Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (2): 253-265.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201902004

• Population and Urban Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

State rescaling of the urban development in Hong Kong after the reunification: A case study of the planning process of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link

XU Zhihua(),LIU Kaizhi   

  1. Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 999077, China
  • Received:2017-08-16 Online:2019-02-25 Published:2019-01-29
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41671169


In the era of globalization, the urban question is increasingly being posed in the form of a scale question. Scale theory provides a new perspective for analyzing various dynamics and their influences on urban development. After the reunification, how the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) interacts with the actors at various scales and carries out state rescaling are the key to exploring the issue of urban development and governance in Hong Kong. This paper examines the entire planning process of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, from project conception, design, to consultation and fund application, to identify the actors at different scales involved in the process, and analyze the modes and consequences of their interaction. This study shows that after the reunification, Hong Kong SAR Government takes the initiative to scale up to expand its hinterland. Intergovernmental institutional cooperation is an important mode of state rescaling for Hong Kong SAR government. Meanwhile, the gradually growing civil society plays an important role in the rescaling of urban development. Local actors use scalar politics to construct discourses and take actions at multiple scales to challenge the government's proposal and trigger a discussion on the project throughout the Hong Kong society. The case study of Hong Kong can deepen the understanding of state rescaling of territorial organizations in the context of institutional transformation and enrich the theoretical connotation of state rescaling. It also helps the central government to better understand the case of Hong Kong and formulate appropriate policies towards it. In addition, as the civil society has gradually emerged in the mainland, the experience and lessons from the interaction between the Hong Kong SAR government and the Hong Kong civil society in this case provide a reference for the central government.

Key words: Hong Kong, state rescaling, scalar politics, Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, urban governance