New Approaches to Local and Regional Development in the UK and China

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Geography Politics and Sociology

Abstract

Both the UK (and EU) and China are characterised by wide spatial disparities. Policy makers in the UK (and EU) and China are seeking to develop new ways of understanding the role of such spatial inequalities in the process of economic growth and to develop appropriate public policies and have committed themselves to achieving more spatially balanced forms of economic development. Despite these common concerns there has been no attempt to date to examine in these issues in a UK/China comparative context. This proposed project will take the form of two seminars to be held in the UK and China which will bring together leading researchers to address these questions. The researchers in question are working closely with their respective governments (and international organisations) on these questions and it is intended these deliberations will directly inform policy-makers, including the China State Council and National Development and Reform Commission and HM Treasury, Department of Business Innovation and Skills and Deaprtament of Communities and Local Government. The project builds on and deepens evolving research links between two institutions: the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University and the Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy, Academy of Macroeconomy, National Development and Reform Commission, Beijing. It is intended to publish papers from the seminars in a special of an international peer-reviewed journal and in book form in Chinese.

Planned Impact

It is intended that the findings of this project are fed directly to national, regional and local policy-makers concerned with regional policy. In both the UK (and EU) and in China policymakers are reshaping public policy in this field. Questions of economic geography and the spatial rebalancing of national economies have gained increased political prominence. In each jurisdiction policymakers are developing new understandings of the causes and appropriate responses to geographical inequalities. To date, however, there has been no attempt to exchange knowledge in this field. The proposed partnership is uniquely placed to have maximum impact in this respect. The seminars will involve academic and government researchers who are shaping policy in this field at the highest level. As a government research agency ISPRE is able to disseminate the results of the seminar directly the State Council, while in the UK we will use the networks of the ESRC-sponsored UK Spatial Economics Research Centre to disseminate the findings directly to policy makers in national government departments such as HM Treasury, Department of Business Innovation and Skills and Department of Communities and Local Government. At the European level, the findings will be presented directly to the EU's Mirror Group advising the Platform established by the European Commission's Directorate General for Regional Policy to support regions preparing and implementing Smart Specialisation Strategies. The Directorate General for Regional Policy currently is developing a programme of policy exchanges with BRIC countries on the topic of regional policy and the proposed seminars would contribute to this programme.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description First, research and evidence has been exchanged on the theme of spatial disparities and policy responses in the UK, EU and China at each of the 6 events described above. Key findings from this cross-national dialogue included: the divergence in approach between policymakers in Britain and China and the different ways in which people and place-based approaches are being handled and integrated; the shifting scales of policy responses to spatial disparity focused upon rebalancing regional development at the sub-national (super-provincial level) regional level, paying no attention to sub-provincial regional disparity, which has led to the significant widening of gaps between regions at this level in China, and changing from regionalism to localism in England in the UK context; and the central importance of governance and institutional arrangements in addressing and underpinning approaches to spatial disparities and policy. Demand for participation in the seminars has been very strong. The feedback from participants at each of the seminar events has been overwhelmingly positive. Key positive points included the importance of seminar series to underpin cross-national research and dialogue around common issues, raising awareness of current conceptual and theoretical approaches to empirical work, and engagement between academics and policymakers.

Second, the academic researchers have engaged and impacted upon policymakers in the UK and China through the seminar events. Policymakers in China have benefitted from increased awareness of new concepts and theories of local and regional development, new approaches to governance and institutional arrangements and the importance of continuity and stability in long-term strategies. Policymakers in the UK have learnt about the importance of long term plans and frameworks for development, balanced and integrated economic and spatial planning, and connecting infrastructure financing and development.

Third, the emerging international research network on this topic has been further developed and consolidated by the seminar series, facilitating and nurturing the relationships between individuals and institutions in the UK and China. The network developed through the project has also triggered research collaborations. Academic researchers from the UK and China have identified many common interests in spatial disparities and policy responses to be explored in further research grants. Joint applications for research have been developed and some have been successful and funds were secured. CURDS has a Memorandum of Understanding for a joint research centre for research in this area with Shanghai Jiaotong University. In addition, the openness of the seminar series to postgraduate students has stimulated research development and relationships between the UK and China in this area. CURDS has developed and is launching a new MA Regional Development and Spatial Planning in 20114-15 to further this agenda. Partnership Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with several of the partners in the seminar series including Shanghai Jiaotong University.

Fourth, given the cross-national nature of the seminar series and its underpinning international network, some publication outputs have been produced by individuals involved in the network and for further development several collaborative joint publications are planned and in progress.
Exploitation Route A series of publications are in preparation arising from materials presented at the university. These include a paper for Urban Studies and a contribution to Progress in Planning. Members of the research network are participants in a NOK 6 million (approx. £700k) proposal to the Norwegian Research Council for a comparative Europe-China study of regional disparities. Building upon a recent research project undertaken by CURDS for the Henan Provincial Government Development and Reform Commission, a further project is being developed focusing on sub-regional disparities and policy.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

 
Description The outcomes of the seminar series are encouraging, promising and in progress. First, a co-authored paper targeted at the journal Progress in Planning being drafted, with a submission target in early 2014. Second, one of the co-ordinators of the project Dr Xuefeng Wang has been invited to join ISPRE for the application for National Social Science Fund of China on a proposed research project for preparation of the 13th Five-Year Social and Economic Development Plan, which is seen as a master plan for China's development policy published every five years. Third, a paper titled Place-based approaches to regional development: global trends and Chinese implications co-authored by professor John Tomaney and Dr Xuefeng Wang, and a paper titled City-region: a way for China's urbanisation written by Dr Xuefeng Wang were selected as book chapters by Shanghai Jiaotong University for their annual book series of China metropolitan regional development, which itself is funded by China's national project called "985" programme. Fourth, Professor Andy Pike has been appointed as a distinguished guest professor by East China Normal University, Shanghai, and Dr Xuefeng Wang's paper Transferable Lessons from British New Towns Movement to China's Rapid Urban Expansion has been included as part of China's National Key research project for preventing and tackling urban problems during the rapid urbanisation in China, which is funded by the national Ministry of Education of China. Fifth, Professors John Tomaney and Andy Pike and Dr Xuefeng Wang have been invited to be Visiting Professors to ISPRE. Sixth, Professor Andy Pike was invited and funded to give a keynote speech to China's Regional Science Association (RSAC) annual conference in Tianjin, October 2013. The RSAC is based in Peking University and led by a Chinese leading economic geographer, the vice-president of Peking University. RSCA has 3000 members mainly from Chinese higher education institutions and governments' arms-length research organisations and think-tanks. By taking the advantages of the funded trip, Dr Xuefeng Wang was also invited to give several lectures to PG students in Peking University, Nanjing University, China North West University, and Wuhan University. Seventh, RSCA has also proposed to collaborate with CURDS on its newly launched postgraduate programme MA Regional Development and Spatial Planning.
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

 
Description Research seminars involving national, provincial and local government officials as well as MA and PhD students.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
 
Description The Review of Urbanisation and Regional Development in Henan Province Report influencing Provincial and National Chinese Government strategies.
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact The final report served as the theoretical base for the province to campaign for the China National Priority of Regional Development Programme: Developing the Central China Economic Region. The campaign was successfully received and the Chinese central government - State Council - announced a national plan called Support to the Development of Central China Economic Region.
 
Description Collaboration on research project (Review of the State of Research on the "One Belt and One Road" Initiative) 
Organisation Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research project (Review of the State of Research on the "One Belt and One Road" Initiative) led by Professor Shougui Luo from Shanghai Jiaotong University. The project was funded by the Ministry of Education, China, and we are discussing to extended the project late this year.
Collaborator Contribution Research collaboration.
Impact In process.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Daxia (Great China) Guest Professor, 
Organisation East China Normal University (ECNU)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A special workshop was organized at the 3rd International Conference on 'China Urban Development ? Urbanization and Urban Transformation' in Shanghai 5-7 June 2015. The conference was a partnership event jointly organised by East China Normal University, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, and the Geographical Society of China. The Workshop was co-organised by CURDS and the Research Centre for Metropolitan Regional Development, Shanghai Jiaotong University. Participants included academics from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China, and local policymakers and practitioners from Shanghai. A delegation was hosted by CURDS from Shanghai University of Engineering Science on 29 October 2015 to discuss the articulation arrangement for CURDS PGT programmes. Students and staff were made aware of CURDS PG programmes. Xuefeng Wang is collaborating with the Shanghai University of Engineering Science in the research project funded by the China Social Science Council to study the governance of rapidly growing extra-mega city-regions in China
Collaborator Contribution A special workshop was organized at the 3rd International Conference on 'China Urban Development ? Urbanization and Urban Transformation' in Shanghai 5-7 June 2015. The conference was a partnership event jointly organised by East China Normal University, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, and the Geographical Society of China. The Workshop was co-organised by CURDS and the Research Centre for Metropolitan Regional Development, Shanghai Jiaotong University. Participants included academics from Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China, and local policymakers and practitioners from Shanghai. A delegation visited CURDS from Shanghai University of Engineering Science on 29 October 2015 to discuss the articulation arrangement for CURDS PGT programmes. Xuefeng Wang was invited to collaborate with the Shanghai University of Engineering Science in the research project funded by the China Social Science Council to study the governance of rapidly growing extra-mega city-regions in China
Impact A special workshop at an International Conference A delegation from Shanghai visited CURDS to discuss the articulation arrangement for CURDS PGT programmes Students and staff from Shanghai are aware of CURDS PG programmes Xuefeng Wang has been invited to undertake further collaboration.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Prof. Pike, Prof. MacKinnon and Dr. Wang were invited to become Visiting Professors by the Institute for the Development of Central China (IDCC), Wuhan University. This is a policy focused research institute funded by National Development and Reform Commission, China 
Organisation Wuhan University
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Visiting Professors at the Institute for the Development of Central China (IDCC), Wuhan University. This is a policy focused research institute funded by National Development and Reform Commission, China.
Collaborator Contribution Hosted the Visiting Professorships.
Impact In process.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Special Researcher, Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy (ISPRE), 
Organisation Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy (ISPRE), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Andy Pike, Danny MacKinnon, and Xuefeng Wang are special researchers in China National Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy, the key think-tank for China's regional policymaking.Xuefeng Wang from CURDS was invited to give a presentation to the plenary session at the Central China Regional Development Forum in Zhengzhou, October 2014. The Forum was organized by the Institute for Central China Development, Wuhan University, and sponsored by China National Development and Reform Commission of which the Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy (ISPRE).
Collaborator Contribution Andy Pike, Danny MacKinnon, and Xuefeng Wang were appointed as special researchers in China National Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy, the key think-tank for China's regional policymaking. Xuefeng Wang from CURDS was invited to give a presentation to the plenary session at the Central China Regional Development Forum in Zhengzhou, October 2014. The Forum was organized by the Institute for Central China Development, Wuhan University, and sponsored by China National Development and Reform Commission to which the Institute of Spatial Planning and Regional Economy (ISPRE) belongs.
Impact CURDS Academics appointed as Special Researchers Presentation from CURDS at the Central China Regional development Forum
Start Year 2014
 
Description Branding Spaces and Places, Shanghai University of Engineering Sciences, Shanghai 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Presentation followed by useful discussion and the opportunity to build networks with international peers.

Building networks and increasing audience for space and place branding work in China.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Space and Place Branding, Daixa Forum Guest Lecture, East China Normal University, Shanghai 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Lecture followed by useful discussion and the opportunity to build networks with peers in China.

Building networks and increasing audience for space and place branding in China.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014