Plans and projects for the Central
Plains of China:
New forms of extended urbanisation in Zhengzhou metropolitan region
In Transactions in Planning and Urban Research 2023, Vol. 2(1), pp. 37–52
Ramondetti, L. (2023). Plans and projects for the Central Plains of China: New forms of extended urbanisation in Zhengzhou metropolitan region. Transactions in Planning and Urban Research, 2(1), 35-52.
This paper is part of the special issue: Metropolitan development and city-regional governance in China edited by Fangzhu Zhang, Fulong Wu and Weikai Wang
Since the early 2000s, China has seen unprecedented urban growth which has spread to every corner of the country. This process has been anything but linear. Driven by the urban entrepreneurialism of the major municipalities until the mid-2000s, the reins have since passed to the central and regional administrations which plan development in a more comprehensive and coordinated fashion. This paper discusses how this turning point in urban policies has redirected planning activities: from the centripetal development of the major cities through new towns to centrifugal urbanisation fostering regional integration via wide-area projects and small-scale interventions. This is evident in the inland regions, which have become the testing grounds for new policies, governmental practices, and forms of spatial development. Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, is a case in point: once the epitome of urban entrepreneurialism policies in action, this metropolitan region is now the target of national plans and local initiatives to drive the Central Plains agglomeration. In addition to changes in its governance, this shift has also transformed planning activities, and so too the spatial features of this emerging urbanity. By investigating the changes in policies and plans, this contribution sheds light on the salient features of this metropolitan development, revealing the features of the emerging extended urbanisation in China, as well as continuities and ruptures with previous urban trends.