Emerging Third Stage Peri-Urbanization: Functional Specialization in the Hangzhou Peri-Urban Region

Working Papers

Published By

Shorenstein APARC, page(s): 50

October 2003

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Hangzhou Municipality is the provincial capital of Zhejiang, on China's east coast. It forms part of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region. Hangzhou was "opened up" in the mid-1980s, following Deng Xiaoping;s visit to the South, resulting in an almost immediate flood of foreign and domestic investment in manufacturing. This initial investment was significantly in the peri-urban areas, i.e., outside the built-up area. The authors have been following development in the Hangzhou extended urban region, with emphasis on peri-urbanization processes, since 2000. A previous Shorenstein APARC discussion paper describes findings of preliminary field research on the Hangzhou-Ningbo Corridor, conducted in August 2000 and March 2001. The present paper zooms in on two peri-urban clusters in the Hangzhou extended urban region, and assesses their development over time. The goal of the research is to better understand how a peri-urban region changes - particularly in terms of firm evolution, labor characteristics, and spatial dynamics - as it becomes more economically and demographically mature. This paper also examines such changes in the context of the increasing cost structures and emerging competitors, primarily from other areas in China, that the Hangzhou peri-urban region now faces.

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