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What Drives the Rise of Metro Developments in China? Evidence from Nantong

Shutian Zhou (), Guofang Zhai () and Yijun Shi ()
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Shutian Zhou: School of Architecture and Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Guofang Zhai: School of Architecture and Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Yijun Shi: School of Architecture and Planning, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 8, 1-20

Abstract: This paper addresses to the rapid rise of metro developments in Chinese cities to reconsider the official justifications of such mega-projects and the underlying driving forces behind proposal and approval processes. Qualitative approaches were undertaken in this in-depth case study of Nantong’s metro project, through insights into planning documents and evidences gathered from interviews, together with relevant socioeconomic data. Our research findings reveal four major motivations to develop metro projects in China: the city’s expected improvements through the metro system, the local economic power as the essential requirement and source of confidence for project development, the inter-city competition as an invisible factor driving project proposals, and the changing domestic political economy as the direct cause of its approval. As a topic that is frequently studied in the relevant literature and often advocated by metro projects promoters, the local expected achievements in terms of modal shift to public transport, transit-oriented development, economic growth, and tax maximisation are highlighted in this case study. Additionally, in China, inter-city competition and economic-political reasons involved in initiating, promoting, and approving urban mega-projects are also vital to the whole process.

Keywords: project motivations; metro project; urban mega-project; qualitative methods; China (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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