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Urban China Series Featuring Li Zhigang: China’s New Experiments of Urban Neighborhood Governance

October 3, 2023 @ 8:30 am 10:00 am

Speaker: Li Zhigang, Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, School of Urban Design, Wuhan University, China

***This talk will be in Mandarin***

China faces significant challenges in neighborhood governance, particularly in old and dilapidated neighborhoods (老旧社区). In this context, some new and experimental approaches to neighborhood governance have emerged. This talk focuses on three representative cases: Jinsong in Beijing, and Huajin and Xima in Wuhan. I argue that the governance restructuring in these communities has been experimental and has been driven primarily by grassroots governments. Their objectives include addressing the service and resource deficiencies faced by residents and bolstering the influence of the CCP at the grassroots level. By using a variety of approaches to integrate both market and social forces, the state has articulated the new concept of a ‘complete community’. In essence, these experiments epitomize ‘state entrepreneurism’, which on one hand stresses the capitalization of space and on the other, advocates for the socialization of capital.

Li Zhigang is a professor of urban studies and planning at the School of Urban Design, Wuhan University, China. He also serves as the dean of this school. Before 2015, Prof Li worked at the School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China. As an urban scholar, geographer, and planner, Professor Li works on the socio-spatial transformation of urban China, with a focus on such topics as neighbourhoods, migration, health, and related planning issues. His recent work concentrates on the effects of China’s neighbourhood transformation and related planning as well as governance issues. Professor Li is serving as the editor of some top journals such as the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Studies, etc.. He has been the principal investigator of five research projects funded by China’s NFC, including one Excellent Youth Foundation. Prof Li has been awarded China’s ‘National Award for Young Geographers’ and ‘National Award for Young Planners’.

We would like to thank the MIT Sustainable Urbanization Lab, the Ashoka University Centre for China Studies, the University of British Columbia’s School of Community and Regional Planning, the University at Buffalo (SUNY), and the Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies for supporting this event. Please subscribe to our mailing list if you’d like to receive e-mail notifications: http://mailman.mit.edu/mailman/listinfo/urbanchinaseminar.

Zoom Meeting Link: https://mit.zoom.us/j/7060207759


October 3, 2023
8:30 am – 10:00 am
Event Category:


Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies


Presented via Zoom

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