Financialization and the development of university towns in China

Authors: Jie Shen*, , Xiang Luo, Shanghai Pudong Planning and Design Institute, Deyi Kong, Tongji University
Topics: Urban Geography, China
Keywords: University-led development; China; Shanghai
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 0, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


China’s recent round of suburban development features the widespread development of university towns. It is estimated there were more than 60 college town projects in 2012. Existing literature highlights local governments as the key driver of university towns. However, the role of the universities has long been underplayed, as if they are merely instrumental anchors. Based on a detailed case study of Shanghai, this study argues that the financialization of universities play a key role in the widespread development of university towns. The paper first discusses the changes in university governance led by a series of higher education reforms after the 1997 Asian financial crisis. It then focuses on the development of suburban university towns in Shanghai in terms of the extent and modes of financialization, as well as the final bailouts of the universities. Finally, the paper concludes by explicating its contribution to the understanding of financializaiton in urban development in China.

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