu J, Yeh AGO (2007) Urban development in post-reform China. State, market, and space. Routledge, New York/LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Yang YR, Chang CH (2007) An urban regeneration regime in China: a case study of urban redevelopment in Shanghai’s Taipingqiao area. Urban Stud 44(9):1809–1826CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Yusuf S, Saich T (eds) (2008) China urbanizes. Consequences, strategies, and policies. World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  35. Zheng YT (2009) China’s mega-urban regions. Spatial restructuring as global manufacturing platforms. VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, SaarbrückenGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Architecture, Urban Planning and Landscape Planning, Department of Urban Regeneration and RenewalUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

Personalised recommendations