Tag Archives: economic development

Local accounts of high-speed rail reform in China

Speelman, Tabitha. (2015) A bullet train or a paved road? Local accounts of high-speed rail reform in China. The Newsletter, International Institute for Asian Studies, 70 (Spring 2015). URL : http://www.iias.nl/the-newsletter/article/bullet-train-or-paved-road-local-accounts-high-speed-rail-reform-china?utm_source=emailcampaign346&utm_medium=phpList&utm_content=HTMLemail&utm_campaign=%5BIIAS%5D+The+Newsletter+|+No.+70+|+Spring+2015f
The first Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) connection opened in 2007, but by the end of 2013 the country had over 12,000 km of high-speed tracks (the biggest network in the world and about half of all HSR tracks in operation worldwide). Service levels among China’s high-speed trains are high; passengers play games on their phones and consume luxury foodstuff s sold on board, as they near their destination at 300 km/h. The perfectly air-conditioned, mostly quiet HSR environment stands in stark contrast to the bustling carriages of regular Chinese trains, in which passengers chat over card games and share life stories, eating instant noodles and sunflower seeds (not for sale on HSR). Influencing traveling cultures is only one of many ways in which the construction of the world’s most advanced highspeed railroad (HSR) network is changing China, a country in which access to travel is closely tied to socio-economic development. So far, scholarly attention has been limited, but whether it is the economic impact of HSR on remote regions, emerging forms of tourism, or the nostalgia surrounding the disappearing slow trains, the approach of the HSR era in China brings with it many topics worthy of further research.


Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Keys to the city

Storper, Michael (2013) Keys to the city : how economics, institutions, social interaction, and politics shape development. Princeton University Press. 288 p. ISBN: 9781400846269

Why do some cities grow economically while others decline? Why do some show sustained economic performance while others cycle up and down? In Keys to the City, Michael Storper, one of the world’s leading economic geographers, looks at why we should consider economic development issues within a regional context–at the level of the city-region–and why urban economies develop unequally. Storper identifies four contexts that shape urban economic development: economic, institutional, innovational, interactional, and political. The book explores how these contexts operate and how they interact, leading to developmental success in some regions and failure in others. Demonstrating that the global economy is increasingly driven by its major cities, the keys to the city are the keys to global development. In his conclusion, Storper specifies eight rules of economic development targeted at policymakers. Keys to the City explains why economists, sociologists, and political scientists should take geography seriously.

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Understanding urban hyperdevelopment in contemporary China

Driven by complex economic and political conditions, the explosive growth of China’s cities has dramatic implications for urban planning, urban form, economic development, the environment, state-society relations, and China’s role in the world. At this conference, invited scholars from the United States and around the world will examine the sources, processes, and consequences of urban development in China.

Topics for presentations and discussion may include: • Control over land, property development, and rents • Decision-making processes related to urban planning • Infrastructure investments and transportation • Environmental consequences • Impact on architectural design and urban form • Community mobilization related to planning decisions • Consumption patterns and impact of urbanization on economic growth • Legal and socioeconomic status of migrant workers • Emergence of China’s global cities • Changing local government institutions

Invited speakers will give presentations as part of several thematic panels, and significant opportunity for questions and discussion will be built into the schedule. There will also be student participation, for which students will prepare in a graduate class on contemporary Chinese urban development.


  • University at Buffalo, State University of New York, South Campus, Crosby hall


  • April 19, 2013


  • 5:30 p.m.


  • Free


  • Co-sponsorsed by the Confucius Institute and Asian Studies

Web site

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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