Local government-directed urbanization in china: A case study of hebi, henan province

Guanwen Yin, Yungang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is widely known that industrialization and the development of tertiary industries are the major driving forces of urbanization. In contrast the impact of PR China's governments at various administrative levels on urban change is significant In the postreform era especially, the impact of local government has become far more direct than that of the central government in terms of urbanization. Hebi, a mining city in Henan province, central China, was studied to investigate the new type of urbanization directed by local government As a mining city, Hebi has been threatened by environmental problems caused by mining resource consumption. Accordingly, a new city center was built to attract new enterprises. Through intensive interviews as well as fieldwork during 2007-2010, we examined the role the local government has played in urbanization, the mechanisms and processes of change, and the resultant impacts on the city. Of the major institutional tools, infrastructure construction, enterprise attraction, and relocation of the population have been successfully implemented by the local government With the establishment of new enterprises, the local economy has diversified, although the coal mining industry is still a major component of Hebi's economy. Moreover, the city image and living conditions have improved. Nevertheless, the creation of the new city center has encountered two problems. First, since there is a limited number of new enterprises, the new city has not become an engine of growth for Hebi. Second, since financial resources are limited, living conditions have worsened in the old urban areas of Hebi. As this study showed, the local government constructed a new urban space through administrative methods, which powerfully shaped the direction of Hebi's development during the postreform era The role of the local government is direct and forceful in new space production and place-making. This suggests that institutional forces have marked effects on urbanization in China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-188
Number of pages16
JournalGeographical Review of Japan, Series B
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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