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Shrinking cities and resource-based economy

Sylvia Y. He

Resource-based cities play a crucial role in China's economic development. However, they are faced with the challenge of urban shrinkage due to the slowdown of economic growth in China, single industrial structure and the ‘boom and bust’ industrial cycle. To reverse the expected decline of these cities in the future, the Chinese Government has implemented active policies at national, provincial and municipal levels. This paper reviews the current planning policies and practices in resource-based cities in China from the macro perspective, and analyses how the Government engages with the pressing economic problems faced by resource-based cities, in particular, focussing on economic restructuring. To further analyse the policies from Central Government and the diversification of practices in local contexts, this paper presents two case studies, a petroleum mining city (Daqing City) and a coal mining city (Pingxiang City). Through discussion and an evaluation of general and place-based policies and practices for resource-based cities, this paper aims to enhance the understanding of shrinking cities in China and shed light on the policy-making of economic development for other resource-based cities in developing countries. This project is funded by Direct Grant #SS13792 from CUHK Faculty of Social Science.

He S.Y., Lee J., Zhou T., and Wu D. (2017). Shrinking cities and a resource-based economy: Economic restructuring in China’s mining cities, Cities, 60, 75-83.
He S.Y. (2014). When growth grinds to a halt: Population and economic development of resource-depleted cities in China. In Harry W. Richardson and Chang Woon Nam (eds.), Shrinking Cities: A Global Perspective (pp. 152-168). New York: Routledge.


Fig. 1. Map of resource-based cities in China.

Source: He et al. (2017).