Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (8): 1548-1562.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201908005

• Urban and Industrial Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Production of space and developmental logic of New Urban Districts in China

ZHUANG Liang1,YE Chao1,MA Wei2,ZHAO Biao3,HU Senlin3   

  1. 1. School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    2. College of Geography and Tourism, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China
    3. School of Urban and Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • Received:2018-05-28 Revised:2019-05-08 Online:2019-08-25 Published:2019-08-07
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41571138);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871143)


New Urban Districts (NUDs) are the important spatial carriers of urbanization. Since the reform and opening up in China, NUD has been playing a more and more crucial role in the process of urbanization, and has undergone a surging growth in recent years. NUDs in China are unique because of the most widespread 'building city' movement. Many researches focus on new districts or new towns in the broad sense, but little research has been done in a narrow sense in academia. The development of comprehensive NUDs will be of great significance to the sustainable transformation of China's cities in the future. Based on the critical theory of spatial production, this paper examines the spatiotemporal evolution and internal logic of NUDs. The establishment and development of NUDs is a rapid and trinity dialectical process of spatial production: representations of space is guided by the top-down governmental power; spatial practice is reflected in the hierarchical and regional difference of spatial elements, such as type, pattern, distance and area of NUDs; spaces of representation are the tensions between governmental power and urban development rights, as well as the countermeasure mechanism. In this trinity dialectical process, the extensibility of spatiotemporal sequences ensures the unity and continuity of spatial production or reproduction of NUDs. However, under the governmentoriented model, NUDs are also facing a series of challenges like the management coordination of administrative area and the increasing unbalanced regional development. Thus, it is time to keep a critical thinking and reinterpretation for the development of NUDs in China, which should be a key concern to achieve balanced regional development and new-type urbanization in the new era.

Key words: new town/district, urbanization, production of space, ternary dialectic, administrative division, sustainable development