Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (12): 3090-3103.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202212010

• Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Geography and international development studies: China's opportunity

CHENG Han1(), LIU Weidong1,2()   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2022-06-08 Revised:2022-11-06 Online:2022-12-25 Published:2022-12-29
  • Contact: LIU Weidong;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42201189);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42171180);The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research(2019QZKK1007)


International Development Studies refers to the study of the localization process of development experience and knowledge of relatively developed countries in developing countries, and is a classic topic of Western geographic research. This paper reviews and summarizes the disciplinary development of International Development Studies since the mid-20th century, including the background and process of its emergence, and its current disciplinary pattern. It also systematically discusses four phases of evolution in international development knowledge, including the modernization theory phase (1950s-1970s), the neoliberal phase (1980s-1990s), the neo-structural phase (2000s), and the new modernization theory phase (2010s-present). Drawing on the Western experience and considering the current rise of China, we suggest that China has reached a new stage when it needs to provide international development knowledge to developing countries and should actively promote the study of International Development Geography. In relation to the requirement of constructing the Belt and Road Initiative towards a new stage of high-quality development, and based on the disciplinary advantages of geographic research, we propose four directions of future research in International Development Geography, including China's regional development experience and spatial governance model, the modernization geography of developing countries, case studies of major overseas projects of the Belt and Road construction, and the geography of international development financing.

Key words: international development geography, spatio-temporal genealogy of knowledge, Belt and Road Initiative, inclusive globalization, China