C5: China Research Cluster

Team Lead:

Fulong Wu (University College London)

Team Members:

Zhigang Li (Wuhan University)
Jie Shen (Fudan University)

Research Context, Methods and Goals:

The Chinese suburbanism project will cover the following topics: 1) the emergence of suburban governance in China (including the transformation from entrepreneurial suburban growth to a new metropolitan form – governance challenges, advancement to suburban new towns, and administrative annexation); this is mainly achieved through literature review and earlier work on suburban development in China and 15 semi-structured interviews in Shanghai and Guangzhou; 2) FlexSpace of Shanghai and Guangzhou: examining new spatial elements e.g. high-tech parks, development zones, gated communities, and migrant villages to understand new conditions that lead to a new metropolitan structure, including polycentric urban forms and new towns; this is conducted through fieldwork in these two cities; 3) suburban life styles and suburbanism as a way of life: focusing on the presentation and image making of suburban lives, marketing and landscapes of suburban amenities and gated residential forms, low-rise vs high-rise suburbanism; the topic is explored through site-visits and production of photo archives and assistance to National Film Board to make a documentary of Shanghai’s suburbs; 4) rural migrants and new urban immigrants: investigation of migrant villages and immigrants enclaves, large affordable housing estates and their governance, residential preference and constraints for the local and new migrants; social inequalities and social interactions and implication for neighbourhoods. This research is conducted through fieldwork and questionnaires.


The MCRI International Forum on Global Suburbanisms was held May 9 to 11, 2015 in Shanghai, China. The conference program can be downloaded here.

A special issue on Global Suburbanism has also been published in Urban Planning International, a national academic journal that covers urban planning theory and practice in China. The special issues features work on governance by Roger Keil and Pierre Hamel, postcolonial suburbs by Ananya Roy, Chinese suburban development by Fulong Wu and Jie Shen, among others. Click here to access the issue.

Conference and Workshop Presentations

Publications and Other Dissemination